Triple record joy for Forgemasters

One of the world's largest cast nodes undergoing heat treatment at Sheffield Forgemasters.
One of the world's largest cast nodes undergoing heat treatment at Sheffield Forgemasters.
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Sheffield Forgemasters has scored a triple record-breaking contract win.

The Brightside Lane steel and engineering group’s specialist offshore design and engineering division, Vulcan SFM, has won its largest-ever contract to make the largest-ever cast steel nodes for the largest-ever ‘Spar’ gas production platform.

Vulcan will design and supply 12 cast nodes for the platform, which will be the first Spar platform to operate in the Norwegian Sea.

The nodes will form fatigue resistant joints connecting the platform’s main leg to bracing tubes which make up the lower section of the platform. The largest will weigh 117 tonnes - seven tonnes more than the largest nodes made so far.

Vulcan design director Paul Mockford said: “The castings will be made in a specially developed and proven grade of steel offering a balance of strength, toughness and weldability.

“The strength is developed through heat treatment involving water quenching and these are the biggest castings we have ever quenched.

“Like all the cast nodes we have designed and supplied over the past 30 years, these castings will need to withstand immense stresses when in use. Vulcan SFM has a unique track record in the supply of this type of component.”

Spar platforms comprise a large diameter, weighted cylinder, which is tethered to the sea bed and supports the production platform.

“The Aasta Hansteen Spar is the largest diameter Spar which has ever been built, with a diameter of 50 metres and a total hull length of 198 meters, most of which is below the surface of the sea,” said Mr Mockford.

“With water depths of more than 4,200 feet, this is a deep water application and floating platforms are the only real option at these depths.”

Forgemasters is carrying out the contract on behalf of Hyundai and Technip, a world leader in the manufacture of Spars.

The platform will be operated by Statoil ASA on behalf of partners OMV, ConocoPhillips and Statoil and the gas it produces will be sent by pipeline to Norway’s Nyhamna gas plant.