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Worldwide Engineering & Construction Offshore & Civil Engineering N o t e Amoco Armand Bayou

Worldwide Engineering & Construction Offshore & Civil Engineering

N o t e

Amoco Armand Bayou

Offshore & Civil Engineering N o t e Amoco Armand Bayou T e c h n

T e c h n i c a l

Title: Topside Removal Techniques

Category: Fixed Platforms - Decommissioning

Date: August 26, 1997

Cron#:98054OCE011

Summary

As an oil or gas field approaches the end of its economic life, the installation will need to be removed either partially or totally, to satisfy the appropriate legal requirements. Removal options can broadly be classified under the following:

Topside removal techniques. Jacket removal techniques. New removal technology

The aim of this technical note is to introduce the different techniques for topsides removal. Topside removal techniques can be divided into the following options:

Reverse Installation by Crane Vessel Piece Small Removal Use of the Versatruss System Demating of Integrated Decks

The subject of jacket removal and new removal technology are discussed in separate technical notes.

1. Reverse Installation by Crane Vessel

Reverse installation is a misleading term as the removal of an installation is rarely the same as its installation. The majority of topsides (with the exception of HIDECK and CONDEEP designs) were installed by crane vessels. Hence reverse installation of topsides will involve the use of crane vessels. The size of the lifts

and the lifting capacity of the crane vessel will determine the number of lifts required to remove the modules and any module support frame. They would then be placed on either the deck of the crane vessel or cargo barges to be taken to their final destination. There are some fundamental governing factors that would need consideration in the design of lifts, for example the structural integrity of the topside components, the design of any module reinforcement, padeyes and lifting frames. The removal of ESSO's Odin platform, see Figure 1, is a recent example of a reverse installation of topsides. Initially combined module lifts were considered but it was decided that integration of the topside modules to achieve a larger lift would require substantial temporary works. These strengthened modules would be more

expensive to dismantle once on shore thus removing any cost benefits gained in fewer larger lifts. Reverse installation was a natural method of segregating the topsides into the types of facilities, thus helping reduce onshore deconstruction costs. The modules were removed in September and October 1996 by the Saipem 7000 crane vessel and transported to shore on the crane vessel deck in three trips, two for the modules and one for the conductors.

three trips, two for the modules and one for the conductors. Figure 1: Removal of ESSO

Figure 1: Removal of ESSO Odin Topside Modules The advantage of removal in this fashion is that the technology and procedures are proven. However, costs for this operation can be high and the increased hook- down, removal, re-installation and hook-up time for reuse may not be as cost effective as techniques involving fewer, more integrated lifts. An exception to this would be self-contained modules such as living quarters and drilling equipment.

2. Piece Small Removal

Piece Small removal is defined as the deconstruction of the topsides on site by adapting proven on shore deconstruction methods and technology available for use in an offshore environment. The equipment can be located on the installation itself, a converted jack-up or a support vessel. One of the advantages of this method is that there are no heavy lifts, therefore crane vessels are not required. Another advantage is that piece small is relatively insensitive to the weather so down time due to inclement weather is minimized. A lesser form of piece small is gutting the topsides. It involves the same

For the exclusive use of Amoco Corporation and other wholly owned subsidiaries of Amoco Corporation.

techniques, but limits the deconstruction to a stripping down of topsides to bare steel. Removing listed materials as far as is practicable introduces the possibility of toppling the structure with the topsides in place. Another advantage to gutting is the reduction in lift weight and hence lifting capacity required for a reverse installation. Although some cost benefit may be realized from piece small removal, this technique reduces the retained value of the topsides for reuse. The nature of the operation involves dismantling the topsides therefore restricting reuse opportunities to individual components, equipment packages etc.

3. Versatruss Removal System

The Versatruss system has proven a cost effective alternative to crane vessels for platform removals in the Gulf of Mexico where it was used to remove a 250 ton deck for Mobil, see Figure 2 The principal advantage of the Versatruss system is an estimated 35% saving in the marine operation costs which are typically between 55% and 70% of the total decommissioning cost.

between 55% and 70% of the total decommissioning cost. Figure 2: West Cameron 71 Deck Lifted

Figure 2: West Cameron 71 Deck Lifted by the Versatruss System

This system comprises of two lift barges symmetrically moored alongside the installation. The lift barges are fitted with custom made A-frame lift boom trusses. The Versatruss system and its use for the decommissioning of OBU’s Eugene Island 367 deck are discussed the technical note entitled, “Versatruss - An Innovative Topsides Installation & Removal Lifting System,”

97223OCE003.

4. Demating of Integrated Decks

The topsides on the majority of gravity based structures were installed in one piece by a barge. For structures which can be refloated and towed to a deepwater inshore site the topsides will be removed by 'reversing' this operation. this will involve ballasting the platform down to a suitable depth, inserting a barge to support the topsides, further ballasting of the barge to remove the topsides to the barge, followed by withdrawal of the barge. Advantages of this method would be fully realized where reuse is envisaged as installation and hook-up time and cost would substantially be reduced.

In offshore areas where crane vessel mobilization is prohibitively expensive, float over topside installation is finding increasing favor. An example of this was the recently installed 4,100 ton topsides on Mobil's Ekpe field offshore Nigeria. Similar operations have also been performed on topsides up to 9,600 tons offshore Malaysia, Angola, Qatar and Australia [Offshore Engineer, July 1997], see Figure 3.

and Australia [Offshore Engineer, July 1997], see Figure 3. Figure 3: Integrated Topsides Could be Removed

Figure 3: Integrated Topsides Could be Removed by Reversing Their Float Over Installation

Removal of these decks could be performed in-situ and this method could find an application in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico. However, generally this is not achievable, especially in the harsher North Sea climates where platforms are designed to withstand severe environmental conditions. These platforms therefore have substantial air gaps which would require prohibitively high supports being fabricated on the barge.

Related Technical Notes

Jacket Removal Techniques Versatruss - An Innovative Topsides Installation & Removal Lifting System

References

Reverse Engineering Ltd., Manchester, U.K., Center for Marine and Petroleum Technology

Acknowledgement

Amoco (U.K.) and the Offshore Business Unit funded this work.

OCE contacts

Richard Beck

OCE Team leader

Pat O’Connor

281-212-7812

281-212-7262

For the exclusive use of Amoco Corporation and other wholly owned subsidiaries of Amoco Corporation.

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