TECH SPOTLIGHT Challenging Offshore Repair Demands

Specialist Skills The business of offshore oil and gas extraction is beset with challenges, not least maintaining productivity and reliability in a harsh working environment whilst ensuring staff safety. So, delivering routine maintenance services requires a concerted team effort, such as that demonstrated by Sulzer when replacing a large motor from an oil production vessel in the North Sea.

Floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels are purpose- built for the offshore oil and gas industry to process hydrocarbons and act as temporary storage facilities. As such, they are complex structures with a great deal of equipment installed in close quarters.

It is, therefore, quite an effort to remove a component as large as a 10.7 MW motor so that it can be taken onshore for planned maintenance. This task alone requires some expert precision, while the refurbishment needs to be completed by a properly qualified service center that is approved to work on components that are Ex rated and operate in potentially explosive atmospheres.

Extending Service Life In this case, Sulzer was contracted to complete a motor change-out due to deterioration of the installed equipment, which had been in service for 10 years. The environment on the FPSO is one of the harshest possible – the offshore oil and gas industry. It is therefore essential that every component within the motor is carefully examined and repaired as required.

The motor, which was originally 46 August 2020

manufactured by Laurence Scott in 2007, powers a high-pressure export compressor. Sulzer is currently the authorized repairer for ATB Laurence Scott motors and offers its technical expertise and rapid response to all customers, especially those operating in the North Sea Oil & Gas facilities.

Specialist Training A complex lift plan needed to be put in place before the motor was loaded onto a waiting vessel and transported to Sulzer’s service center in Falkirk. A team of Sulzer’s engineers are specially trained for working in offshore environments and assist in disconnecting, removing and packaging the motor ready for transport.

The facilities within the Sulzer network, such as the in-house copper mill and high voltage (HV) coil manufacturing center, combined with expertise in the offshore sector, were some of the many reasons that the

company was selected. In this case, Sulzer was holding a spare motor in stock, and this would be installed to minimize downtime on the FPSO.

Close Cooperation The close technical cooperation between ATB LS and Sulzer ensures that customers receive the highest level of maintenance service with the support of the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). That included a complete set of new stator coils, which were manufactured in Birmingham by Sulzer’s high voltage coil shop, while the mechanical repairs were completed in Falkirk.

Once all of the work was complete, the rebuilt motor was comprehensively tested before a full factory acceptance test (FAT) was carried out by ATB LS. The test ensures that the correct procedures have been carried out and that the rebuilt motor meets OEM standards and can be reinstalled.

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