Forgemasters wins major offshore contract with Shell

Sheffield Forgemasters has won a multi-million pound contract with Shell for offshore castings for an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, 14th December 2017, 3:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th December 2017, 3:15 pm
Huge ladles of 90 tonnes of molten steel in meltshop at Forgemasters.

The project will see the company’s offshore oil and gas specialist, Vulcan SFM, deliver 10 ‘riser basket’ components weighing 11.5 tonnes each for a semi-submersible platform for Shell’s Vito development.

It comes after a contract win earlier this year with Samsung Heavy Industries for the first offshore project since oil and gas markets crashed two years ago.

Paul Mockford, design director at Vulcan SFM, said: “These two contracts are the first signs of any return to offshore work after a complete cessation of new oil and gas developments worldwide when the price of oil plummeted in 2015.

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“We have been fortunate that our expertise in the field of supply to offshore projects, coupled with our long-term relationships with the major oil companies including Shell, helped us into a prime position to secure contracts on the first two projects commissioned requiring offshore platforms in more than two years.

“To win successive contracts of this nature, in what has become a very hungry supply chain due to an absence of offshore developments, is no small feat and is underpinned by our quality of manufacture and our unique expertise and experience in this market.

“Although it is far too early to speculate that the offshore oil and gas market is making any kind of quantitive return, the commencement of operations in the Gulf of Mexico are very encouraging developments, as is the increase in oil prices as they approach 60 USD per barrel.”

Vulcan SFM will cast the riser baskets at Sheffield Forgemasters’ Brightside Lane foundry. They will be attached to the hull of the platform, in this case a semi-submersible, to support pipes coming up from the sea-bed.

Paul Mockford added: “The components we will supply are open cylinders with an internal profile which provides a bearing surface to directly support the riser.”

The Vito platform is a planned 24,000-tonne production unit. Fabrication of the platform has yet to be awarded but Shell has already started securing suppliers for crucial components.

Sheffield Forgemasters started manufacture of the components for Shell in August and the completion is expected by June 2018. The company has a long history of supply into offshore oil and gas exploration and has pioneered many designs and materials, such as cast steel nodes and tethering components, which are used in oil and gas fields around the world.

Vito’s 2009 discovery well was opened in the Gulf of Mexico’s Mississippi Canyon Block 984 at a depth of more than 4,000 feet of water and could hold in excess of 300 million barrels of oil.

Shell is the operator of Vito with and is partnered by Norway’s Statoil on the project.