Shell awards Vito castings to Sheffield Forgemasters

Shell has awarded a contract to UK forge Sheffield Forgemasters for castings for use on the Vito semisubmersible platform for the US Gulf of Mexico (GoM).

The project will see the Sheffield Forgemasters' offshore oil and gas specialist, Vulcan SFM, deliver 10 riser basket components weighing about 11.5-tonne each for the Vito semisubmersible platform. 

Vulcan SFM will cast the riser baskets - open cylinders with an internal profile which provides a bearing surface to directly support the riser - at Sheffield Forgemasters' Brightside Lane foundry.  

They will be attached to the hull of the platform, in this case a semisubmersible, to support the various risers coming up from the sea-bed.

The Vito platform is a planned 24,000-tonne production unit. Fabrication of the platform has yet to be awarded but Shell has already started securing suppliers for crucial components.

Vito was discovered in 2009, in Mississippi Canyon Block 984 at more than 4000ft water depth. It could hold more than 300 MMbo. 

Shell is the operator of Vito with and is partnered by Norway’s Statoil on the project.

In July, Vulcan SFM secured a US$7.1 million contract with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) to supply 73 steel castings ranging from 0.5-19.5-tonne, for a semisubmersible oil platform, the hull of which is being built in Korea by SHI for operation in a Gulf of Mexico oilfield.

Paul Mockford, Design Director at Vulcan SFM, said: “These two contracts are the first signs of any return to offshore work after a complete cessation of new oil and gas developments on a worldwide basis which came into effect when the price of oil plummeted in 2015.

“Although it is far too early to speculate that the offshore oil and gas market is making any kind of quantitive return, the commencement of operations in the Gulf of Mexico are very encouraging developments, as is the increase in oil prices as they approach $60/bbl."

Sheffield Forgemasters started manufacture of the components for Shell in August and the completion is expected by June 2018. 

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