As Culzean passes its halfway mark,

2017 is a critical year for the project.

So how are things progressing?

“Across the board we’re in a great place,” says Martin Uruqhart, Culzean Project Director. “The project is comfortably on schedule, we’ve developed effective relationships with our suppliers and we’re doing this safely.”


Claus Vissing-Jorgensen, Deputy Project Director and Facilities Manager, continues: “This year is virtually make or break for us, so it’s great to see that we’re on schedule. There is a lot of activity – both onshore and offshore.”


Installing the jackets

During July, the final two Culzean jackets – the steel frames supporting the central processing facilities (CPF) and the utilities and living quarters (ULQ) – will be installed by the largest crane vessel in the world, Thialf.

“We’ll install them using a tried and tested lift method,” says Mike Shirron, Deputy Culzean Facilities Manager. “They’ll be towed horizontally to the Culzean field on barges, lifted by the Thialf and upended into the sea. An advanced GPS system will help steer them into the correct spot, and once they’re set-down, piling operations will begin: a pile is placed in each corner and driven 50 to 55m into the seabed using a hydraulic hammer and then secured using grout.”


“From the design phase we’ve been concerned with future proofing the Culzean installation – these jackets will have a design life of over 40 years, much higher than a typical jacket.”

The floating, storage and offloading (FSO) vessel “Ailsa” is coming together at the shipyard in Singapore. Ailsa will be able to store the equivalent of over 430,000 barrels of oil.

Stacking the topsides

“Culzean’s topsides are made up of a number of different decks,” says Knud Thalund, Site Manager. “Each deck can weigh up to 1,000 tonnes so they were constructed at ground level. They were then stacked - this is called the pancake method.”


The stacking operation was completed in May. “It’s extremely rewarding to see our designs come to life,” says Knud, “and when you consider the sheer scale of the structures involved, it’s a huge achievement to complete this safely.”


Stuart McAuley, Culzean Engineering Manager, says that the next big challenge is installing the more intricate equipment. “We’re installing 28,000 pipe spools and 900km of cabling. There will be thousands of people and up to 10 cranes on site every day.”


FSO Ailsa starts to look ship shape

FSO Ailsa is taking shape across six different yards in Singapore and Indonesia.

“We’ve laid the blocks of FSO Ailsa’s hull so you can now see

the traditional ship shape,” explains Lars Banke, Site and Interface Manager. “We’ve erected the moon pool in which the turret will be installed and the first of the two 2,500 tonne ‘mega-blocks’ which will house the engine rooms. Once the second mega-block has been erected, the hull construction is near completion.”


The next step is the painting and waterproofing to prepare the vessel to be floated by flooding the dock at the end of August.


Laying the pipeline

In the UK North Sea, the 52km of pipework required to transport gas produced from Culzean to the CATS pipeline has been laid, along with the 3.6km pipeline to export condensate to the FSO Ailsa. Ailsa’s anchors and other subsea structures will be installed in the summer.

“A highlight of this work was the unexpected find of a World War II bomb along the survey route,” says Steve Michie, Culzean SURF & FSO Delivery Manager. “The bomb was safely detonated just 14 days after discovery to the satisfaction of all our stakeholders, whilst also respecting marine life and the environment.”

Culzean’s jackets complete