Seabed mining company Nautilus Minerals announced Monday that it has signed agreements with engineering firm United Engineering Services (UES) to provide support services associated with wet testing the company’s seafloor production tools (SPTs) and storing the equipment as it is delivered from various suppliers before being integrated onto the company’s production support vessel (PSV).

The first of the equipment to be tested would be the three SPTs. The SPTs were due for delivery from the Soil Machine Dynamics facility, in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, early in 2016.

Each machine was undergoing rigorous commissioning and factory acceptance testing that had been conducted in dry conditions on land.

Once delivered, the SPTs would undergo extensive wet testing at Duqm port, in Oman, which was designed to provide a submerged demonstration of the fully assembled SPTs.

On completion of the wet testing, the SPTs would be stored at UES facilities in Duqm for preservation and maintenance until integration on the PSV, which was expected to occur in 2017.

“It is very exciting to have the SPTs all fully assembled as we prepare for wet testing. We appreciate the ongoing support from our largest shareholder, MB Holding Company, who is assisting us with the wet testing and provision of storage facilities in Oman,” Nautilus CEO Mike Johnston said.

He added that Nautilus was looking looking forward to the next phase of development to wet test its equipment as the company worked towards starting seafloor operations in the first quarter of 2018.

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