McDermott team strikes gold

McDermott picked up a Bentley Systems innovation in construction award at the infrastructure software provider’s recent ‘Be Inspired’ gathering in Amsterdam for the early delivery of the Su Tu Vang central processing platform at the Cuu Long project offshore Vietnam. Russell McCulley reviews the annual event’s oil & gas industry talking points.

Cuu Long – ‘Golden Lion’ in Vietnamese – is run by a joint operating partnership between 50% owner PetroVietnam, ConocoPhillips 23.25%, Korea’s KNOC 14.25%, SK Corporation 9% and Geopetrol 3.5%. The oil field is situated in 170ft water depths in the offshore southeast Vietnam block 15-1 concession, which also includes the producing Su Tu Nau (Brown Lion), Su Tu Den (Black Lion) and Su Tu Trang (White Lion) fields.

McDermott, tasked with the engineering, procurement, construction, installation, hook-up and commissioning of Su Tu Vang’s central processing platform and associated infield pipelines, delivered for the project in 4Q 2008, two weeks ahead of schedule. Around 60 days later, the platform had ramped up to 100,000b/d capacity.

‘This project was full of challenges,’ including the tight schedule, Joseph Anand, senior project manager with McDermott, told attendees at Bentley Systems’ annual ‘Be Inspired: Thought leadership in infrastructure’ event in October. ‘We were bold enough to sign a contract with 32 months completion schedule, and I was given the task of carrying out this job.’ The procurement stage also coincided with a steep increase in global steel prices and a tight labor market, he said.

To maximize the amount of work that could be done onshore at the company’s Batam Island yard in Indonesia, McDermott opted for a floatover mating of the 15,000t integrated deck with its 4000t jacket using its Intermac 650. This was only the 650ft-barge’s second floatover following its modification to handle such operations in preparation for the floatover installation of PTT Exploration & Production’s 17,000t Arthit CPP integrated deck three years ago in 260ft of water in the Gulf of Thailand (OE February 2008). McDermott’s DB30 derrick barge was deployed to install the Su Tu Vang jacket and pipelines.

The Su Tu Vang platform construction team used Bentley ConstructSim software to do modeling and set up a ‘virtual integrated team’ involving the Cuu Long JOC, McDermott and vendors so that much of the work could be done concurrently. ‘This was a huge, very high platform,’ Anand said. ‘If you build it at the height it’s supposed to be installed at offshore, most of the cranes in our yard would be at the limit of capacity. And it takes time to build high. So we build low until everything is complete, then insert a deck support frame.’ The method allowed McDermott to do almost all commissioning onshore. ‘Once hydrocarbon was available, it was very easy to bring it up to full production,’ he said.

The Be Inspired event honors architects, engineers and other infrastructure professionals behind notable projects around the world. This year, 320 nominations from 45 countries were submitted for a total of 19 awards. OE

Global infrastructure league

Oil & gas companies hold 12 of the top 25 spots among the world’s largest infrastructure owners, according to a new survey released by Bentley Systems in Amsterdam. Russia’s Gazprom came in third on the Bentley Infrastructure 500 ranking of infrastructure owners with nearly $161.8 billion in assets, behind French utility company EdF (Electricite de France) with $186.5 billion in infrastructure, and the US government, which topped the list with $282.7 billion.

The survey, compiled by Bentley from published financial statements and third-party research, found that global infrastructure value among the top 500 entities represents some $13 trillion, about $9 trillion of it in private sector investments.

Bentley Systems CEO Greg Bentley (pictured) told attendees at the company’s annual ‘Be Inspired’ event that he was surprised by the survey’s ‘geographical diversity’ and the fact that ‘the bulk of infrastructure ownership is private sector.’

Petrochina ranked fourth on the list of 500, with nearly $166 billion in infrastructure assets, followed by ExxonMobil, with $139.1 billion; Petrobras, with $132.3 billion; and Shell, with $129.1 billion.

Other energy companies ranked in the top 25 were BP, at number 12 with $103.7 billion in infrastructure; GDF Suez, at 17, with $99.5 billion; Chevron and Sinopec at 18 and 19, with $96.5 billion and $96.1 billion, respectively; Eni at 21 with $91 billion, ConocoPhillips at 22 with $87.7 billion, and CNPC in 24th place with $80.2 billion.

Bentley acknowledged that the infrastructure holdings of some private corporations were difficult to ascertain, as were the assets of some state or municipal governments, whose assets may be listed under different governmental divisions. ‘We may have missed some things,’ he said of the survey, the first of its type the software specialist has compiled.

Total, Pemex and PDVSA were just out of the top 25, ranking 27th, 28th and 29th, respectively. Bentley pegged Total’s infrastructure holdings at $74.3 billion, Pemex’s at just over $74 billion, and the Venezuelan national oil company’s infrastructure assets at $73 billion.

The survey measured oil & gas companies’ ‘tangible fixed assets’, Bentley said, but not unproved reserves or mineral rights. OE

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