The three Norwegian offshore innovators Jon Hermstad (Kvaerner), Tor Inge Tjelta (Statoil) and Tom Guttormsen (Statoil) were on 1 May honoured for their groundbreaking achievements in finding technical solutions for securing structures to the seabed in conjunction with the development of the deep water fields in the North Sea.
In 1985 they performed a full scale offshore soil penetration test in conjunction with the design and anchoring of the Gullfaks C fixed concrete platform. The paper they presented at OTC in 1986 paved the way for the Condeep structures Gullfaks C, Troll A and Draugen. Their contribution to the industry can be seen in the anchor foundations of the tension leg platforms (TLP) and the anchoring of Subsea templates, floating and semisubmersible platforms and floating production, storage and offloading vessels (FPSO). On 1 May 2012 they were inducted to the prestigious ASCE Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) Hall of Fame in Houston, Texas in conjunction with OTC 2012.
Kvaerner and Statoil’s achievements in the development of the deep water fields in the North Sea, or more specifically how to secure the monumental structures to the seabed, were honoured by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) with an induction to OTC’s Hall of Fame on 1 May 2012.
The foundation concept was tested in full scale at the Gullfaks C field with the penetration of a segment of the skirt wall to the 22 meters that was required for stability reasons. The test was designed by Jon Hermstad (Kvaerner), Tor Inge Tjelta (Statoil) and Tom Guttormsen (Statoil) in 1985, and was presented at OTC in 1986 with the paper, “Large Scale Penetration Test at a Deepwater Site”.
The positive result of the full scale test led to a number of major spin offs. The first project that utilised the foundation method was the Gullfaks C platform followed by the Troll A and Draugen platforms.
At the Gullfaks C field, the main challenge was a layer of sand at 18-20 meters. When the tip of the skirt hit this layer some predictions indicated that the resistance might be too great.
“The main task for our project was to document the feasibility of the method in conjunction with the Gullfaks C platform and the challenging bottom conditions on the field. Now, 27 years later, we receive this honour from OTC because they embrace the impact that the method and the test project have had on the industry”, says specialist engineer in Kvaerner Jon Hermstad.
Condeep platforms led the way
As mentioned above, the first project that utilised the method was the Gullfaks C platform followed by the Troll A and Draugen platforms. These platforms were all Condeep designs. The development of the tension leg platforms (TLP) structures opted for solid anchor foundations, and the TLP fundaments were built on the knowledge from the foundations of the Condeeps. Examples of projects are Snorre A, Heidrun and the future Browse TLP projects where the operator specified this sort of fundament in the tender.
Furthermore, the anchoring of subsea templates is to a large extent done by the use of bucket foundations, and the floating and semisubmersible platforms and floating production, storage and offloading vessels (FPSO) with turrets, use suction pile anchors. All can be said to be spin offs of the large scale test of the foundation concept.
“It is important to remember that our large scale test convinced Statoil that the concept for Gullfaks C was feasible. No operator wanted to use the method because of the risk involved. Statoil wanted to test it. Without Statoil, which also funded the project, we would probably not have seen these spin offs. In this context it also important to underline the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute’s (NGI) contribution to the project,” Hermstad ends.
About OTC Hall of Fame
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), authors are inducted into the Hall of Fame for papers that offer innovation, vision, direction, and lasting impact on the design, construction or installation within the offshore industry. ASCE now announces that “in recognition of outstanding achievements, ASCE continues to enshrine a select few of the outstanding civil engineering papers, many of which form the core of current practice throughout the world, into the ASCE OTC Hall of Fame”. Since its inception in 1969, more than 10 000 papers have been presented at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).
About ASCE Offshore Technology Conference (OTC)
Founded in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference is the world’s foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection. OTC is held annually at Reliant Center in Houston. Each year, OTC attracts more than 70 000 attendees and 2 000 exhibiting companies representing more than 110 countries.
Source: Kvaerner, May 2, 2012