Johan Sverdrup topside ready to sail away

Equinor has informed that the drilling topside for the Johan Sverdrup field will leave the Aibel yard in Haugesund, Norway on Thursday, and sail away to the North Sea.

The topside is the first, and biggest, structure to be completed for the Jhan Sverdrup project, and, according to Equinor, 85-percent fully tested onshore before being installed offshore in a single lift.

In the afternoon, four tugs will take control of the barge carrying the topside, heading towards Bømlafjorden at Stord, Equinor said. The 22,000-ton topside will then be loaded aboard the Pioneering Spirit, the world’s biggest heavy-lift vessel, which has arrived in Norway from The Netherlands.

Once loaded, the Pioneering Spirit will proceed to the Johan Sverdrup field for installation as the second of four platforms in Phase 1 of the development. The Johan Sverdrup topside is the first platform installation job by the Pioneering Spirit.

Trond Bokn, Equinor’s senior vice president for Johan Sverdrup: “It’s great to see the drilling platform ready for sail-out. Aibel has delivered a high-quality platform while performing well on safety. When the delivery is also on budget and on schedule, we are of course very pleased. This marks an important milestone for the Johan Sverdrup partnership, Aibel, and the Norwegian supplier industry.”

Lars Håvardsholm, Equinor’s project manager for the drilling platform said: “This is the first and biggest platform being assembled onshore and prepared for installation offshore in one single lift, so this is path-breaking. The plan has been challenging at times, all work from start to finish taking just 39 months, but it has all been excellently delivered both with regard to safety, costs and quality,” says Håvardsholm.

Assembly operation of the Johan Sverdrup drilling platform in Klosterfjorden, near Stord in Norway in September 2017. (Photo Arne Reidar Mortensen)

More Johan Sverdrup work for Aibel

According to Equinor, At most, 4,000 people in Aibel and 150 people in Equinor have been working on the project. The collaboration with Odfjell Drilling, who will operate the drilling rig, and NOV, the supplier of the drilling facilities, has also been good, according to Håvardsholm.

“We are very pleased with the positive attitude and the collaborative spirit shown by everyone involved in the project,” says Håvardsholm.

When the drilling platform arrives on the Johan Sverdrup field everything will be lifted into position in one single lift by Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit heavy-lift vessel.

Thanks to the vessel’s leading-edge lifting technology it is possible to assemble, complete and test a larger topside structure onshore – which previously had to be done offshore, Equinor said.

This allows for great savings, Equinor said, both of manhours and costs, and by moving the work from offshore to onshore reduces risks related to health, environment and safety.

While Aibel is done with work on the drilling topside, its Johan Sverdrup work does not stop here. The company in April signed a letter of intent with Equinor worth around NOK 8 billion for the construction of the topside for the second processing platform on the field, part of Phase 2 of the development.

Trond Bokn says:”Close and good collaboration with our suppliers has been essential to the improvements we have seen in Phase 1 of the Johan Sverdrup development. Aibel and the work they’ve done with the drilling platform has played an important role here, so we’re glad to build further on the collaboration, experience and skills in Phase 2 of the development. This gives us a good basis for delivering the next phase of Johan Sverdrup safely, with high quality and on budget.”

Johan Sverdrup is one of the five biggest oil fields on the Norwegian continental shelf. With expected recoverable resources of between 2.1-3.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, it will be one of the most important industrial projects in Norway over the next 50 years.

Johan Sverdrup will be developed in several phases. Phase 1 is expected to start up in late 2019 with production capacity estimated at 440,000 barrels of oil per day.

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