Installing new loading buoys is one of several projects intended to extend Gullfaks’ life towards 2040. 2.55 billion barrels of oil from the Gullfaks field have passed through the existing loading buoys since first oil.
Due to come on line in June the towing of the first loading buoy has started. The second old loading buoy will be removed in August, and the new buoy is scheduled to come on line in mid-September.
The two existing loading buoys have been loading oil from Gullfaks, located in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, since 1986.
“This is an important value enhancement project for the Gullfaks field. Gullfaks needs to have reliable loading systems for crude oil export in the future. The two existing loading systems and loading buoys installed in 1986 and 1987 are approaching the expected design life of 30 years,” says Øystein Arvid Håland, asset manager, Development and Production Norway.
The project is an important building block in the efforts to secure the oil export of Gullfaks and the tied-in fields for the next 30 years.
New loading buoys will reduce the need for logistics and helicopter transportation in connection with maintenance. Coordination and synergies with the Statfjord field related to operations, maintenance and spares will be facilitated.
The loading system is of the same type as that installed at Statfjord and is a simpler system than the existing Gullfaks system.
The new loading systems will have the same oil loading capacity as the existing systems.
The existing 6,000-tonne loading buoys will be towed to Stord for demolition at Scanmet AS. The aim here is a 98% level of material reuse.
Located in 136 metres of water the loading buoys are situated some 2.4 kilometres north-west and 2.4 kilometres south-east of Gullfaks A.
They are owned by the Gullfaks licensees. Statoil is the operator with a 51% interest, whereas Petoro and OMV have the remaining interests of 30% and 19%, respectively.
- Technip Norge AS has been responsible for engineering work, preparations, the removal of the existing loading buoys, towing and hand-over to the disassembly and demolition supplier – in addition to installing the new loading systems.
- The contract for disposal of the two loading buoys from Gullfaks is awarded to Scanmet AS.
- The new loading systems are delivered by National Oilwell Varco in Arendal.