VIDEO: ‘Pioneering Spirit’ performs heaviest lift ever offshore on Johan Sverdrup

Three days – that’s what it took to lift four of the last pieces in the Johan Sverdrup puzzle into place – the two final platform topsides, a bridge and a flare stack.

Images by Allseas

The processing platform lift was the heaviest lift ever performed offshore, Equinor, the operator of the Johan Sverdrup project offshore Norway, said on Friday.

It is worth reminding that the processing platform reached Norway, after a two-month journey from South Korea, in February 2019. It will handle the processing and refining of all oil and gas from the first phase of Johan Sverdrup.

“Now we are in the process of concluding the installation campaign for the first phase of construction of Johan Sverdrup. Putting the final building blocks of this gigantic project into place is important to ensure start-up of the field as planned in November this year,” says Trond Bokn, senior vice president for Johan Sverdrup.

The two final platform topsides were installed using the heavy lift vessel Pioneering Spirit’s single lift technology. The processing platform lift – nearly 26,000 tonnes – set a new lifting record offshore, and was carried out on Tuesday morning in only four hours with a clearance of just 25 meters from the rest of the field center.

The lift of the utility and living quarters topside, 18,000 tonnes, was completed early Friday morning in just 3.5 hours. This topside, one of the largest ULQ platforms in the world, will also serve as the field center for the Johan Sverdrup development.

From the start of the lifting operation of the processing platform on Tuesday morning until the living quarters topsides had been lifted into place on Friday it took less than 72 hours, Equinor said.

During the same period, the final flare stack and the bridge that links the processing platform to the drilling platform were lifted into place by the heavy lift vessel Thialf. The final bridge that will connect the utility and living quarters topside to the rest of the field center will be installed in the next possible weather window.

“We have completed the heaviest lift ever performed offshore. Over the course of just three days, we have lifted almost 47,000 tonnes into place. And the whole process was completed safely and efficiently, without harm to people or the environment,” says Ståle Hanssen, responsible for engineering, installation and commissioning in the Johan Sverdrup project.

“This was all made possible by in-depth planning and, not least, a high level of precision in execution in collaboration with our suppliers and partners,” says Hanssen.


On track for production start in November


The installation and completion phase offshore at Johan Sverdrup started with installation of the jacket for the riser platform in August 2017. After that, an additional three steel jackets, four topsides, two bridges, two flare stacks, 200 km of power cables, and more than 400 km of pipelines have been put in place. More than 2000 vessel days associated with installation and marine activities have been carried out so far, without serious harm to people or the environment.

“We are proud of what the Johan Sverdrup project has accomplished together with our partners and suppliers. At the same time, we’re not finished just yet. A lot of work remains, but with the installation campaign completed, we are on track to start production in November,” says Bokn.

The first item on the agenda is hook-up, testing and commissioning of the two final topsides. This will be followed by testing and ensuring that all four platforms – and the field center as a whole – function as a single unit. Completing the tie-back of the eight pre-drilled production wells on the field to the drilling platform will also come in addition to this.


Return to Baltic 


According to a separate statement issued on Friday by Allseas, the owner of the Pioneering Spirit, after the installation of the Johan Sverdrup processing platform and utility living quarters topsides, Pioneering Spirit will return to the Baltic Sea to resume working on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was paused earlier this month for Johan Sverdrup work.

Later in 2019, the vessel will temporarily demobilize from Nord Stream 2 for a second North Sea lifting campaign: removal, transfer and load-in to shore of the 24,000 t Brent Bravo topsides for Shell, and the 3400 t Valhall accommodation topsides (QP) and connecting bridge for Aker BP.

The vessel will return to the Johan Sverdrup field in 2022 to install a second processing platform (P2) topsides, weighing 27,000 t, for phase two of the Johan Sverdrup development. The plan for development and operation for Johan Sverdrup phase 2 was submitted to the authorities in August 2018.

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