Strainstall Supply Load Pins for Shell Stones Project

Posted by Michelle Howard
Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Strainstall UK Limited has been selected to work alongside SBM offshore on the prestigious Shell Stones project, which is an ultra-deep Oil and Gas development in the Gulf of Mexico and is currently the deepest production facility in the world at approximately 2,900 meters.

The project involves the use of an FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Off loading) which has a forward mounted turret with a disconnectable buoy (Buoyant Turret Mooring or BTM) allowing it to weathervane in normal conditions and disconnect from the FPSO upon the approach of a hurricane so that the FPSO can sail to a safer area.

The unique BTM design required six specially designed load pins to measure the forces between the Buoy and the FPSO as they are an integral component of the detachable buoy system, and a critical element to ensure the safety of the FPSO and BTM. A custom design was required to meet SBM’s requirements and to incorporate the unique features, and Strainstall, with over 40 years experience in designing special application load pins, were ideally placed to design and manufacture such a loadpin.

In addition to the design, manufacture and testing of the load pin a comprehensive documentation package was specified by SBM, as is customary for offshore projects. Again Strainstall are ideally placed to provide such documentation, having over 30 years experience of providing specific packages for a wide variety of industries including offshore oil and gas, marine, industrial, aerospace and nuclear.

The challenging technical requirements of the pin meant Strainstall were contracted to produce an unusual shaped design which was ATEX and IECEx certified with internal amplifiers to monitor the clamping forces between the vessel and the detachable buoy. Apart from component loadcells and instrumentation,

Strainstall also design and manufacture turnkey instrumentation packages for a wide variety of applications including Tendon and Riser Load Monitoring Systems, Winch and Mooring Chain Monitoring and Control, Environmental Monitoring, Integrated Marine Management Systems for FPSOs and Offshore Structures, and Berth Management Systems for onshore oil and gas terminals. All mechanical, electrical and electronic, and software design is performed in house to ensure best practice under Strainstall’s ISO EN900 accreditation, and the company also has in-house accredited personnel for the design, manufacture and installation of Hazardous Area equipment. The company also designs and manufactures a wide range of Quick Release Mooring Hooks for both onshore and offshore use.

Stones will be Shell’s first FPSO in the Gulf of Mexico but Shell is already field operator for seven producing FPSOs globally. This includes at the Parquedas Conchas (BC-10) project in Brazil, in partnership with Petrobras and ONGC.
An FPSO design was selected to safely develop and produce the Stones ultra deep-water field.

This concept design can handle a relative lack of infrastructure, a complex seabed, and unique reservoir properties. Tankers will transport oil from the Stones FPSO to US refineries, and gas will be transported by pipeline. SBM Offshore provides floating production solutions to the offshore energy industry, over the full product life-cycle. The Company is market leading in leased floating production systems with multiple units currently in operation, and has unrivalled operational experience in this field.

The company’s main activities are the design, supply, installation and operation of Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels. These are either owned and operated by SBM Offshore and leased to its clients or supplied on a turnkey sale basis.


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