Fast lift of the topsides

Pioneering Spirit Performs Nine-Second Fast Lift

In no more than nine seconds, Allseas' heavy lift vessel Pioneering Spirit lifted the Valhall QP accommodation platform topsides from its foundation. Weighing only 3800 t, the QP topsides is the lightest that the record-breaking vessel has lifted to date. The operation in the Norwegian part of the North Sea was recorded on film.

Executed in the morning of 14 June, the single-lift operation took two hours to complete from positioning Pioneering Spirit around the platform to the moment of the lift. The actual “fast lift” of the topsides took only nine seconds. The lift demonstrates the workability and versatility of the world’s largest construction vessel.

The 109 t bridge connecting the QP topsides to the neighbouring drilling platform was removed using one of the vessel’s cranes on Tuesday 11 June.

Watch the video and a photo album (please click the pop-out link to view the pictures in their proper dimensions) of the operation below.

Two Years of Engineering, Planning and Pre-lift Operations

The lift concluded two years of engineering, planning and pre-lift preparations, which ended last month with the installation of lift rigging for the bridge and cutting of the platform legs. The castellated cut shape, combined with pre-installed custom made leg restraints, prevented any possible topsides movement prior to the lift.

Transport to Disposal Yard

The QP topsides and bridge have since been sea-fastened on board Pioneering Spirit for transport to the Kvaerner AS disposal yard in Norway. The topsides will be transferred to a cargo barge at a sheltered location close to the yard for load-in to the quay for dismantling. The bridge, meanwhile, will be crane-lifted directly onto the quayside.

Aker-BP Frame Agreement

Removal of the QP topsides is the first job for Pioneering Spirit under the frame agreement Allseas signed with Aker BP in 2017 to provide transport, installation and removal services for the Valhall oil field. The Valhall field is located approximately 280 kilometres off the Norwegian coast and comprises six steel, bridge-connected platforms that stand in 70 metres of water. The QP topsides is the first of the original structures to be removed from the field centre as a key part of the modernising of the Valhall area.

The Pioneering Spirit will return to the North Sea to remove the 24,800 t Brent Bravo topsides for Shell UK.

Picture (top): Fast lift of the topsides (all footage by Allseas).

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

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

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