Horizon Geosciences

Survey and geotechnical services

Horizon Geobay


The Horizon Geobay, an 87m DP2 vessel, was added to our fleet in 2013.

She is permanently mobilised with a heave compensated geotechnical drill rig with downhole sampling and CPT system mounted over a central moon pool and a 200kN seabed CPT system allowing her to drill boreholes and perform deep push seabed CPTs for foundation design and site characterisation.

A fully equipped offshore soil testing laboratory is integrated onto the vessel allowing fast turnaround of critical tests.

She is permanently mobilised with hydrographic and analogue geophysical survey spreads
allowing combined site surveys in remote locations to be performed from a single vessel with one mobilisation.

The vessel can also be mobilised with shallow sampling geotechnical equipment including a vibrocorer and Roson CPT; a digital 2D high resolution geophysical spread and a ROV as required.

The Horizon Geobay is primarily dedicated to the North Sea and Atlantic region and is owned and managed directly by Horizon allowing flexibility of scheduling and crew change patterns to maximise operational efficiency.

The vessel is OVID and IMCA audited and approved.



Horizon provides environmental monitoring and sampling services within a wide range of disciplines. Our combination of local expertise, a broad knowledge base and adherence to international standards and practices enables us to produce a detailed analysis of the environmental conditions at a survey location. This allows us to implement solutions and monitor strategies in a professional and practical manner. Horizon provides these environmental services for:

  • Comprehensive desktop based studies
  • Water quality sampling of physio-chemical and biological parameters
  • Analysis of sediment quality and biological / physical makeup
  • Mapping of species and habitat distributions
  • Data processing and analysis
  • Environmental Baseline Surveys (EBS)
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)

Sediment / water quality analysis

The significance of sediment and water quality analysis prevails once development has commenced in an area. Periodic tracking and comparison of a number of water quality parameters lends to a detailed understanding of the ongoing impacts of development works. Tracking of such information enables remediation or reduction strategies to be implemented early on, enabling a reduction in the long-term detrimental effects upon the environment. We tailor our sampling programs specifically to client requirements and needs, where focus can easily be put on physio-chemical analysis and/or biological studies including planktonic, nektonic and macro/ microfaunal species identification and classification.

Environmental monitoring

It is highly important that the pre-existing environmental characteristics of a potential site are determined prior to the commencement of any development works. Data collection techniques used to establish such characteristics include field surveys using photographic and/or video capture techniques and analysis of literature sources. Specific emphasis is required to identify any significant environments (i.e. spawning areas, endemic, rare or endangered species and/or habitats). Horizon can obtain and analyse tissue samples of certain bio-indicator species (i.e. barnacles/oysters) so as to perform eco-toxicological tests, ascertaining whether there is any concern related to environmental contamination.

Environmental baseline surveys and environmental impact assessments

Horizon combines all of its technical and scientific capabilities to develop comprehensive environmental baseline studies for our clients, with an overall aim of identifying and inventorying all known environmental conditions and characteristics that affect or could be affected by, proposed development projects.
We then use this information as the basis for environmental impact assessments, which detail and assess any alternatives in relation to processing, technology selection and/or reclamation and prognosis of the long-term state of the environment.



Horizon performs geophysical surveys to gather the detailed data required by design engineers and installers of offshore structures, subsea cables and pipelines. That data is used to:

  • Map seabed morphology and sub-seabed conditions
  • Profile geological features
  • Detect geohazards
  • Provide a seabed and sub-seabed reference for geotechnical investigations

We operate a fleet of owned and chartered vessels which are mobilised for geophysical surveys in the deep ocean, the continental shelf and the shallower nearshore areas.

Geophysical surveys are typically required for:

  • Site surveys for rigs or platforms
  • Windfarm developments
  • Route surveys for pipelines or cables
  • Geohazard and fault detection
  • High resolution seismic mapping
  • Geochemistry

Horizon also has a full range of geophysical survey equipment including:

  • Multi-beam and single-beam echo sounders
  • Analogue sub-bottom profilers (Pinger / Boomer / Sparker / CHIRP)
  • Digital sub-bottom profilers (/ 2DHR / UHR)
  • Digital side scan sonars
  • Magnetometer and gradiometers

Our geophysical survey vessels can also be equipped with:

  • Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)
  • Environmental sampling equipment

The vessels feature on-board processing and reporting facilities which allows for seamless integration of the data sets which are processed, interpreted, reported and charted offshore.

