Italy Big prizes at stake overseas for Italian super yards

Living module for Amelia B platform, supplied by Franzisella. Agip Kitina template at Intermare Sarda's Arbatax yard. Serept Ashtart jacket at Intermare Sarda yard in Sardinia. Table: Key 1995 offshore work secured by Italian fabrication yards. Italy's fabricators are viewed by some outsiders as hanging on Agip's coattails. Most of these outsiders are from UK or Norwegian construction groups which have done quite well in their own back yards.

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Smaller fabricators set sights on new wave of Adriatic developments

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Living module for Amelia B platform, supplied by Franzisella.


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Agip Kitina template at Intermare Sarda's Arbatax yard.


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Serept Ashtart jacket at Intermare Sarda yard in Sardinia.


Italy's fabricators are viewed by some outsiders as hanging on Agip's coattails. Most of these outsiders are from UK or Norwegian construction groups which have done quite well in their own back yards.

However, times actually changed a while back. Medium-size to large yards in Italy are among the most internationally oriented, winning work in North America, Africa and the North Sea.

The smaller yards rely more on Mediterranean schemes for their livelihood, but even they are having to look farther afield for work now that Agip, like other state oil concerns, is putting work packages out to international tender under new European Union regulations.

Judy progress

One yard equipped to handle the biggest structures is Consorzio Italoffshore's 220,000sq m site in Punta Cugno, Sicily. Here the finishing touches were recently applied to the 8,000 ton, 96 metre jacket for Phillips' UK Judy development.

The jacket was due to be seafastened to a barge at the yard in April for onward passage to Phillips' J-block this month. Fabrication took 17 months: "It was a fixed lumpsum price," says Consorzio's marketing and sales director Alberto Caleca. "We didn't exceed the budget, so Phillips is happy."

Remaining offshore work for the company this year is currently two small gas platforms, 1,500t each - Aida A and Donatella A - for Agip's multi-field Alto Adriatico development. But the yard needs larger jobs to keep it occupied, one of which might come from the UK North Sea.

"We are tendering for Chevron/Conoco's Britannia Field," says Caleca, "mainly the jacket, piles and various ancillaries." Consorzio also hopes to be on the tender list for British Gas' Armada jacket. BP's multi-field ETAP development is also set to be sanctioned this summer, but here Caleca hopes realistically only for subcontract work.

Last year a large new fabrication shop was completed at Punta Cugno. This has pushed rolling capacity up to four metres diameter, and steel wall thickness capability up to 120mm. A furnace has also been built for preheat, postheat and distension of nodes and tubulars.

Off Africa, Consorzio is tendering for Chevron Angola's Cabinda jacket. And for the future it is studying Egypt and Libya's oil and gas export plans. Phase 2 of Agip's Bouri Field in Libya, for instance, will require a 200 metre jacket: the tender will probably be issued next year. According to Caleca, Spain's Dragados and Belleli are the only other Mediterranean yards equipped to handle such work.

Although floaters are the "in" production method in northwest Europe, there are no plans to adapt Punta Cugno for tanker conversions. However, Consorzio is interested in building tension legs for TLPs. "We have most of the design capability," says Caleca.

Repeat Gulf order

Belleli's yard in Taranto is another equipped to handle large offshore structures. This year it won an order for the 15,400t TLP steel hull for Shell's Ram-Powell Field in the Gulf of Mexico. This follows a similar order from Shell for the Mars Field.

The Mars TLP will be a four-column structure, with each column 20.3 meters in diameter, connected by four rectangular section pontoons. It has overall dimensions of 81.3 x 81.3 x 49.4 meters. Prefabrication started in December 1993, with assembly commencing April 1994. It will be loaded onto a barge, taken out to the deepwater site and picked up for the dry tow to the US Gulf. The TLP will be located in 2,933ft of water.

Ram-Powell is similar to the Mars structure, but will include certain design refinements. It will be stationed in 3,218ft of water, with production scheduled for late 1997.

