Photo: Aker BP

Aker BP picks contractor for ‘largest new-build project in many years’

Norwegian oil and gas player Aker BP has picked Rosenberg Worley, a compatriot fully-integrated engineering, fabrication, and construction provider, to construct two models for the new central platform on a field located in the North Sea.

Aker BP revealed on Friday that it has awarded – together with its alliance partner, Aker Solutions – a letter of intent to Rosenberg Worley for the construction of two modules for the new central platform on the Valhall field in the North Sea. The company outlined that this contract represents “the largest new-build project in many years,” and it will lead to 1,000 jobs at Rosenberg in Stavanger.

Karl Johnny Hersvik, Aker BP CEO, remarked: “With this award, Aker BP and Aker Solutions are ensuring additional ongoing activity in Norway, in a project that falls under the temporary tax changes. The choice of a Norwegian yard is entirely deliberate. It demonstrates that we’re responding to the politicians’ expectations to preserve activity, guarantee jobs and develop expertise in Norwegian industry during the period before renewable projects ramp up in scope.”

Furthermore, Aker BP and its licence partners are carrying out a coordinated development of several licences in the Valhall area. The project is called Valhall PWP-Fenris – previously NCP/King Lear – and it is being delivered by the Fixed Facilities Alliance between Aker BP, Aker Solutions, and ABB. According to Aker BP, the Valhall PWP consists of three large modules totalling more than 15,000 tonnes and the process module will be built by Aker Solutions on Stord while Rosenberg Worley will deliver the wellbay module and the utility module. The firm explained that the platform will be assembled on Stord.

Kjetel Digre, Aker Solutions CEO, commented: “This award is a good example of cooperation between competing companies such as Aker Solutions and Rosenberg Worley to utilise a larger share of the supplier base – in the best interests of the industry in Norway. It is entirely necessary to keep and develop expertise in the industry.”

Aker BP further elaborated that the letter of intent presumes approval of the plan for development and operation (PDO) by the Storting, and it has a value for Rosenberg of around NOK 1.6 billion (about $165.2 million). If the PDO gets approved, the Valhall modules are expected to bring jobs for more than 1,000 people at Rosenberg in Stavanger and the construction is scheduled to start in autumn 2023.

Jan Narvestad, Rosenberg Worley Managing Director, stated: “The construction of the Valhall modules will be important in maintaining the high activity, and will help preserve expertise and capacity at Rosenberg in the extension of ongoing projects and towards new market areas. We expect that around 40 apprentices will be able to complete their vocational training as a result of the project. These are young people who’ll be essential in developing renewable projects at our company in the future.”

Moreover, Aker BP and its licence partners – Pandion Energy and PGNiG Upstream Norway – are planning to invest between NOK 40 and 50 billion (around $4.1 and $5.2 billion) in Valhall PWP-Fenris. The PDO is anticipated to be submitted towards the end of the year and will be deliberated in the Storting before the summer of 2023. Aker BP pointed out that the development of Valhall PWP-Fenris is expected to create 65,000 full-time equivalents in Norway during the project and operations phase and the Norwegian share of the project is more than 65 per cent.

“Through Valhall PWP-Fenris, we’re planning to establish Valhall as a gas hub in the southern North Sea, which will provide sorely needed gas deliveries to Europe. At the same time, we’ll be maximising the value of a giant with very low emissions on the Norwegian shelf. This project is an important contribution toward the ambition to produce a total of two billion barrels and extend the lifetime of the Valhall area to 2060. The value creation from this area has vast ripple effects and provides substantial tax revenue for the broader society,” underscored Hersvik.

The Valhall field is located in the southern part of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea at a water depth of 70 metres. It was discovered in 1975, and the initial PDO was approved in 1977. Originally, the field was developed with three facilities for accommodation (QP), drilling (DP) and processing (PCP).

The production at the field started in 1982 and the Valhall area consists of a field centre with five platforms connected by bridges, and four wellhead platforms that are remotely controlled from the field centre. The field is powered by electricity from shore.

When it comes to the latest developments in the Valhall area, it is worth noting that Allseas’ giant vessel Pioneering Spirit completed the removal of the PCP topsides on 7 June as the final lift of the latest Valhall campaign, which is part of the frame agreement Allseas signed with Aker BP in 2017 to provide transport, installation, and removal services on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

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The removal of the PCP topsides came just 24 hours after the removal of the adjacent DP jacket, following the final leg cutting by supporting vessel Oceanic, and prior to that the PCP bridges.

Back in 2019, Pioneering Spirit removed the accommodation platform (QP) topsides followed by the jacket in 2021. The platform was the first of the three original structures (QP, DP and PCP) to be removed as part of the modernisation of the Valhall field centre by Aker BP.