During the last weekend in June the Gina Krog jacket was installed in the North Sea and the top floors of the living quarters were lifted into position at Stord – two major operations carried out as planned and without any incidents.
Friday 19 June, late afternoon: The barge carrying the Gina Krog jacket leaves the Hereema Fabrications yard in Vlissingen, manoeuvred by four tugboats into practically open waters.
The Fairmount Expedition tug takes over and steers to sea with the barge in tow. The Hermod heavy-lift vessel heads for the same location in the North Sea, where it will install the jacket on the seabed.
The following day the Boa Odin tug leaves the Aluship yard in Gdansk, Poland, towing a barge carrying the top floors of the Gina Krog living quarters. Course: Leirvik, Stord.
Having safely passed the windy southwestern coast of Norway they anchored at Apply Leirvik on Wednesday afternoon. There the first section of the living quarters constructed at Stord was waiting for the top module from Poland. The Uglen heavy-lift vessel has arrived at the island’s main port, ready for the lifting operation.
On Friday 26 June, almost precisely one week after the jacket left the shipyard in the Netherlands, the barge is tilted by trimming the ballast.
Weighing more than 17,000 tonnes including rigging and floatation tanks, the huge jacket is sliding slowly and under control into the sea, where it is left floating horizontally in the water.
Personnel are being transported to the jacket to rig up for the lifting operation. Around 01.00 Hermod has reached its lifting position and at 03.25 the huge jacket legs are safely installed on the seabed in their correct positions.
“The operation was successful and went according to plan and without any incidents,” says Rune Danielsen, head of transport and installation in the Gina Krog project.
The next morning the offshore rigging equipment is removed and they start preparing the removal of the floatation tanks. They will be transported to shore on the jacket-carrying barge.
“This operation has been planned for 2.5 years, and we had to change to a different heavy-lift vessel in the process. It is wonderful to see the jacket installed on the seabed, where it will remain for several decades,” says Danielsen.
During the next days the Hermod heavy-lift vessel drove the platform’s 18 piles, each measuring more than 90 metres, into the seabed, and will now install the 265-tonne predrilling module before it heads to new heavy lifts.
Saturday morning at Stord: A few hours after the jacket was safely installed in the North Sea the module lifting is being prepared at Stord.
Uglen is ready for installing the top floors of the living quarters constructed at Stord. The place is buzzing with rigging activities and preparations.
At 09.30 the wire ropes are under tension and after a while the 212-tonne module is hanging in the air.
Uglen makes a small turn with the Poland module before it places it safely on top of the Stord module at 13.30. The lifting hooks are disconnected – Uglen has finished its job.
“The lifting operation went according to plan and without any incidents. The module from Poland was sprayed with seawater from the waves during the voyage and will be flushed with freshwater before we continue the completion and fitting of the living quarters,” says Bj?rn Iversen, project leader for the Gina Krog living quarter.
The next major milestone will be to jack up the whole module and install the lifeboat suspension system from Harding in Rosendal.
Project manager for the Gina Krog facility development, Vidar Martin Birkeland, has followed the project from South Korea, where the topsides are under construction.
“It is thrilling to pass two major milestones at the same time, but that is how it is in the world of projects. It is great fun when everything goes well as it did here, proving that we have clever people who have planned this operations well,” says Birkeland.
And there will be more milestones to pass this summer. When the jacket is properly piled into the seabed and the predrilling module is installed, the Maersk Integrator drilling rig will arrive. It is a completely new drilling rig, delivered from Singapore earlier this year.
“Arriving at the field around the middle of July, the rig will prepare for drilling of the first production well at the Gina Krog field. This year is very exciting to Gina Krog, and the activity is so high that we are spending NOK 1 million per hour, day and night, during the whole year,” concludes Jan Einar Malmin, vice president of Gina Krog field development.