Technip bidding on Hebron topsides

Oil and gas

Moira Baird mbaird@thetelegram.com
Published on March 18, 2010
Sam Allen, president of Technip Canada, is shown with a section of an umbilical line used to control oil wells on the seabed. Last year, the company installed umbilicals and other equipment offshore at North Amethyst, the first expansion of the White Rose oilfield. - Photo by Moira Baird/The Telegram

It's been almost 13 years since Technip Canada Ltd. landed in St. John's, working steadily on all three offshore oilfields on the Grand Banks.

The company designs, fabricates and installs equipment on the seabed used to pump crude from offshore oilfelds.

It's been almost 13 years since Technip Canada Ltd. landed in St. John's, working steadily on all three offshore oilfields on the Grand Banks.

The company designs, fabricates and installs equipment on the seabed used to pump crude from offshore oilfelds.

"We've worked on every offshore project in Atlantic Canada," said Sam Allen, president of Technip Canada.

In recent years, the company has also exported its Newfoundland expertise in subsea equipment to other parts of the world. Allen said the company's St. John's office has worked on more than 40 international projects in the last four years.

Now, it's looking to import the international experience of its parent company, Paris-based Technip Group, in building and installing topsides for offshore production platforms.

The big job on the horizon is the 34,000-tonne steel topsides for the Hebron project.

The topsides modules house the drilling equipment, production equipment and living quarters that sit on top of the concrete pedestal known as a gravity base structure (GBS).

ExxonMobil, the lead partner in Hebron, has said it expects to award the contract in June.

Technip is among four groups bidding on the topsides contract.

"Hebron is a significant opportunity," said Allen. "Because of our presence here, we understand the local environment and we feel we can bring a lot to the table - especially delivering on local benefits and understanding what can be done here, which is a lot."

In the Hebron bid, Technip is paired with IMV Mustang Atlantic, which is part of the Scottish-based Wood Group.

It designs and builds topsides for floating production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea and off South America.

"They're really bringing the front-end engineering and detailed design element of the work," said Allen.

"Technip, we're more involved in the fabrication management of the construction."

If IMV Mustang Atlantic/Technip lands the topsides contract, the design would begin in Houston and move to St. John's.

"We would have a strong representation from the province in Houston during that first phase," said Allen. "As soon as we can, we'll migrate those people back to Newfoundland."

All the topsides, except the utilities/process model, will be built in Newfoundland.

Allen said Technip has done similar fabrication work at its yard in Finland where it builds steel spars. (Spars are floating, deepwater production platforms used mostly in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.)

"We feel that we can transfer a lot of that experience and help Bull Arm to run smoothly," he said.

Technip employs 75 people in St. John's, with two-thirds employed in technical jobs as engineers, draftsmen and designers.

The company is also studying ways to develop the Grand Banks more effectively. One way is by developing smaller pools of oil near main offshore fields, such as the North Amethyst development. It's the first expansion of the White Rose oilfield.

"We completed North Amethyst last year very successfully," said Allen.

Most of the Technip team worked on the $1.8-billion North Amethyst project which is expected to start production in the coming months.

mbaird@thetelegram.com