Air Diving – Offshore Construction

Overview

Offshore diving is the most well known branch of commercial diving, with divers working in support of the exploration and production sector of the oil and gas industry. Divers work from one end of the world to the other in places such as the North West Shelf, Timor Sea and Bass Strait in Australia, the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, the North Sea in the United Kingdom and Norway and pretty much everywhere else from Kazakhstan to New Zealand. The work in this area of the industry typically involves the maintenance of oil platforms and the building of underwater structures used in the production process. Offshore air divers are employed to undertake construction, maintenance and inspection tasks on production platforms, subsea pipelines.

The ADAS Part 3 (SSBA to 50m) certification is the minimum required for offshore construction air diving work.


Tasks Performed on the Job

Offshore construction work is commissioned in project stages including exploration, installation and demobilization. Job tasks performed include: inspection of seabed before placing structures; grout bag filling for jacket leveling; positioning pin pile in conductor for jacket positioning; connecting tie back cables; launching pigs; stinger inspection; touchdown inspection; cutting buckled pipelines; metrology of spools; installation of riser clamps & risers; spool installation and free span grout bag installation.

Responsibilities and Challenges

Divers have a duty of care to abide by legislation and guidelines set out by governments and relevant industry bodies, as well as to comply with contractor safe work practice policies. Particular responsibilities will differ with each job task and the person’s position within the team. Job Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessments should be understood before commencing any work undertaken.

Working in remote and often harsh or extreme environments can be physiologically and mentally demanding. Dive teams are required to achieve objectives safely within budget, and time restrictions. Work can be technically challenging, as can functioning as a link in a team. Considerable time away from a person’s home base must be considered when entering into this career path.

Highlights and Rewards 

Commercial offshore air diving is an exciting and rewarding career. Many of the challenges of this job, when achieved successfully deliver a high level of job satisfaction. This work enables you to develop problem solving abilities, leadership and team-building skills. These are transferable skills that open up a wider range of career options. Travelling to many different locations, with an ever changing and international work force gives divers an opportunity to expand their cultural awareness.

Prerequisites

The minimum prerequisites to enrol onto an ADAS Part 3 training course include:

  • Have a current ADAS Part 2 qualification or approved equivalent
  • Have completed the units:
    • ADASCON035A Perform underwater work with powered tools
    • ADASCON036A Perform underwater work using cutting and welding
    • ADASCON037A Perform underwater construction work tasks
  • Hold a current First Aid certificate or Diver Medical Technician (DMT) certification
  • Hold current CPR and Oxygen Administration certifications
  • Hold a current dive medical fitness certificate
  • Can understand written and verbal communication in English (unless the training is to be Non English Language)

Training

Training programs closely simulate real work place experiences, while considering the safety of students. Students are introduced to the expected Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) standards of the Offshore Oil & Gas industry, general seamanship skills and best diving practices.

Students are trained in the topics defined by ADAS standards. Time is given to both learn and practice skills including the use of tools and surface supplied diving equipment, and students learn about personal and team safety during diving operations.

The duration of the Part 3 training course is four weeks.  Divers starting out in the industry can do a combined Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 course which runs for twelve weeks.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact the ATEs for enrolment details, training schedules and course fees.

Career Pathways

To further their career, offshore air divers can move into saturation diving and mixed gas diving.  However, becoming a diver and attaining experience in the offshore industry expands a diver’s potential beyond the job range for which training is specifically intended.

Due to the nature of the work, those with trade or scientific backgrounds will be advantaged in this industry. However a variety of factors will influence where a career in diving can take a person. All career divers must accept that they are committing themselves to a lifetime of continuous improvement –  training to upgrade and improve your skills base is a feature of life for the ambitious diver.  Senior positions as offshore project managers, line managers, and engineering managers are possible as well as other positions on offshore vessels, supervisory roles and becoming a trainer.