A separate flare stack is connected by a bridge. The platform’s highest point is 73 metres above sea level. Its accommodation module initially had 58 beds, increased to 96.
Fifteen production wells are located under the platform. Output passes through a three-phase separator, with the oil stabilised and the gas dehydrated for transfer in 12- and 14-inch pipelines respectively. These links originally ran to Ekofisk 2/4 R, but were rerouted in 1998 to Ekofisk 2/4 J.
Life offshore could seem overwhelming
A Norwegian engineer suddenly thrown into bringing an offshore platform on stream could find life in the North Sea fairly overwhelming. That, at least, was the experience of Lars A Takla during his first tour on Tor 2/E in 1978:
I flew out by helicopter, something I’d never done before. Once on Tor, I would be met to tour the platform and get to know it. I’d only been in Phillips for a week or two, and had little idea of what life offshore was like.
They told me that I’d first be flying to a platform with a hotel, and then be sent on by helicopter to Tor. Once on the first of these installations, I was checked in at the radio shack.
They told me no helicopter would be departing until later that afternoon, so I went for lunch. The cafeteria was very small. People stood almost on top of you and waited for a seat, so you simply had to eat at full speed and leave.
There were a lot of people about, and I had some trouble finding my way around. I was then told that no flight would take place because of fog. The transfer would have to be made instead by supply ship, so I was asked to wait.
I did so, until my name was finally called. My destination was a specific deck whose location I didn’t know, but I got somebody to show me the way. The next stop was the helideck, where baskets were raised and lowered by crane.
I was fitted with a lifejacket and had to grip hold of the rope on the outside of the basket. Two of us were being transferred. The basket suddenly shot up, and there was a supply ship bobbing in the waves far below.
It took about an hour to reach Tor on this vessel. There was quite a lot of motion, so I became more and more seasick – not something I’d expected to face.
Then I had to be hauled up to Tor. I remember checking in at the radio shack and being allocated a bed. The cabin had four occupants, welders working to prepare the platform for production.
When I came down to the cafeteria, nobody knew who I was. So I sat down with a gang of Scottish construction personnel. I thought I spoke acceptable English, but I understood hardly anything my companions said.
I nevertheless recognised two terms – ’bloody’ and ’fucking’ – which occasionally seemed to be every other word. I didn’t grasp what was said in between. They might as well have been talking Greek.
The Americans were much easier to understand. There were a great many Texans out there, and they were very jovial, pleasant people.
But I’ll never forget that first tour on Tor. Smoking in the cabin was normal, but otherwise forbidden outside the accommodation. Four men shared a single cabin and slept in iron bunks.
I thought: ’For God’s sake, what have I got myself into?’ I had a job on land, but it largely involved organisation and communication with the platform superintendent who was getting Tor ready.
I flew out again later, when we were due to begin the actual start-up phase. Going offshore was very important and useful – I saw how it all worked.
Construction management rested with a Dutch company called De Groot Le Rotcon. It had a lot of Scottish workers, but also west Norwegians from Haugesund and Karmøy. Shipbuilder Haugesund Mek Verksted had a sub-contract from De Groot.
A number of difficulties had arisen. Two of the platforms were very delayed, as was the case with a number of rigs at that time. It took longer than expected to commission them offshore.
Among other problems, a lot of design changes had been made to the actual process equipment on the platform, so it was a fairly far behind schedule. But we got on stream in the summer of 1978, which was otherwise a fantastic time.
These chalk reservoirs deliver a lot, but production then declines and stabilises. We had so many wells predrilled that the process capacity was virtually fully utilised as soon we were under way. Tor became a proper money machine relatively quickly. And then it was on to the same process later, with Eldfisk.
First strike on EkofiskAlbuskjell 2/4 F comes on stream