Largest project
in the North Sea

Up till 2022 the Danish sector of the North Sea will witness a re-development project of a till now unseen size. The DKK 21 billion investment will represent a engineering feat far beyond the usual ones

13 Eiffel towers. That is the amount of steel to be moved around in the North Sea waters during the Tyra Redevelopment project soon to start up. The project will ensure that an instrumental part of the Danish infrastructure in the North Sea will remain operational, even if the underlying chalk reservoir has shrunk as hydrocarbons have been extracted from it. Over a period of 30 years the shrinkage has amounted to some five meters, which in fact means that the gap from the water level to the bottom of the constructions has been significantly diminished, obviously presenting safety risk.

Consequently, the future of the field was at stake, and in all respects it was quite a sizeable Christmas present, when in December last year the decision on re-constructing the installation officially was taken by the DUC and its partners in Danish Underground Consortium. At the same time it was the ultimate go-ahead of the first major decommissioning ever carried out by Maersk Oil in Denmark before Total is expected to take over the activities in the North Sea, so, naturally, it required thorough and detailed planning. 

”Overall seen it was a matter of approving launching of the largest project in the history of the Danish sector of the North Sea. And what makes it unique is that it involves components we normally do not see together. There will be a major decommissioning phase during which we shall remove steel corresponding to seven Eiffel towers, before we shall re-establish an infrastructure of more or less the same volume. We started up the preparations in 2012 as it really requires meticulous planning,” explains Head of Tyra Redevelopment, Morten Hesselager Pedersen, who estimates that some 1,5 million manhours shall be required offshore. According to plans the proper process will start up this year by pipeline installations enabling oil export during the construction period simultaneously to preparations for a shut-in and the subsequent redevelopment.

”Extremely complex planning has been needed for the integrated plan partly to ensure handling the right elements at the right time and at the same time avoiding everything to  take place at the same time,” states Morten Hesselager explaining the historical project which according to schedule in 2022 will result in first production from the new facilities.

The key to success

Morten Hesselager cannot hide that like any engineer he is looking forward to the enormous challenge this project will represent to any engineer. Among the many things to consider is to re-use of the existing plant whenever possible as well as hitting the right timing when going along with the project.

”When we started up the planning we stated the principle that all that could be re-used  should be re-used. As an example we will re-use the pipelines and jacket foundations of the six wellheads and the riserplatforms. However, these foundations are to be made 13 meters higher which will take place as an integrated part of the installation of the new topsides (the platforms proper). Thus, in 2020 in principle we shall remove the existing topsides while we have new topsides waiting to be installed right away lying ready on supply barges. This operation shall be repeated six times, and that will be one of the most critical moments of the operations,” states Morten Hesselager who is pointing at the installation of new process modules in the summer of 2021 being defining 1 jobs of the total project.

”We shall be switched on from the very day we are awarding contracts, and we shall cooperate with our sub-contrctors. To me, the key to succes is that we shall proactively maintain focus on which elements and phases are critical along the project, and what may go wrong so that we always have a ”Plan B” in our pocket. The key to success is not only our ability to handle simultaneous operations, but also to handle them in the right way.

It is a question of full integration, where each activity is influencing the other ones,” concludes Morten Hesselager who is fully aware that it requires management and disciplin to establish a fully integrated project team.

Integration of new technology

One of the areas where the new infrastructure will differ from the existing one is the use of wireless technology. Here the installation operation will present a cherished opportunity for a dramatic upgrading of all systems. That will influence daily work on the platforms but also wear off on the jobs to be performed onshore.

”The new accomodation platform will demonstrate that  we go for creating a proper home for our collegues working in the North Sea, so we shall work in close cooperation with the architects and the offshore crews. We have an integrated learning process from the last 30 years which we shall include in our design, so we shall build the accomodation focusing on a good working climate, bright and attractive cabins and outside areas. On the process platform we shall install wireless technology where more than 100,000 instruments are monitoring the plant and its key installations. In that way we shall ensure a constant control of how we operate – a benefit we do not have today. The measuring equipment will report to the control room onshore  and to experts supporting us and taking the more long-term decisions in order to let the personnel offshore focus more directly on daily operations. Operationally seen it will be a question of optimizing both safety and operations as we will far from perform the same standard routine jobs out there. We shall be more efficient and  thereby reduce costs. I actually expect us to be able to employ this technology to the advantage of all parameters,” explains the man responsible for the project which  will be of decisive importance to the Danish offshore activities in the North Sea.

Several thousand jobs

Investing  DKK 21 billion is ensuring a continuation of the production of oil and not least gas for a long succession of years as the Tyra field is the hub through which more than 90% of the Danish production of gas is being piped. According to Morten Hesselager, who for the next four years will be tasked with handling the enormous puzzle, its significance cannot be underestimated.

”Re-establishing the facilities is absolutely critical to the supply of gas to Denmark and we expect the operation to secure several thousand jobs locally.  So in this way the commercial life of Esbjerg can expect an attractive turn-over for the next 25 years,” concludes Morten Hesselager Pedersen.                   

Re-establishing the facilities is
critical to the
supply of gas to Denmark and we
expect the
operation to
secure several thousand jobs

The key to success is not only our ability to handle simultaneous operations, but also to handle them in the right way.

It is a question of full integration, where each activity is influencing the other ones


Timeline for Tyra Future (Source: Maersk Oil)

/  End 2017: Final investment decision and award of main contracts.

/  2017-2019: Preparation for shut-in and redevelopment.

/  Nov 2019: Expected shut-in of production

/  2020: Wellheads and riser platforms replaced and wells extended

/  2020: Removal of existing process and accomodation topsides.

/  2021: Installation of new processing center and accomodation platform.

/  2022: First production from the new Tyra facilities.

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