Archive for the ‘North Sea’ Category

Heavy Lifts   15 comments

Last month, while on another successful rig move we had the pleasure of watching some very heavy lifts going on, now when I say pleasure, I mean in the geeky sort of way, watching a crane lift something is not everyones height of entertainment, but for me it’s cool, and even cooler when you think about this being done at sea, most of us have seen a crane on the high street getting ready to do a lift, the first thing the crane does after parking up and the driver having 3 bacon sandwiches and 4 cups of tea is to put out the stabilises, those things in each corner that slide out a meter or so and press down on the ground to level and steady the crane. The thing is you can’t do this at sea, you have to use ballast and one great thing to use as ballast is water.

This is the Saipem 7000 just after completing 4 very complex heavy lifts, one lift being 11,100 tons, thats 500 tons under the world record (which was done by the same vessel). To put that into perspective thats 4080 female Indian elephants. Now to get back to this ballast thing, the Saipem 7000 was fitted with two ballast systems: A conventional pumped system which could transfer up to 24,000 tonnes of water per hour using 4 pumps and a free flooding system. The free flooding system used 2 m diameter valves to open certain compartments to the sea thus trimming or heeling the vessel. This allows the vessel to lift cargoes from barges much faster than if just the crane hoists are used.




This was the second time I have seen a heavy lift vessel, funny enough the first time was the rig move just before this one when I saw the Thialf, this is the largest crane vessel in the world.



Christmas Offshore   22 comments

This has been the first Christmas I’ve spent at home in 5 years and it has been fantastic. December is a busy month for us, last year while I was away I missed,(In order) My son’s birthday, our twentieth wedding anniversary, Christmas day, boxing day, my birthday, New years eve, and new years day. The worst thing was, the weather was so bad we didn’t do anything.

But it’s not all doom and gloom off-shore at Christmas, everybody knows that we are all stuck out there so we make the most of it, movies and games, go to the gym or just chill.

Christmas day lunch is to die for, last year we had two sittings, we were on the first, we took our seats, read the menu, had a choice of starters, followed by a large choice of main dishes, deserts were out of this world, all washed down with non alcohol beer and wine.

But the evening meal is when the staff onboard really go to town, it’s a cold buffet, I won’t tell you about it because I wouldn’t be able to give it justice, here is a shot of part of it.

Xmas 2011


This all goes on during 128 knot winds, 10 meter waves. now we are on a jack-up so we don’t move around that much but the noise from the wind whistling through the legs was really loud.

This photo shows the weather, these waves are suppose to be 10 meters high but the wind is so strong it’s keeping them down around 7 meters. I took this shot from the pilot house which is about 7 stories up.

128 knot winds


After doing nothing for 28 days we were allowed to go home, the day after we left they decided to move, as they started to jack down into the water a weld on one of the legs failed, properly due to the very high winds and stress of the legs flexing. The jack-up was immediately towed to shallow water for repairs and checks on all the legs, a big job, here is part of one leg.

Jack-up Leg


A month later and guess where I was, yeah back onboard, we towed it to where it should of gone and sat it on the seabed. Job done.

We have a fiftieth birthday party tonight (not mine) My birthday tomorrow (not fifty yet) then New Years eve, so have a great new year and I’ll post again next year.

Posted December 29, 2012 by rigmover in North Sea

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FPSO again   12 comments

I have run out of things to photograph out here on this FPSO, as you can imagine its a lot of water or a lot of steel, not much else.
This caught my eye yesterday, again it’s the Fugro Symphony working with its ROV’s beside us, but in this shot you can see the cable/pipe, (we call it an umbilical) going over the side, you can clearly see the end of the umbilical, ‘the connection’ the ROV will connect this end of the umbilical to a winch wire, that winch is located in the turret, the winch will pull the umbilical up through the turret and connect it to a riser. Job done. Not quite.

The vessel then needs to loop the umbilical over a subsea buoy, these buoy’s are connected to the sea bed and float 53.6 meters up (water depth 112m) the reason for this is so the end of the umbilical does not rub on the sea bed when the FPSO is moving in rough sea. Job done. No not yet, the other end of the umbilical gets laid on the sea bed and placed close to the end of the pipeline coming from the well, this will be connected together at a later date with divers.


Here’s the big picture. You can see both ROV’s have been deployed.


I promise this is the last post on this subject, in fact FPSO now stands for: Final Post Seriously Over.
Have a great weekend.

Posted September 21, 2012 by rigmover in North Sea

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FPSO Safety   16 comments

After yesterday’s post you are properly thinking, ‘hang on these guys are working on a floating oil refinery in the north sea, surly that can’t be safe’ and you would be right, it’s not.
But every bit of safety precaution is always in place and is always being updated, tweaked and refined to make sure everybody is as safe as can be.
Like this.
This is a reinforced steel tunnel that runs the full length of the ship, it’s constantly pressurised so no gas or fumes can leak in and can withstand a huge blast.


Here it is from above.


Ok now you’re thinking, ‘the tunnel will get you from one end of the ship to the other but how will you know the place you are heading to is safe’ it’s because it’s behind a huge blast wall, this thing is solid, made out of steel and concrete and about 200mm thick, the concrete will absorb the initial blast and the steel will protect us while we have tea and biscuits and await rescue.


Foot Note:
Safety is taken very serious in the North Sea as in the rest of the world by the oil industry and every effort is taken to make sure people go home the same way they arrive.

