Steady as she goes

The steady workload situation at Schiedam-based HSM Offshore continues to be the envy of many North Sea fabricators. Business was good when OE last visited the yard a year ago; it’s got even better since, as David Morgan reports.

Edwin PrinseBack in the summer of 2010 Total’s K5-CU platform (850t topsides, 670t jacket, 500t of piles) was being readied for loadout, an EPCI contract was getting under way for another Dutch sector platform (1000t topsides, 1050t jacket, 500ft of skirt piles), and HSM had just been selected by C-Power’s main contractor ABB to build a 2200t transformer station for the Thornton Bank wind farm development offshore Belgium, a job that would take it through to April 2012. ‘The future’s looking bright,’ agreed procurement manager Edwin Prinse at the time, but nonetheless he said he would prefer to have one more job in the bag by the time the last platform was loaded out this April.

Prinse turned out to be setting his sights a little low. In the intervening 12 months, HSM picked up not one but two additional contracts, both from the UK. ‘Working hard and delivering quality – something clients will always appreciate,’ is how he explains the yard’s successful run. With the fitting out of the Thornton Bank transformer station continuing apace, HSM has already started cutting steel for the two new arrivals: EOG Resources’ six-slot Conwy platform, to be installed in the Liverpool Bay area next summer, and Talisman’s new 1200t Claymore compression module, due for sailaway in July 2012.

‘The construction of the fasttrack Conwy job is already advancing in the yard and everything is very much alive now,’ says Prinse.

Again, HSM has recruited IV Oil & Gas as engineering contractor for this project, which effectively constitutes two contracts. The 600t, not permanently attended platform will be tied back to BHP Billiton’s Douglas facility 12km to the southeast via a new 8in production pipeline, a new 8in water injection pipeline and a new power/control/ chemical injection umbilical, requiring various modifications to the existing platform. EOG also asked the yard to handle a key component of these modifications, a hang-off module (HOM) with an installed weight of 300t, on a construct-only basis but under the same EPIC contract covering Conwy’s topsides and jacket. The module will be installed on the north face of Douglas and house much of the reception and processing equipment for Conwy’s fluids, including an hydraulic power unit, produced water plant, degasser drum, hydrocyclones, pig trap, and various pumps and meters, all sourced by HSM under a separate procurement services contract. The Matador 3 shear leg crane vessel will be deployed to install both the platform and the HOM.

Engineering for the HOM and the Douglas topsides modifications is the responsibility of Wood Group PSN as a subcontractor to BHP, an arrangement Prinse admits has taken some getting used to given HSM’s EPIC role elsewhere. ‘The important aspect of this is to align the engineering planning of a company over whom we have no contractual control with our construction programme. To make the two match is challenging,’ he observes.

However, he has no doubt that everything will come together and that any technical and logistical uncertainties early in the programme will quickly be resolved. ‘There are clear time constraints on us, as the Douglas platform is due to shut down on 1 July 2012. All parties are aware of that and together we share this common objective.’

Meanwhile, the Claymore job for Talisman UK continues a successful run of North Sea gas compression projects with which the yard has been associated over the years. The new CCU compression module, a construct-only contract on this occasion with AFC engineering packages provided by the client through Fabricom Oil & Gas UK, is crucial to the continued operation of this ageing North Sea field.

The module, with its new 100% gas compressor replacing the platform’s original three 50% compressors, will be installed on part of Claymore’s former living quarters using the auxiliary hook of the giant Saipem 7000 crane vessel to achieve the necessary reach.

HSM currently has bids out for two more platforms. Although there is currently very little offshore oil & gas tendering activity beyond those jobs, Prinse is confident that there will be plenty more opportunities in the near future to maintain HSM’s winning habit. OE

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