LONDON, June 28 -- The first of three riser towers at TotalFinaElf SA's giant Girassol development off West Africa was installed in a "milestone" operation completed Monday by Alto Mar Girassol, the Bouygues Offshore SA and Stolt Offshore SA joint venture contracted to handled the field's subsea flowlines, risers, and umbilicals.
The riser tower, a 1,300 m long bundle of production, injection, and other flowlines encased in syntactic foam, was transported to the field on Angola's Block 14 by subsurface tow, then uprighted before being connected to its anchored base, said Bouygues.
"This operation represented a major technological challenge with today's achievement being a world first in the development of deepwater hydrocarbon fields," said the French contractor. Installation of the two remaining towers will take place "in the near future," it added.
The trio of riser towers will be connected to the east side of the development's floating production, storage, and offloading vessel, built by Bouygues and Stolt's Mar Profundo Girassol JV, once it arrives on the field in early July.
Angolan state-owned oil company Sonangol is concessionary of the block, where the partners are operator TotalFinaElf with 40%, ExxonMobil Corp. 20%, BP PLC 16.67%, Statoil AS 13.33%, and Norsk Hydro AS 10%.
Meanwhile, Stolt Tuesday explained a net loss during the second quarter of $6.3 million as mainly the result of "higher than expected" costs on fabrication for the Girassol project at its Lobito yard in Angola.
For the 6 months ending May 31, the company reported a net loss of $21.8 million, compared with a net loss of $32.4 million for the same period last year.
"The results for the quarter are within the guidance given when we reported the first quarter. Utilization of our heavy construction ships remained high. The loss for the quarter reflects low levels of utilization of some of barges and shallow water fleet. The main contributor to the loss was higher than expected costs on fabrication for the Girassol project at our Lobito yard in Angola," said company CEO Bernard Vossier.
He said, "Progress at the start of the installation program was slower than anticipated for a number of reasons, some of which are the subject of variation orders; however, this is now running according to plan. Fabrication work for this project in our Lobito yard was completed on time but at higher costs than were anticipated."