Norpipe B11

person Norwegian Petroleum Museum
This platform served as a pumping/compressor station to maintain pressure in the 443-kilometre Norpipe gas pipeline from Ekofisk to Emden in Germany, which became operational in September 1977.
Brief facts:
  • Compressor platform on Ekofisk-Emden gas pipeline
  • Installed 1976
  • Operational 1977
  • Shut down 3 June 2013
  • Removed 2015
— Norpipe GNSC-B11. Photo: Husmo Foto/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

Gas received initial compression to 132 bar at the Ekofisk Complex. The pipeline was divided into three equal lengths, with B11 positioned at the end of the first third to maintain pressure as and when required.

From there, the gas then travelled the next third of the distance to the second and virtually identical compressor platform, Norpipe GNSC H7. This was also responsible for maintaining pressure, but additional compression was seldom required on this final leg of the journey to Emden.

rørledningene, engelsk,
Sandbags and gravel were used to cover Norpipe to Emden. Photo: Unknown/Norwegian Petroleum Museum

Both platforms stood on the German continental shelf, but 48 kilometres of the pipeline also ran across the Danish North Sea sector.

The pipeline is trenched or covered with sand. On its final approach to the coast of East Friesland, it passes beneath the island of Juist before making landfall north of Emden.

Capacity in Norpipe is about 60 million standard cubic metres (scm) or 2.1 billion cubic feet per day. In addition to output from the Ekofisk-area fields, it carries gas from Valhall, Ula and the Statpipe system – primarily Statfjord and Gullfaks. Gas was also transported for a time from Hod and Gyda, but that has ceased.

Built in 1976, the B11 platform had six decks. Its permanent staffing totalled 14 people, but various service personnel were also often on board. The regular crew included three in catering.

The 11 Phillips employees comprised the offshore installation manager, the nurse/radio operator, eight operators and a roustabout.

In addition to their direct function, the operators covered various other trades which meant the crew was self-sufficient in most circumstances.

Both platforms obtained a satellite antenna in 1986 which allowed them to received Norwegian TV, while the 24-bed accommodation were redecorated in 1981 and upgraded in the summer of 1990.

Norpipe GNSC B-11, yrker, kokk,
Chef Arne Mathisen at Norpipe GNSC B-11. Photo: Husmo Foto/Norwegian Petroleum Museum

Work on the upgrading largely comprised converting all cabins to doubles with shower and WC. The galley and changing rooms were renewed and changing facilities for women provided.

A new module with a lounge for non-smokers, a smoking room, gym and pool room was also installed. During this work, the West Gamma accommodation rig was positioned alongside.

Upgrading equipment on the platform was also initiated in 1990. While the pipeline’s original daily capacity had been estimated at 2 100 million standard cubic feet, this was found to have declined after a number of years to 1 975 million.

To return to the original capacity, the compressors needed to be upgraded and power supply from the turbines increased. This was done both on the Ekofisk tank and on the H7 and B11 platforms. Gas coolers on the tank were replaced as well.

The control systems were also upgraded in parallel. Control panels on turbines and compressors were replaced and metering instruments installed to measure performance.

Norpipe GNSC B-11
In the workshop on the Norpipe GNSC B-11 platform. Photo: Husmo Foto/Norwegian Petroleum Museum

Evacuation

Everything proceeded calmly when 23 of the 28 personnel on B11 were evacuated on 28 January 1994 after six containers had been washed overboard from Edzel north of the platform in a big storm.

It was feared that some of these boxes might float and damage the structure, which was shut down. Personnel were transferred to the Maersk Explorer rig on the Danish continental shelf.

Gas deliveries were suspended for five hours, but resumed when one of the containers was discovered a good distance from the platform.

Operator responsibility for B11 and H7 was transferred at the beginning of 2003 to Norway’s state-owned Gassco company, which runs the Norwegian gas transport network.

This change had little significance for operation of the platforms, since the actual work was still carried out by ConocoPhillips as a technical service provider to Gassco.

These installations were shut down in 2007 for H7 and 2013 for B11. The latter was removed in 2015.

Published 24. September 2016   •   Updated 22. October 2019
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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