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From fossil fuel to wind energy Iv-Offshore & Energy Energy transition Technology Wind energy

New developments

Iv has been actively involved with engineering work for oil and gas extraction at sea since the 1970s. We began with steel calculations for offshore constructions, and a little later, progressed to the complete multidisciplinary engineering of production platforms. Since the turn of the century, our area of work has expanded to include the design of substations (platforms that collect and transform electricity generated by offshore wind turbines).

But how can ‘old’ knowledge be utilised to help with new developments? Which steps can still be taken? And should the redevelopment or even removal of old oil and gas platforms be carried out? Wim Bal, director Iv-Offshore & Energy, describes the recent developments within Iv-Offshore & Energy. Wybe Ligtvoet and Teye de Jong, who undertake ‘old’ and ‘new’ offshore, respectively, share more about their daily work.

Foundations for wind turbines

A more recent development is the design of foundations for wind turbines, says Wim: “Currently, monopiles are generally used for this, these are large tubes, having the same diameter as the mast, driven deep into the seabed. But now there is a desire to place larger and therefore heavier turbines in deeper water, but the technical limits have already been reached with this type of foundation. However, thanks to our extensive knowledge of offshore jackets, we are currently developing applications to also place wind turbines on jackets. Besides this, designs are also underway for floating wind turbine foundations.” 

Modifying and decommissioning

The energy transition is in full swing and there are still many platforms in the North Sea for the extraction and production of oil and gas (more for gas than for oil). Project Manager Wybe Ligtvoet, currently has his hands full with modifications to existing platforms with the aim to increase production and ensure the safety of systems. And not to mention; the decommissioning of the first platforms where production has ceased to continue. “We work with a team of around 30 specialists from different disciplines, mainly for Neptune Energy which has around 40 platforms in the North Sea. This number is falling due to decommissioning, last year four platforms were taken out of production."

Fitting and measuring

Old platforms were built according to old standards which means they are very compact. This can cause problems with available space. Wybe: “Due to the current increased safety requirements, a higher degree of safety is now required. There are now more valves present in certain pipe sections and this often causes complications during the design phase because of the lack of space. At the time, it was taken into account that additional compressor modules would need to be added in the future, but due to stricter emission requirements, gas engine models have also become larger. The challenge here is that these issues must be solved in a limited space. What has been a big help with this is that for the last three years, a 3D laser scanner has been mapping the area. The 3D images of the platform are used during the design phase. This allows us to check in advance exactly whether something will fit in the intended space. Previously, a specialist would have to go to the offshore platform and manually take measurements. This was, of course, much more expensive and less accurate.”

Borssele Alpha and Beta

Iv-Offshore & Energy in collaboration with HSM Offshore in Schiedam is working on the Borssele Alpha and Beta transformer substations. Besides the engineering, the design of the platform and the supporting construction (jacket), all related procurement is taken care of including the integration of the high-voltage components supplied by TenneT and all balance-of-plant materials.

Teye de Jong, Supply Chain Manager for the procurement department of Iv-Offshore & Energy is intensively involved with the procurement process and subcontract management of the Borssele Alpha and Beta transformer substations. “These are unmanned stations. Everything is designed in such a way that they will be able to operate for at least six months without maintenance. This means that all kinds of standards that guarantee quality must be met. Nothing is purchased without specification." 

Knowledge of the business

Teye: “We request quotes from different parties, in which price, delivery time and specifications are key. The contract conditions are negotiated when we are ready to purchase. The contract follow-up is very important. I ensure that what we have ordered is delivered within the stipulated period and according to the quality specified in the contract conditions. It’s essential to have a lot of knowledge about all sorts of things." Teye lists all the parties with which he is involved: "Engineering, project management, logistics, subcontractors, project controls, authorities, classification societies and suppliers. I also maintain close contact with the customer."

The extensive article can be found in our magazine.

Would you like to know more about the possibilities for your project? Fedor will be pleased to share ideas about your engineering issues. Contact him by email or call 088 943 3300.
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