Pioneering Spirit Removes Valhall QP Topsides
Allseas‘ Pioneering Spirit has safely removed the QP accommodation platform topsides and connecting bridge from the Aker BP-operated Valhall field in the southern Norwegian North Sea. Weighing only 3800 t, the QP topsides is the lightest that Allseas’ record-breaking vessel has lifted to date. The successful lift further demonstrated the workability and versatility of the world’s largest construction vessel.
Executed in the morning of Friday 14 June, the single-lift operation took 2 hours to complete from positioning Pioneering Spirit around the platform to the moment of the lift. The actual “fast lift” of the topsides took only 9 seconds. The 109 t bridge connecting the QP topsides to the neighbouring drilling platform was removed using one of the vessel’s cranes on Tuesday 11 June.
Removal of the QP topsides is the first job for Pioneering Spirit under the frame agreement which Allseas signed with Aker BP in 2017 to provide transport, installation and removal services for the Valhall oil field. The Valhall complex is located approximately 280 km off the Norwegian coast and comprises six steel, bridge-connected platforms that stand in 70 m of water. The QP topsides is the first of the original structures to be removed from the field centre as a key part of the modernising of the Valhall area.
The lift successfully concludes two years of engineering, planning and pre-lift preparations, which ended last month with the installation of lift rigging for the bridge and cutting of the platform legs. The castellated cut shape, combined with pre-installed custom made leg restraints, prevented any possible topsides movement prior to the lift.
The QP topsides and bridge have since been sea-fastened on board Pioneering Spirit for transport to the Kvaerner AS disposal yard in Norway. The topsides will be transferred to a cargo barge at a sheltered location close to the yard for load-in to the quay for dismantling. The bridge, meanwhile, will be crane-lifted directly onto the quayside.
Pioneering Spirit will return to the North Sea to remove the 24,800 t Brent Bravo topsides for Shell UK.