Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for Saldanha Bay Offshore Fabrication Yard

An official groundbreaking ceremony has been held for the R200-million offshore fabrication yard at Saldanha Bay. The high-profile ceremony was attended by Dr. Klaus Lesker, board member of MAN Ferrostaal; Lionel October, deputy director-general: enterprise and industry development of the Department of Trade and Industry; Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool; and Eddie du Rand, managing director of Grinaker-LTA Construction.

Scheduled for completion in August, Grinaker-LTA M&E will take over running the facility once it is finished. It will include a fabrication yard area of 220,000 square meters, a 90,000 square meter compacted laydown and assembly area at quayside, a compacted fabrication area of 55,000 square meters, and a compaction outside storage area of 40,000 square meters.

It will also include twin high-bay fabrication workshops, with two 25 ton and two 15 ton gantry cranes with a 14 meter underhook, a blasting and priming workshop, a pipe-spool fabrication workshop, custom control and bonded warehouses, materials warehouses, electrical and instrumentation workshops, and medical and first aid facilities.

"We believe that we will be able to provide the necessary fabrication and repair services to support the market growth for West Africa, which is currently being serviced by yards in Southern Europe, Korea and the Middle East. The Saldanha facility will provide an opportunity to service that industry out of South Africa. It will be a first-class offshore fabrication facility that will benefit from South Africa's infrastructure and support services," Du Rand says.

Grinaker-LTA M&E's entry into the upstream oil and gas fabrication market five years ago in Nigeria gives an invaluable introduction for the Saldanha Bay yard. Current and completed projects include such major oil players as ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total and Shell, as well as engineering companies and original equipment manufacturers including Technip, FMC and Veto Gray.

Although Grinaker-LTA M&E's fabrication ability to date has focused on piles, sub-sea structures, manifolds, jackets, bridges and decks up to 1,500 tons, the Saldanha Bay yard will include topside modules up to 5,000 tons and pressure vessels. The project will also involve tension leg platforms (TLPs) and smaller semi-submersible hulls.

Together with the establishment of a service and refurbishing hub at the port of Cape Town, the fabrication yard forms part of MAN Ferrostaal's total investment of R1.7-billion in offset commitments related to South Africa's purchase of three new submarines.

The MAN group of companies is well known internationally as a supplier and turnkey contractor in the oil and gas industry. Its various divisions offer solutions ranging from pipelines and compressor stations to EPC contracts for petchem plants.

"The rising international demand for oil and gas has now focused on Africa as a future major source for this commodity. The development of the sub-sea oil and gas fields requires skill and technological innovation. We believe that South Africa, as a leading industrial country on this continent, should be capable of contributing to the expansion of African offshore fields through the establishment of these facilities now under construction in Saldanha Bay," Dr Lesker concluded.