Posted September 19, 2012 by rigmover in North Sea

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FPSO, Explained.   22 comments

I thought I would try and explain a bit about this FPSO I’m on. First of all the name FPSO= Floating-it’s a boat, Production-turning oil into usable oil, Storage-capable of storing up to 540,000 barrels of oil, Offloading-once oil has been refined it can then be offloaded to a tanker and taken to shore.
This FPSO is 260m long and 41m wide.

At the moment it is in the process of connecting a complex series of pipes and tubing to the turret which in turn is connected to oil and gas wells on the seabed. This first shot is of my navigation screen which clearly shows the FPSO in red and to the right the Fugro Symphony (FS), the 10 green lines coming from the centre are the anchors and all the other lines are the pipeline we will be connecting too, about 17 in total over 4-5 phases.


In this photo you can see the Symphony alongside with the ROV in the water and the large orange pipe getting lowered over the side, the ROV will connect this to another pipe on the seabed and the other end to us. This takes about 32 hours to complete.


This shot is of the turret, all anchor chains and the various piping, which transports oil to the FPSO, injects gas into reservoirs, or sends controls and signals to and fro, are connected up through the FPSO’s turret.
While the turret always stays facing in the same direction so that the various connections do not get entangled, the FPSO can rotate around it in order to always face into the wind. This ensures the stability of the entire FPSO and the piping system. Since the storm damage on February the 4th 2011 the repairs have cost an estimated 1 Billion dollars.

If anyone has any questions please write them on the back on a 10 pound note and send it to……not really, just ask and if I know it I’ll answer it, if I don’t I’ll find out.

Posted September 18, 2012 by rigmover in North Sea

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Maersk Maneuvers   18 comments

Back to work for todays shots, I like to mix it up a bit. This was the only bit of excitement I had yesterday, watching these two AHV’s change places.
The one on the right is the Maersk Lifter, the one on the left is the Maersk Laser, both are ‘L’ class AHV’s, hence the names. Now the Lifter wanted to go into port for a crew change, so they called the Laser, the Laser said he would replace the Lifter so the Lifter could leave. Now the Lifter is connected to our Bow line, its a safety measure until we are fully operational. So this is what they did. The Laser came in from the left of the Lifter, the Laser had to get close enough to throw a line to the Lifter, once the Lifter had the line from the Laser they attached the line to a wire, the wire was pulled over from the Lifter to the Laser with a winch, once that wire was on the Laser it was connected to the Bow line and the Lifter then let go of the Bow line and the Laser pulled it on deck and connected it to it work wire, the Lifter was then free and could go off for his crew change.
Hope that makes sense.

Moving in.


You can just make out the line the guy up on the gantry crane track is throwing.

Have a great weekend.

Posted September 14, 2012 by rigmover in North Sea

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Which Camera   13 comments

Which camera do I pack? In my job I have to travel light, with weight restrictions on planes and helicopters and depending on the time of year, and where in the world I’m going.
This job is in the North Sea, it’s colder than the Mediterranean, so I take warm clothes, there isn’t much to see, so I take my Point & shoot, I was wrong on both accounts.
This just sailed past our FPSO.

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a three-masted barque rigged sail training vessel owned and operated by the Statsraad Lehmkuhl Foundation. It is based in Bergen, Norway and contracted out for various purposes, including serving as a school ship for the Royal Norwegian Navy.
It was built in 1914 as a school training ship for the German merchant marine under the name Grossherzog Friedrich August. After the First World War the ship was taken as a prize by the United Kingdom and in 1921 the ship was bought by former cabinet minister Kristoffer Lehmkuhl (hence the name, which means “Cabinet Minister Lehmkuhl”). With the exception of the Second World War, when she was captured by German troops and called Westwärts, the ship has belonged to Bergens Skoleskib until it was donated to the Foundation in 1978.
In 2000, it was chartered by the German Navy while their Gorch Fock was overhauled.


Posted September 11, 2012 by rigmover in North Sea

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Symphony   16 comments

This is the Fugro Symphony, Fugro’s latest, purpose built ROV support vessel, Delivered in May 2011 it has been specifically designed to address the latest demands of the deep water Remote Intervention, Construction & Survey markets.
Powered by 4 x Rolls-Royce Engines. Each driving a Generator.
I also think it looks pretty cool.


It has two ROV’s onboard, here you can see the ROV hanger, the door is open and the ROV has been deployed.


This is of course a working vessel but the staff still need to be looked after, so here’s some of the luxuries onboard,
– 50 Seat Auditorium/Cinema,
– Excellent Leisure facilities with 2 Lounges, 2 Gymnasia, 2 Sauna, 2 Solaria, Internet Café, Network in all cabins
– Comfort & Vibration Class 3 High standard of outfitting in all lounges & public areas.
If only I didn’t get sea sick.

Posted September 10, 2012 by rigmover in North Sea

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Bird Life   5 comments

That was the shortest rigmove I’ve done in a long time, keeps the client happy though. It’s a great feeling to finish a job, all anchors down, in the correct position, and no one got hurt, well except from me when I got a paper cut from printing my expenses.
I’ll be on a helicopter soon flying back to Aberdeen, then a plane back to London, so thought it was only right to post this photo I took last year of this guy who could tell us a bit about flying. This was taken with my point and shoot, which just goes to prove the saying “the best camera is the camera you have with you”


Footnote: There has been a Helicopter crash in the North Sea, all 14 onboard are ok we think, the chopper I was suppose to be on is helping with the rescue effort.
Looks like all choppers have now been grounded.

Posted May 10, 2012 by rigmover in North Sea

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Flare   3 comments

I shot this as we moved a very large Jackup along side a platform, this is the flare burning off waste gas. Again this was tweaked with Snapseed on my iPad.

Posted April 12, 2012 by rigmover in North Sea

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