Belleli is also due to deliver shortly the mud and utility modules for the Hibernia development off Newfoundland. The client requested a delay from the original due delivery date of March 1995 to fit in with the delivery of other modules. They will be skid-loaded from the quayside onto a Mighty Servant vessel.

Serept's Ashtart Field jacket, piles and conductors (total weight 4,700 tons) were due to sail in March from Intermare Sarda's yard in Arbatax, Sardinia to their new home in the Gulf of Gabes, Tunisia. The yard's previous completed offshore job was the oil process and utility topsides modules (1,200t) for Elf Congo's Tchibouela Field.

N'Kossa

At Ravenna on the Adriatic coast, Rosetti Marino operates an 80,000sq m yard with a 500m long quay, capable of building and delivering jackets, decks and modules weighing over 10,000 tons. It operates its own deck barge, with a capacity of 6,000t, but can also rent other vessels.

Under a joint venture with Bouygues Offshore, Rosetti is close to completing the M3 power generation module and M4 compression module for Elf Congo's N'Kossa floating production platform. These modules, respectively 4,200 and 5,000 tons, are due for delivery in July.

Rosetti's other main job currently is the B production platform for Agip's Daria Field in the Adriatic. The EPC contract calls for a four-leg jacket with integrated deck, living modules, piles and bridge. Total weight is 2,750 tons, with delivery again due in July.

Daria is located 30km east of Fano in 55m water depth. The B platform is linked by a 50m bridge (also built by Rosetti) to the four-well A drilling platform. This platform scenario was chosen to optimise time and cost of the project, allowing early production.

The drilling platform is already operating, having been installed in June last year. Daria B will be installed this August, producing first gas in September or October. Gas will be piped to a treatment plant at Fano.

For this EPC project, Rosetti is in fact head of an association of companies (ATI) which has worked closely with Agip in Milan to realize all aspects of the project. ATI's accurate time planning, contractual agreements with suppliers and just-in-time deliveries of equipment have helped save an estimated 20% on the original budget for Daria B.

Heliport concept

Also in Ravenna, Gruppo Benelli has had an offshore division since 1990 building large mechanical constructions for the offshore sector. The fabrication yard covers an area of over 110,000sq m, with a 270m long quay stretching out into water 7.5m deep.

Current work includes a 350t process module and 400t heliport module for the Garibaldi gasfield development, 100 miles offshore Ancona. The steel heliport module is a new concept of living quarters, according to Roberto Giardini of Gruppo Benelli's commercial department.

It contains accommodation cabins, which can be removed, for the ten or so maintenance staff that will visit the not normally manned platform every two weeks.

For Agip's Luna Field nearer Sicily, Gruppo Benelli has been revamping an old platform which has been producing oil since the 1970s. This type of exercise is a first for Agip, according to Giardini. His company has been refurbishing the topsides, installing a new electricity generating and distribution system, with work due to finish late June.

Like the other yards in the Ravenna area, the Gruppo is hopeful of other work for the Alto Adriatico development: specifically it is bidding for the topsides for the Aida A and T platforms and also Donatella A and B. Awards are due to be made this month. Looking much further east, the Gruppo is in line for its first job in Russia, having been invited to bid to supply 54 prefabricated cabins for a gas pipeline project in Siberia.

Franzisella designs and builds offshore living quarters - either in its own workshop in Casciago, northern Italy, or at the premises of fellow fabricators like Intermare Sarda.

Up until last month it was assembling the 155 tons carbon steel LQ for the Daria B platform at Rosetti Marino's yard in Ravenna. The LQ contains just six double cabins with a kitchen, office and sick bay on top, and electrical and emergency power equipment on the lower level.

Franzisella is also designing and building outfitting for the N'Kossa modules at Rosetti's yard, as well as cabins for Garibaldi D, Amelia B, Barbara C and H platforms. Currently it is bidding for work on Aida A and Donatella, and also the six-deck LQ for Agip's Kitina development off Congo.

"If we get Kitina," says Franzisella's Marco Arighi, "it would be a new concept for us, performing the total design." Kitina's LQ is expected to weigh 600 tons.

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