Horizon’s deliverables are tailored to meet a  client’s specific requirements, and typically include hard and soft copies of:

  • Factual / interpretive and combined reports
  • AutoCAD / PDF charts
  • GIS deliverables to OGP/IMCA Seabed Survey Data Model (SSDM) or client specified geo-database schematic formats



Horizon performs hydrographic surveys to IHO standards to gather seabed and sub-seabed data required for navigational, engineering and design purposes. The data is used for:

  • Site characterisation
  • Chart the seafloor
  • Locate man-made and natural objects (debris, shipwrecks, UXO, subsea structures, coral reefs)
  • Pre / post engineering surveys
  • Pipeline and cable route surveys
  • Dredging support, port and harbour developments and coastal infrastructure

Our fleet of offshore and nearshore vessels combined with our airborne LiDAR service allows us to perform bathymetric and topographic surveys extending from the deep ocean, through the intertidal and nearshore areas through to onshore.

Hydrographic surveys are typically required for:

  • Oil and gas fields
  • Windfarm developments
  • Coastal and intertidal zones
  • Navigation
  • Ports and harbours
  • Environmentally sensitive areas
  • Geochemistry

These surveys may include data relevant to:

  • Pre-engineering requirements
  • Obstruction avoidance
  • Navigational charts
  • Environmental impact studies
  • Dredging support
  • Hazard surveys

We digitally plan all surveys and present this to our client prior to mobilisation ensuring that the client’s needs are fully addressed. Client specific charting may include bathymetric data correlated to geophysical (sub-bottom profiling and magnetometer) data. All charting is conducted utilizing industry leading software and the final charts produced are tailored to the client’s requirements. All charts can be produced in GIS and hard copy.

Charting standards

Horizon produces bathymetric charts to the following international standards:

  • IHO S44
  • IHO S57
  • General Instructions for Hydrographic Surveys (GIHS)
  • GIS deliverables to OGP/IMCA Seabed Survey Data Model (SSDM) or client’s specific geo-database schematic formats

Foundation Engineering


Horizon has a pool of experienced and qualified geologists and geotechnical engineers available to assist clients with site investigations; walkover and desktop studies; operational site supervision and soil and rock characterisation

Using state-of-the-art software and industry leading equipment, we have provided site characterisation and foundation assessments services for:

Offshore geotechnics

  • Piled and gravity foundations
  • Jack-up leg penetration analysis and punch-through assessments
  • Pipeline and cable routes

Coastal geotechnics

  • Breakwaters
  • Navigation channels
  • Berthing facility recommendations (wharf, jetty, breasting dolphin).
  • Dredging

Onshore geotechnics

  • Monitoring and interpretation of piezometers, inclinometers and gas standpipes
  • Geophysical surveying
  • Environmental remediation assessments
  • Slope stabilisation
  • Piled and gravity foundation assessments

Nearshore Geotechnics


Horizon performs detailed nearshore geotechnical soil investigations to support the design, engineering and installation of the following structures:

  • Jack-up rigs
  • Jackets and platforms
  • PLEM and SPMs
  • Wind turbines
  • Pipeline and cable routes
  • Trenching and dredging activities
  • Port developments
  • Bridges and causeways
  • LNG terminals

Nearshore geotechnical investigations are performed from our Self Elevating Platforms (SEPs) mobilised with a drilling rig with wire line drilling systems (PQ3 & Geobor S). These can be supplemented with a variety of Horizon’s in-situ sampling and testing equipment such as SPT, vane and pressure meter testing.

The SEPs and drilling units are easily transported by road or sea for rapid mobilisations. The following services are available from Horizon’s nearshore drilling spreads:

  • Undisturbed and disturbed soil sampling
  • Rock coring
  • SPT testing
  • In-situ vane testing
  • Pressure meter testing
  • In-field soil laboratory testing

Offshore Geotechnics


Horizon performs detailed offshore geotechnical investigations to support the design, engineering and installation of the following offshore structures:

  • Foundations for piled jackets, gravity based structures and FPSO
  • Jack-up rigs
  • Jackets and platforms
  • PLEM and SPMs
  • Wind Turbines
  • Pipeline and cable routes
  • Suction and drag anchors

We have a fleet of offshore drilling rigs which can be operated from our dedicated drill ships and can also be mobilised onto vessels of opportunity or client supplied vessels allowing worldwide operations.

