The semisubmersibleKristin production platform is now being towed north from the Aker Kværner yard at Stord south of Bergen to the Statoil development in the Norwegian Sea.
Setting off on March 25, the unit will arrive on the Halten Bank in the early hours of March 29 with the assistance of five of the world's largest seagoing tugs.
The latter are all owned by Mærsk, and include one towing forward of the platform, one at each side, and one aft. Tug number five is serving as an escort.
"The platform was towed out of the Stord yard to the Bømla Fjord by four Buksér og Berging tugs on March 23," explains Geir Edvardsen, Statoil's marine operations manager. "A number of tests were carried out on such equipment as fire pumps and lifeboats before the green light was given for the journey north."
For safety reasons, the platform, which has no engines of its own, is being towed in the open sea and cannot be observed from land during its voyage.
After its arrival on the field, the floater will be moored with the aid of two tugs while the three others keep it in position.
Sixteen mooring lines are to be connected to the unit and tightened up. This job will be done by installing pairs of lines diagonally and should take four-five days.
"Once the platform is moored, it will be formally handed over to the operations organization," Edvardsen explains. "Six pre-installed risers lying on the seabed will be retrieved to the floater over a short period, and another six plus two umbilicals are due to be pulled in by mid-May."
Plans call for installation work to be completed by May 15, with the first gas due to arrive topside on July 1, and production scheduled to start on October 1.
The Kristin gas and condensate field is being developed with a total of 12 subsea-completed wells. These include seven which will be highly deviated and have an extended reach.
Located 4,500 m beneath the seabed, the reservoir features record pressure and temperature of 911 bar and 170° C respectively.