The Surfer provides personnel transport with a 50-seat passenger cabin, while the Sirocco is adaptable for use in crew changes and carrying supplies with a 200-ton capacity, seating 60 passengers.

The news is an extremely promising sign for the late-stage development of GTA, having reached its final investment decision for Phase 1 in December 2018 but delayed by over a year due to COVID-19. Last month, bp’s partner in the field, Kosmos Energy, announced works were approximately 75% complete, subsea installation having commenced accompanied by underwater surveys with the gradual installation of all major structures, pipelines and flexible products expected to be finished within the year.

The system will be the deepest subsea infrastructure on the continent, connecting a series of wells at up to 5,000m depth to a mid-water floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, processing the gas and subsequently seeing it transferred to a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility close to shore on the Mauritania-Senegal border.

As it stands, the FPSO is being built in China by France’s Technip Energies, the FLNG is to be provided by Bermudan maritime firm Golar on a 20-year deal, and American offshore drilling contractor Valaris have their DS-12 drillship at bp’s disposal, freshly arrived in offshore Mauritania, commencing drilling on four deep-water wells. Joining Saipem, Petrofac was announced last month as having been awarded a new contract for offshore operations services at GTA both sides of the border, including provision of specialist personnel, plant and equipment for the FPSO and LNG hub.