Eiffage Métal has taken a five-year lease of part of OGN’s fabrication yard in Wallsend on the River Tyne in northeast England. The company is using the site, which it is upgrading with a new crane, to support component construction for a wind farm offshore Aberdeen. In time, it could also include the location in its bids for new field developments in the North Sea, where the market looks set to pick up from next year onwards.
Since 2015, when Eiffage Métal delivered manifold/separator modules for the FPUAlima for Total’s Moho-Bilondo project off Republic of Congo, offshore oil and gas project activity globally has been quiet. Like other fabricators, the company has sought alternative work to sustain its principal yard in Fos-sur-Mer, southern France, and the facility currently has a full order book until early 2018.
Last month, it was due to complete fabrication of 1,000 metric tons (1,102 tons) of grillage and seafastening for various modules built in China for the Yamal LNG terminal on the northern Russian coast. The modules are being sent to Zeebrugge on the Belgian coast for onward transportation on a new vessel to the Arctic location. Eiffage Métal subsidiary Smulders, based in Antwerp, is managing the seafastening construction program - 5,000 metric tons (5,511 tons) in total - at different locations on behalf of client TechnipFMC. Altogether, Fos employed 250 personnel for its part of the campaign.
The yard has also been fabricating 56 anode cages that will be placed around the monopile foundations for the 336-MW Galloper wind farm project, 30 km (18.6 mi) off the Suffolk coast in eastern England. “The foundations are monopile type and this market is drawing on the experience of the oil and gas sector,” said Arnaud de Villepin, Managing Director of Eiffage Métal’s Industrial Division. “The cages were constructed in series – we built equipment specially designed to facilitate this process.”
Another new project for the yard is the wind farm in Aberdeen Bay off northeast Scotland. Eleven windmills will be installed on fixed jackets – Fos is fabricating the transition pieces between the jackets and the masts, while the site at OGN and Smulders’ yard in Hoboken, Belgium, are working on other structures for the jackets. “Offshore windmills are getting larger and larger to deliver higher power output,” de Villepin explained, “consequently the foundations and supports must also be stronger.”
As the water depths in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of southwest France are much deeper, future renewable projects here call for floating wind farms. The engineering team at Fos is presently performing basic engineering for a prototype floating wind farm based on a concept developed by PPI (Principal Power), an engineering company with bases in Berkeley in the US and Aix en Provence in southern France. The wind farm will be installed in waters near Perpignan, close to the border with Spain. This is a co-operative program with ENGIE – detail engineering should follow next year, with fabrication due to get under way in Fos in 2019-20 for four floaters, each with a total weight of around 1,800 metric tons (1,984 tons).
Offshore Nigeria, SNEPCO (Shell) is looking to revive the deepwater Bonga Southwest development. If requirements stipulate that the living quarters for the FPSO are built locally, Eiffage Métal may seek to participate in the tender as the first contractor to have undertaken fabrication of offshore platform living quarters in Nigeria. Another recently reactivated project the company is monitoring is Total’s Ikaka in the Nigeria’s OML 100 license, likely to feature a standalone, shallow-water wellhead platform.