Houlder Pin Pile Installation Gear for Saipem

Houlder has delivered pin pile installation equipment to Saipem as part of the Shah Deniz gas field development in the Caspian Sea.

The development, 100 kilometers from Baku, Azerbaijan, requires the installation of eight steel jacket foundations for two new platforms. These are to use pin pile foundations temporarily prior to the installation of skirt foundations.

Saipem deployed the restraining frame on the deck of the heavy lift ship Derrick Barge Azerbaijan (DBA), tasked with the jacket installation. It horizontally restrained and adjusted the inclination of 140 meters, 525 tonnes steel foundation monopiles, keeping them vertical as they are driven in 95 meters of water. This requires the frame to deliver operational horizontal force resistance of 75 tonnes in any direction within a 4 meters diameter operating envelope.

Houlder delivered the contract under a typical turnkey arrangement, being accountable for the design from initial concept through to fabrication. The 80 tonnes frame was supplied ex-works and packed ready for transport. Houlder sent a team of engineers to manage the installation in Baku.

Dario Frisinghelli, of Saipem commented: “The restraining frame was used for offshore installation of all 8 foundation Pin Piles. The system, acting by hydraulic jacks on two degrees of freedom in the horizontal plane, proved greatly effective during operation. This allowed Saipem to maintain the verticality of the Pile during the transient phase of self-weight penetration to depth of 24m into the seabed. This control was particularly important during the first meters where a layer of hard soil resulted in an extremely reduced penetration speed affecting the overall instability of the pile.”

James Russell, Houlder Director of Marine Equipment, said: “We were able to bring our combined understanding of vessel operations, heavy lifting and pile handling to support Saipem with a challenging installation. Our approach of fully integrating our design and build teams also supported delivery against tight timescales and to budget.”