Successful Snorre A Module Lift

A new module comprising a control room, kitchen, lifeboat station and living quarters was transported from Leirvik Module Technology's (LMT) yard at Stord, north of Stavanger, on July 19th and lifted on board the North Sea's Snorre A platform the next day. Snorre A is undergoing upgrading for improved oil recovery and 25 more years of production.

The upgrade's aim is to increase the level of oil recovery at the field from 46% to 55%. This means that 70 million extra barrels of oil will be recovered, says Kjell Brustad, Snorre A platform manager.

The world's biggest crane barge, Saipem 7000, which has an entire 14,000-tonne load capacity, lifted the 455 tonne module. The vessel is one and a half times bigger than the platform.

According to Bjorn Nysted, acting project manager, the biggest challenge with Snorre A was its movement. The steel platform is an integrated drilling, production and accommodation rig, secured to the seabed with tension legs.

"We have strict requirements with regard to waves," he says.

"The upper limit is 2.3 meters. But the weather was perfect for the lift with waves 1.1 meters high."

The crane barge lowered the module onto the north-western corner of the platform. Sorco will perform the hook-up and commissioning of the module.

Personnel from Sorco and LMT have been preparing the platform for the module for the last six months. They have cleared the site, removed one lifeboat and reinforced the deck.

Normally producing 115,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, operations personnel began shutting down Snorre A production six hours before the lift took place.

The Safe Scandinavia flotel has been moored alongside Snorre A since 15 April and will leave the field on 30 September. During the lift, 250 personnel were present on the flotel and 140 on the platform. The bridge was removed one hour before the lift and the flotel was moved 180 meters away from Snorre A.

"The lift itself took no longer than one hour," Mr. Nysted explains.

He highlights the two most important reasons for the module's construction.

"To revamp the existing control room to current requirements would have been a difficult task. A new one was therefore built. And the kitchen was in poor condition. The best solution was to rip out the old one and build a refectory where it stood. The new module boasts a new, modern kitchen. Consequently, Snorre A can accommodate more people and avoid expensive flotels that are not readily available.

Test completion and handover of the module will be on October 31st. The first milestone is the completion of the kitchen in August/September.

Large oil and gas reserves remain in the Snorre area. By 2030, Snorre A will be one of at least five installations still producing in the Tampen area.

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