All offshore geotechnical investigations are conducted from our heave compensated drilling rigs with a wire line system including downhole Wison-APB cone penetration testing (PCPT) and in-situ vane testing equipment. Mud mix and transfer systems control borehole stability while fully equipped offshore soil testing laboratories provide in-field analysis.

Our offshore geotechnical spreads are equipped for:

  • Undisturbed and disturbed soil sampling
  • Rock coring
  • Downhole PCPT testing
  • Seismic CPTs
  • Downhole vane testing
  • P-S logging
  • In-field soil laboratory testing
  • 200kN seabed CPT system
  • 40kN Roson seabed CPT system

Horizon’s offshore geotechnical capabilities are supported by our onshore team of experienced geologists and geotechnical engineers whom utilise the data gathered offshore and in the laboratory for detailed interpretation of the foundation design and engineering analysis.

We review the information gathered from offshore geotechnical investigations with desktop studies and geophysical data to supply an integrated report to the client.


Horizon Geosciences Limited are pleased to announce the recent mobilisation of an additional offshore geotechnical site investigation spread.

Horizon’s K3 geotechnical drilling system has been designed based upon over 15 years of conducting offshore geotechnical investigations and is the fourth offshore heave compensated rig to be brought into service in that time.

It incorporates a number of state of the art features such as mechanical drill pipe handling which removes all manual handling requirements from running and pulling drill string and electronic recording of drilling parameters to provide additional ground data and operational feedback during drilling. The rig has the ability to switch to a nested coring system whereby 100mm Geobor S triple tube coring is conducted through a riser casing to provide larger diameter and higher quality core samples in a wide range of soil and rock conditions. It also has the ability to deploy conventional downhole CPT, sampling and wireline coring, plus seismic CPT, geophysical borehole logging, pressure meter testing and other downhole tools.

The rig can be used for deep boreholes as well as to deploy Horizon’s 200kN seabed CPT unit for acquisition of deep push cone penetration data also in combination with seismic CPT as required. Boreholes can be conducted in up to 600m water depth as standard and deep push CPT in up to 100m water depth. A fully equipped soil laboratory capable of undertaking a wide range of testing offshore completes the spread, making it a very versatile system for all ground investigation applications.

The rig has been mobilised to DP2 vessel Kommandor Susan owned and operated by our long term partner Hays Ships. It is currently performing its first project offshore Poland.

Horizon Geosciences Limited, Bristol, 07 November 2019

Client: Premier Oil UK Limited
Year: 2017

Horizon Geosciences successfully completed a combined geophysical and geotechnical investigation with subsequent foundation engineering analysis on the Tolmount Field Development for Premier Oil UK Limited in the North Sea.

A two vessel solution was proposed to carry out the field work which involved simultaneous vessel operations to ensure the critical data and project deliverables were submitted in accordance with the client requirements.

The objective of the geophysical survey was to perform a 24km route survey in a single pass using a full analogue and UHRS spread. Works were performed from Horizon’s UK geophysical vessel the Kommandor Stuart. The Geotechnical investigations were undertaken by Horizon’s DP2 vessel Horizon Geobay. Works included sampling and coring in down hole mode together with PCPT testing, Seismic PCPT testing and P-S logging. An onshore classification and advanced lab testing programme was undertaken with subsequent delivery of a comprehensive platform foundation engineering analysis report, produced by Horizon Geosciences UK based in-house engineering team.

‘’On behalf of Premier Oil, I would like to thank the Horizon team very much for their efforts in providing a product that is not only as good as, but improves on some of the data collected during previous campaigns.’’

Lucian West, Senior Subsea Project Engineer, Premier Oil UK Limited

Client: Scottish Power Renewables
Year: 2018

Horizon were contracted by Scottish Power Renewables to conduct comprehensive geophysical and geotechnical site investigation on the East Anglia 3 Project Site and export cable corridor in the North Sea.

The offshore works were originally planned to be conducted by two survey vessels, however in response to client driven internal milestones, Horizon chartered a third vessel to allow for the programme to be accelerated. The Horizon Geobay was provided to conduct deep geotechnical sampling and in situ CPT borehole; the Kommandor Stuart conducted geophysical survey and shallow geotechnical testing, and Horizon brought in the Atlantic Carrier post contract award complete with Horizon’s 200kN Seabed CPT System, and to conduct vibrocore and shallow CPT testing along the cable route.

