Pioneering Spirit installing P1 topsides Johan Sverdrup

VIDEOS: Pioneering Spirit Sets Another Record

Allseas’ heavy lift vessel Pioneering Spirit has successfully executed the single-lift installation of the processing platform (P1) and utility living quarters (LQ) topsides, with a combined weight of 44,000 t, in the Johan Sverdrup field, offshore Norway.

From the start of the 26,000-t P1 lifting operation on Tuesday morning (19 March) until the 18,000-t LQ topsides had been lifted into place early Friday morning, it took less than three days. Installation of the P1 topsides is the heaviest single-lift ever executed offshore.

Loading and Installing the Processing Topsides

On Saturday 16 March, the processing topsides joined Pioneering Spirit in Digernessundet, near Stord, where the 72 m high, 139 m long structure was transferred from a barge to Pioneering Spirit. After waiting out bad weather for 36 hours, the vessel commenced the 11-hour sail to the Johan Sverdrup field, located on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, 160 km west of Stavanger.

After final checks and preparations, the Pioneering Spirit moved in around the jacket and its motion-compensated lifting beams set down the topside. The actual installation operation took only 4 hours.

Utility Topsides

Pioneering Spirit arrived in Bømlafjorden, near Stord, 12 hours later to collect the utility topsides. In a repeat of the first operation, the 65 m high, 105 m long structure was transferred from a cargo barge to the Pioneering Spirit for transport to the field. The second installation took only 3.5 hours.

Involvement in Johan Sverdrup Development

The Pioneering Spirit has installed three of the four platform topsides for phase one of the Johan Sverdrup development. In June 2018, the vessel successfully installed the 22,000 t drilling platform (DP) topsides. In 2022, the vessel will return to the field to install a second processing platform (P2) topsides, weighing 27,000 t, for phase two of the Johan Sverdrup development. 

Watch videos (by Allseas) of both operations below.

Pioneering Spirit

The Pioneering Spirit is the world's largest construction vessel, designed for the single-lift installation and removal of large oil and gas platforms and the installation of record-weight pipelines. The vessel has a topsides lift capacity of 48,000 t and jacket lift capacity of 20,000 t. The twin-hulled, 382 m long, 124 m wide vessel was designed in-house, and built in South Korea by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (2011–2014) at a cost of €2.6 billion (US$3 billion). The Pioneering Spirit commenced offshore operations in August 2016 with removal of the 13,500 t Yme mobile production platform from Norwegian waters. 

Future Projects

After the installation of the Johan Sverdrup processing platform (P1) and utility living quarters (ULQ) topsides, the Pioneering Spirit will return to the Baltic Sea to resume construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Later in 2019, the vessel will temporarily demobilise from Nord Stream 2 for a second North Sea lifting campaign: removal, transfer and load-in to shore of the 24,000 t Brent Bravo topsides for Shell, and the 3400 t Valhall accommodation topsides (QP) and connecting bridge for AkerBP. 

Vessel Particulars

  • Length overall (incl. stinger and lifting beams): 477 m
  • Length: 382 m
  • Width: 124 m
  • Bow slot length: 122 m
  • Bow slot width: 59 m
  • Operating draught: 10-27 m
  • Installed power: 95,000 kW
  • Maximum speed: 14 knots
  • Accommodation: 571 persons
  • Topsides lift capacity: 48,000 t
  • Jacket lift capacity: 20,000 t
  • Pipelay tension capacity: 2000 t
  • Displacement: ~1,000,000 t at full draught (27 m)

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.

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