Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit is in the process of testing new equipment, as the mega vessel readies for the decommissioning of Shell’s Brent Delta in the North Sea later this year.
The Pioneering Spirit in pipleay mode. Images from Allseas.
According to Allseas, the pipelay stinger and stinger transition frame (STF) have been installed in the bow slot of Pioneering Spirit for the first time as pipeline production trials started on board. In transit mode, the combination of stinger and STF increase the vessel’s overall length to nearly 450m (1475ft).
Built to lift up to 48,000-tonne topsides and up to 25,000-tonne jackets, the Pioneering Spirit is 382m-long and 124m-wide.
Allseas says it will test the pipelay equipment and systems in the double-joint factory; and main firing line. Following, the stinger and STF will be removed and stored on the Bumblebee stinger barge.
Steel foundation producer Smulder Projects was responsible for the production and assembly of the stinger frame that hangs behind the Pioneering Spirit.
“On board of the Pioneering Spirit, pipe parts are welded together. Via the Stinger transition-frame (on board of the Pioneering Spirit) the pipe is placed on the stinger and rolls over the 'rollerboxes' into the water. The stinger leads the pipe to the bottom of the sea and guarantees the most ideal curvature of the welded pipe during the installation phase,” Smulder says.
The stinger on board the US$2.7 billion vessel is 150m long, has a width of 65m, and weighs 4200-tonne.
The Pioneering Spirit will soon head to Shell’s Brent field, to begin the decommissioning process on Brent Delta’s topsides, marking the vessel’s largest project yet. The work includes the decommissioning of the additional three Brent platform topsides, each weighing some 24,000-tonne.
The decommission proposal is currently in the hands of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which was submitted last month.
The Pioneering Spirit is also under contract with Norwegian giant Statoil for the installation of three platforms on the giant Johan Sverdrup development into place in 2018-19.
In late-August, the Pioneering Spirit completed its first commercial job by lifting Repsol Norge’s 13,500-tonne Yme mobile offshore production unit (MOPU), 100km offshore Norway.The Yme MOPU is a jackup type platform standing on three, 3.5m-diameter steel legs, which were inserted about 10m inside the subsea storage tank columns at 93m water depth.