A total of 20 no. 60-80m boreholes comprise sampling and CPT were conducted from the Horizon Geobay; 40 no. 200kN deep push seabed CPTs together with 20 no. shallow push seabed CPTs and 20 no. vibrocores were conducted from the Atlantic Carrier and over 5,000km of bathymetric survey was completed from the Kommandor Stuart. All works were completed within a two and a half month period and in accordance with the required schedule.

A comprehensive onshore laboratory testing programme was undertaken, with bespoke cyclic testing being specified and conducted in conjunction with Scottish Power Renewables technical consultants and Horizon’s laboratory testing partners, overseen by Horizon’s team of in-house Senior Geotechnical Engineers.

“We work with clients to offer solutions that can ensure timely data delivery, such as chartering additional vessel assets, where necessary. This allows for safe, efficient and productive operations to be maximised offshore, feeding into the onshore laboratory testing and reporting phases, whilst remaining quality and schedule focused throughout.”

John Cudden, Senior Project Manager

Client: Vineyard Wind LLC
Year: 2018

Horizon Geosciences has recently performed a combined geophysical and geotechnical investigation of the Vineyard Wind Offshore Windfarm, Offshore Massachusetts, USA for Vineyard Wind LLC (a joint venture company formed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avengrid Renewables). The objective of the survey was to collect hydrographic, geophysical and geotechnical data to provide sufficient information to support studies and preparation for the Construction and Operations Plan and Facilities Design Report for the wind farm.

The works were performed by Horizon’s DP2 vessel Horizon Geobay and the Kommandor Iona.

A number of deep geotechnical boreholes were drilled at the specific locations on the site to provide soil data for foundation engineering and installation assessment. Work included sampling and coring in down hole mode together with PCPT testing and P-S logging. A complex and demanding lab testing programme was undertaken to provide interim results throughout the deliverables phase.

Approximately 2,300km of geophysical survey lines were run by the Kommandor Iona acquiring bathymetric, sidescan sonar, sub-bottom data and magnetometer in order to provide data for seabed clearance, inter array cable routing, and lateral variability assessment.

Both vessels worked closely with Vineyard Wind and BOEM to ensure that the stringent environmental procedures and project specifications were achieved.

“The future opportunities in US offshore wind are developing quickly so being involved in this prestigious project to undertake one of the earliest ground investigations was a great achievement for Horizon’’.

Lance Hanson, Projects Director

The Amphibious Vehicle 1 has been designed to cater to nearshore geotechnical investigation in water depths less than 3m.

The Horizon Nomad, a 60m DP 2 vessel, was added to our fleet in 2019.

This vessel has been permanently mobilised for geophysical and ROV surveys complying with the marine standards set by the global oil and gas operators.

Horizon Nomad is permanently mobilised with hydrographic and geophysical survey spreads allowing combined site surveys in remote locations to be performed from a single vessel with one mobilisation.

In addition, the vessel is mobilised with shallow sampling geotechnical equipment; a digital 2D high resolution geophysical spread and an Inspection class ROV.

The vessel is primarily dedicated to the Middle East region and is owned and managed by Horizon allowing flexibility of scheduling and crew change patterns to maximise operational efficiency.

The Vessel is OVID and IMCA audited and approved.

Tuesday 24 May

Horizon recently provided ROV services for Valentine Marine Gulf Limited on an ONGC India project during a 2 month campaign in the Heera Field, Offshore Mumbai. The work was centred around an installation for a four legged jacket and topside. Horizon’s ROV was mobilised onto Valentine’s DLB 1600 barge for the work.

Horizon’s Inspection class ROV, the Seaeye Cougar XT, was selected for the job as manoeuvrability was key. Construction specific manipulators were also needed due to the level of internal inspection work required on the platforms. Quality video streaming was also important due to the challenging field conditions. Despite extremely poor visibility of 0.5 meters, the ROV supported the entire installation and performed well during complex operations such as internal anode counts and conductor monitoring with 100% recorded uptime throughout the campaign.

The ROV also carried out debris clearance during the pre and post ROV survey, Valentine Marine stated their appreciation for Horizon’s efforts during the project;

“Please extend my appreciation to your team as their performance, and that of Horizon’s ROV spread, was very good on this project. The ROV also saved us from having to recover debris and dropped objects.”

