Forging skills will boost oil industry

Mick Dickinson, foundry finishing area foreman with the Talisman deck lift points at Vulcan SFM.
Mick Dickinson, foundry finishing area foreman with the Talisman deck lift points at Vulcan SFM.
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Offshore technology and project management specialist Vulcan SFM has completed the first part of a multimillion pound contract for a new North Sea oil rig.

The Sheffield Forgemasters’ subsidiary is designing and manufacturing high-strength, fatigue-resistant, safety-critical castings called pad eyes and trunnion nodes.

The castings will connect the main leg and bracing tubes of a 5,400 tonne structure, known as a ‘jacket’ that will support the rig’s 10,000 tonne deck.

The two 27 tonne pad eyes and two 55 tonne nodes will allow the jacket to be lifted, rotated and secured to the sea bed in the Montrose/Arbroath field, 130 miles east of Aberdeen.

Vulcan is working on behalf of Offshore Group Newcastle, which has won a £50 million contract to design and fabricate the jacket.

The Sheffield firm has also won a separate contract from Talisman Sinopec Energy UK for the same rig.

The second contract involves designing an manufacturing four deck lifting points, weighing up to 38 tonnes, forged pins and cast sheaths that will be used to lift the deck and install it on top of the jacket.

The company will also supply a 10 tonne steel joint for the platform’s flare boom – a steel projection that supports a burner for safely flaring off excess gas from the well.

Vulcan SFM design director, Paul Mockford, said: “We are the world experts in cast nodes. No other company in the world has our experience and knowledge of designing and manufacturing these complex safety-critical castings.

“Reliability and quality is critical in these situations and it is our unique track which means clients come to us for these components. These castings form an integral part of the structure and will need to function for the life of the structure in extremely harsh operating conditions.

“The castings for this project are critical to the installation and in-service structural integrity of both the jacket and the deck.”

The new rig is part of Talisman’s MonArb Hub, which is expected to handle 150 million cubic feet of gas and 30,000 barrels of oil each day.