GS Hydro carry out complete replacement of live FPSO Turret Bearing Control System – without oil halting production

Maersk Oil FPSO - the Global Producer III
Maersk Oil FPSO – the Global Producer III

From its Aberdeen operations centre, GS Hydro has completed a major pipework replacement project aboard Maersk Oil’s floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel whilst keeping the safety-critical Turret Bearing Control System ‘live’ and operational while works were carried out.

The project – the first to fully utilise GS Hydro’s newly-developed total turnkey capability system – entailed the replacement of all the existing pipework and system components on the Turret Bearing Control System (TBCS) aboard the Global Producer III.

Furthermore, by approaching the project using an integrated approach GS Hydro were able to develop, propose and implement solutions which met with both on & offshore technical requirements.

This allowed the development of Workpacks that facilitated a smooth and cohesive approach that realised the potential choke points within the project prior to formulating solutions. These were then agreed by all before being incorporated into the planning, risk-assessment and QHSE management systems.

An integrated and detailed planning process allowed the use of more readily available materials and the development of a complete stainless steel system rather than a mixed carbon/stainless system as originally fitted. This decision resulted in a significant cost saving and enhances the future life and reliability of the pipework during ongoing operational use.

Through the utilisation of GS Hydro’s non-welded technology and ‘cold-work’ capability the pipework could be replaced with the system fully functioning and with virtually no interruption to production or the vessel’s operational capability.

All three of GS Hydro’s levels of non-welded technology, 90 & 37⁰ flaring and the Retaining Ring System were utilised as well as additional non-hot work processes to complete the project during the offshore phase.

Whilst around 85% of the required spools were bent and fabricated onshore GS Hydro has the capability to supply a fully equipped workshop to site This  allows spool tie-ins to be fabricated on-site thereby minimising both time and offshore costs. In total there were some 500 spools manufactured and fitted to the TBCS as well as the replacement of all valves and other ancillary system components.

Duncan Griffiths, GS Hydro’s Project Manager, commented: Being the first of its kind in its breadth and complexity in the North Sea, this project has established a new set of parameters for industries where ‘hot-work’ can be problematical.

“Through the utilisation of the recently developed TTC system, we managed to complete this major project under budget and within a shorter than anticipated timespan with no compromise to quality standards and no lost-time incidents.

Most importantly the ability to keep the vessel on station and in full production throughout the project has produced huge cost benefits for the client. This project has demonstrated what can be achieved when the client/contractor interface comes together to integrate fully new technology, improved methodologies and a desire to move away from the recognised norm.”

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