150 METRES ABOVE THE SEA
The tight deadline of early March came as a result of Statoil wanting to quickly replace a flare tip on the Statfjord A platform using a helicopter.
“The challenge for our team of two scaffolders and eight rope access technicians was to build a scaffold on the tip of the flare stack just over 150 metres above sea level. Creating an access route from the platform deck to the end of the flare stack was probably the most complex aspect of the job,” says Pål Gundersen, technical supervisor of the RAT division.
Building a steep ladder to the flare was deemed to be an unsuitable and time-consuming ergonomic solution. The Beerenberg team solved the access challenge with a particular rigging method, lifting equipment and a battery-driven power ascender. The access route from the platform deck to the flare tip was 140 metres long and worked well.
Pål Gundersen is very pleased with the way in which the team solved the challenge.
“The job was completed to perfection in line with the plans and quicker than we expected!” Thorough planning and a professional operation on board the platform were the elements that made this a success story, according to Gundersen.
The weather is a tricky variable at sea, and in early March aggressive low pressures began rolling in over the North Sea at high speeds. The weather conditions were particularly bad on 7–8 March. There were hurricane force winds on the coast off Stad, and weather stations in Hordaland measured 120 mm of precipitation over a 24-hour period. The team on board Statfjord C had to suspend work when the weather was at its worst.
“The winds were just too strong for a couple of days. Other than that things went very well,” says Pål Gundersen.