Grane Module: Record-Breaking Transport

On Friday March 28th, the Grane process module was transferred to a barge at Kvaerner Egersund, the biggest operation of its kind ever to take place in Norway. Some 12,000 tons were moved using some 2000 wheels and 444 axles.

The Grane project has entered into its most intense phase, now that all the modules have been completed and tested. They are now being loaded on to barges in preparation for transport to the field and installation.

Friday's operation in Egersund was most spectacular, given that the process module is the biggest and heaviest of the Grane modules. Loading is followed by a very intensive period of 10-12 days when the module is subject to seaworthiness tests and preparations for the voyage offshore.

The first structure loaded on to the barge last week was the flare boom. One day later, the power generation module and living quarters were ready for transport at Kvaerner Rosenberg in Stavanger.

The approximately 6,000 ton heavy module was turned 180 degrees prior to being loaded on board the barge. The operation commenced early in the morning, and four hours later the module was safely on board the barge and the job of securing it to the infrastructure could begin. On land, trailers were lined up ready to take the transporter carriages to Stord for the loading of the drilling module.

The drilling module at Stord was loaded on board the barge on Sunday.

To move the module approximately 200 meters from the construction site to the barge, 46 transport carriages - with a total of 1072 wheels - were used.

Each wheel can carry a 6.5 ton load. The module's weight during loading was roughly 7,000 tons including some infrastructure and other equipment.

Transport of the module commenced at midday and by 16.00 the entire module was on board the barge. Though installation of the steel jacket on Grane can start to be installed on Saturday, the earliest time on which the first module can be installed will be some 10-11 days later.

The remaining modules will then be installed by the lifting vessel Thialf. Lifting the process module will be one of the heaviest operations ever carried out offshore.

Once the modules have been installed, some 500 workmen, mainly from Aker Kværner, can start to make all the connections. An estimated 650,000 hours preparatory work will be needed before Grane can come on stream on October 15th this year.

The total price tag for the Grane development looks will be approximately NOK 15.5 billion, a billion less than originally budgeted. Project execution has been excellent, and the project has been on schedule at all times.

The North Sea Grane field is located 185 kilometers west of Stavanger at a depth of 128 meters.

The reservoir covers a 30 square kilometer area, with an oil column a maximum 80 meters high, and the location of its wells is challenging because the oil is viscous and the reservoir has a long transitional zone.

A total of 27 oil-producing horizontal wells will be drilled on Grane. To ensure maximum production efficiency, the wells will be drilled exactly nine meters above the interface between oil and water in the reservoir.

Recoverable reserves amount to 705 million barrels oil. Expected production is 214,000 barrels per day. The license holders are Hydro (38.0 percent), Petoro (30.0), ExxonMobil (25.6) and Conoco (6.4).