Sunday 15 May, 2016

Horizon Geosciences recently launched a bespoke, economical nearshore survey boat in tune with client demand. Weighing only 4 tonnes, the Horizon Echo is a flexible nearshore survey option, suited to a wide range of jobs, remote locations and is about to be deployed on her first project in Abu Dhabi.

Custom designed and built with client convenience and comfort in mind, Horizon Echo is equipped to carry out full geophysical shallow water surveys and also has the capacity to perform ROV Surveys. The boat has a hull mounted survey grade echosounder with additional bow and side mounts for geophysical equipment. With two winch powered towing davits on board, sidescan sonar and magnetometer can be easily deployed and recovered not to mention grab samplers and other water sampling equipment. Horizon Echo is an ideal choice for a full range of Geophysical and Environmental Surveys.

Her bespoke design, finish and multiple safety features are testament to the careful research carried out by Horizon Engineering Manager David Nunn;

“The feedback from clients often is that they need a modern purpose built nearshore survey boat that is compact, lightweight and easy to mobilise with capabilities of long range. This vessel has been designed to take large payloads of equipment and personnel with excellent stability (minimal roll) and easy steering at slow speeds.

The Echo is ideal for surveying in extreme shallow water; therefore the hull is highest grade strengthened marine aluminium which provides additional safety for all on board. “

Perfect for remote locations, Horizon Echo can be easily launched from land or from a mother-ship crane. Standard SOLAS safety features are included as well as twin diesel engines and generator, direct shaft and propeller, enclosed cabin, private WC, air conditioning, workstation for surveyors with AIS, GPS plotter and autopilot.

For more information and full spec sheet contact enquiries@horizon-geosciences.com

Corrosion is an electrochemical process that occurs in stages, if left untreated subsea infrastructure can become hazardous and restoration costly. Horizon’s CP Survey services enables you to assess important subsea assets and make informed maintenance decisions.

CP Surveys are commonly used if controlling the integrity of metal subsea assets is important. Environmental and time related factors cause corrosion and offshore and nearshore infrastructure and components deteriorate.

We offer clients a full package of services from data acquisition to processing and reporting with CP Survey options including;

  • ROV (proximity and contact)
  • Trailing Wire (continuous hardwire connection)

The cutting edge CP systems we use are considered to be the smallest in the world, compatible with any ROV and industrial communication protocols (RS485 and RS232). Producing very low noise data and highly accurate results, the CP System can be mobilised in less than an hour with no surface equipment required.

March 13, 2016

news-09032016-contentHorizon Geosciences’ revolutionary, 200kN Seabed CPT system was used recently with great success on a complex geotechnical site investigation for Vattenfall, offshore Denmark. Horizon’s scope of work centered around turbine locations in the North Sea windfarm as well as infield cable routes. The programme of work included downhole sampling and CPT testing, seismic CPT testing, pressuremeter testing, P-S Logging, vibrocoring and seabed CPTs. Project Manager for Vattenfall, Mr. Wolf-Eckart Semm confirmed;

“Works conducted included 7 combined geotechnical sampling boreholes. Seabed CPT testing in excess of 1300m was completed.”

Horizon’s digital CPT System is designed to achieve a continuous profile to depths in excess of 40m into the ground. Senior Project Manager for Horizon Geosciences Limited, Mr John Cudden highlighted the importance of this feature;

“Building an accurate ground model is crucial to the development of offshore wind farms, therefore a high volume of quality CPT data is needed, often within tight timescales. This is where Horizon’s 200kN CPT can surpass traditional drilling expectations in terms of production and cost.

Coupled with the ability to conduct seismic CPT tests with this seabed system, tied in to pressuremeter and borehole logging data from adjacent boreholes, we provide the data for the full determination of both lateral and horizontal engineering properties across the site.”

The 200kN Seabed CPT System can be deployed from any DP1 or DP2 vessel, the Horizon Geobay was assigned in this case due to her full Geophysical and Geotechnical spreads, containerized laboratory and capacity to operate in shallower waters. Project Manager for Vattenfall, Mr. Wolf-Eckart Semm concluded;

“The Horizon Geobay was used as a platform throughout the whole campaign and has proven to be a very capable DP2 vessel, especially as shallow water conditions were prevalent. All operations were conducted safely and in-line with HSE requirements with a very positive HSE attitude and awareness of safety shown by the entire crew.”

Visit Horizon Geosciences on stand H350 to find out more about this project, the Horizon Geobay and their continued work in the Renewables and Oil & Gas sectors in the North Sea and beyond.

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