Controlling the airspaceRogue barge threatens platforms

Eldfisk II operational with 2/7 S

person by Kristin Øye Gjerde and Gunleiv Hadland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Petroleum and energy minister Kåre Fostervoll officially inaugurated the Eldfisk 2/7 S platform on 24 April 2015 – the third such ceremony in the Greater Ekofisk Area in 17 months!
Kjappe fakta:
  • Platform installed in 2013-14.
  • On stream 3 January 2015.
  • Features wellhead and process facilities as well as accommodation.
  • Also known as Eldfisk Sierra.
— Elderfish 2/7 S lights up at dusk. Foto: ConocoPhillips
© Norsk Oljemuseum

Fostervoll’s predecessor, Tord Lien, had inaugurated wellhead platform Ekofisk 2/4 Z on 29 October 2013, while labour and social affairs minister Robert Eriksson did the same for the Ekofisk 2/4 L accommodation and field centre facility on 1 April 2014. 

In his speech during the ceremony, Fostervoll emphasised the great significance of the Greater Ekofisk Area for Norway’s oil sector over more than 40 years and into the future.  With the Eldfisk II project in operation, the basis had been laid for operation to continue for many years to come. 

Eldfisk 2/7 S revitalises the field

Ranked as the second largest field in the Greater Ekofisk Area, Eldfisk has been on stream since 1979 with ConocoPhillips as the operator. 

It had begun to age after 2000, with production in decline, but was revitalised with the installation of the Eldfisk 2/7 E water injection platform. 

On 24 February 2011, ConocoPhillips submitted proposals for further development of the field with a new project which was given the designation Eldfisk II.[REMOVE]Fotnote: plan for development and operation (PDO) for this phase was approved by the Storting (parliament) on 9 June of the same year.[REMOVE]Fotnote: to the project was a new integrated production platform, Eldfisk 2/7 S, with 154 cabins as well as process facilities and slots for 40 wells.  

It would replace the existing Eldfisk 2/7 FTP facility and the accommodation provided on Eldfisk 2/7 A, and be tied to the Eldfisk Complex by bridges. 

The unmanned platform on the Embla field, which is tied back to Eldfisk via a pipeline, was also to be operated from the new 2/4 S installation. [REMOVE]Fotnote:

Other key elements were a new local utility module, pipelines and umbilical, as well as extensive modifications to existing facilities and infrastructure on the field. 

Eldfisk 2/7 S came on stream in early 2015, with its official inauguration taking place a few months later. 

International construction process

Building a new production platform is an extensive process, involving many fabrication sites in a number of countries. Eldfisk 2/7 S was no exception. 

Engineering design was carried out at Aker Solutions in Fornebu outside Oslo, while construction work began simultaneously at various locations in the spring of 2012. 

Kværner was the main contractor for engineering and construction of the platform’s topsides and bridges, while Aker Solutions MMO and Rosenberg WorleyParsons secured major contracts for modifying existing installations. The local utility module was fabricated at Aker Solutions in Egersund. 

The jacket for 2/7 S was built by the Dragados yard at Cadiz in Spain. Standing 96 metres high and weighing 13 000 tonnes, this structure was shipped to Eldfisk on a barge. 

Perfect weather conditions prevailed when the jacket was installed on 6 May 2014. Because of its size, it was skidded off the barge – rather like launching a ship – before being lifted and put in place. 

The topsides for 2/7 S were built in a number of sections which were finally assembled by Kværner at Stord. These included the quarters module fabricated by STX in Finland. 

Sub-contracted deliveries for the topside came from the Polish yards Energomontaz and Vistal in Gdynia as well as Mostostal Pomorze in Gdansk. 

Modules and sections from the various fabrication sites were shipped to Stord for assembly, with some 2 000 people involved in completion work during the busiest periods. 

This was followed by testing systems, producing documentation and commissioning under the supervision of the ConocoPhillips site office at the yard. 

Originally based at Fornebu, the project management for 2/7 S was also moved to Stord during this phase.[REMOVE]Fotnote: two topsides modules for 2/7 S were shipped from Stord to the Eldfisk Complex in May 2014 and lifted into position on the jacket. 

At peak, some 550 people were engaged in completing the new platform, hooking up systems and commissioning so that production could start from new wells in the first quarter of 2015. 

Modification work on existing Eldfisk installations and the tie-in of relevant pipelines were pursued in parallel. 

In addition to the platform, the project embraced 40 wells, pipelines from Energop in Warsaw, power and fibreoptic cables and conversion of existing Eldfisk infrastructure. 

The platform could not be taken into use until the bridge connecting the jacket with the rest of the Eldfisk Complex was lifted into place. 

In addition came a new waste heat recovery unit (WHRU), built at Rosenberg WorleyParsons in Stavanger, and a template for predrilling wells through the 2/7 S jacket. 

This was used for five of the 35 wells drilled. The Mærsk Innovator rig handled drilling for the new platform, which extended over several years. 

While nine wells are used for water injection and one for returning drill cuttings below ground, the remainder are for production. Many of the wells are extended reach and horizontal. 

New seabed pipelines formed part of the modification work carried out to upgrade and prepare existing installations and systems for 2/7 S. 

The new platform was expected to increase annual production from the Eldfisk field by 35-45 billion standard cubic metres (scm) of oil equivalent. 

Investment in the Eldfisk II project was estimated by the PDO at NOK 35-40 billion in 2011 value, including the substantial drilling programme. The Norwegian share was 60-70 per cent. 

Oil downturn worries suppliers

Pleasure at the 2/7 S inauguration was mixed with a considerable dose of concern among the suppliers. 

Aker chief executive Øyvind Eriksen, who attended the ceremony with several of the key contractors for Eldfisk II, highlighted the big slump being experienced by the petroleum sector and the significance of the project in that context. 

He was worried that it might be difficult to preserve teams with expertise when the work was completed. On the positive side, investment was nevertheless continuing on the NCS, particularly in connection with the Johan Sverdrup field and a few other major developments. 

Deputy CEO Øyvind Mikaelsen in Subsea 7, which had also contributed to Eldfisk II, noted that it had downsized because of fewer projects and forecast more difficult times. 

Kværner CEO Jan Arve Haugan, whose company had also built the jacket for the Ekofisk accommodation platform and completed Eldfisk II, was more optimistic. 

He reported that Kværner was well under way with new projects for the Johan Sverdrup development. But it had lost other contracts and was also being forced to downsize.[REMOVE]Fotnote: NTB, “Feiret ny Ekofisk-æra – uro for fremtiden”, 23 March 2015.Despite the depressed conditions afflicting the oil industry in 2015, ConocoPhillips took a long-term view and regarded the new platforms as a good investment towards 2050. 

Controlling the airspaceRogue barge threatens platforms
Published 18. September 2019   •   Updated 14. October 2019
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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