Hebron topsides contract awarded

Australian engineering firm to design and build modules for platform

Moira Baird mbaird@thetelegram.com
Published on September 2, 2010

WorleyParsons Canada has landed the contract to design and build the steel topsides modules for the multibillion-dollar Hebron production platform.

Hebron is scheduled to pump first oil before the end of 2017.

The Australian-headquartered engineering firm announced Wed-nesday the contact is worth US$61 million in revenue in 2011 to oversee the engineering and design work.

The contract is worth another US$285 million over the next five years to provide more detailed engineering, procurement and construction services to ExxonMobil, the lead Hebron partner.

One of the biggest contracts for the Hebron project is the topsides modules house living quarters, drilling and production equipment.

Bob Cadigan, president and CEO of the Newfoundland and La-brador Oil and Gas Industries Association (NOIA), said the contract is a sign the Hebron project is on schedule.

“Nothing is going to move until the major contractor for the topsides and the GBS are in place.

“That’s a very major milestone in moving the project forward.

“We’ll start seeing some contracts being let as we gear up for the construction phase.”

NOIA represents more than 500 supply and service companies working in the offshore oil industry.

Construction on the Hebron production platform is scheduled to begin in 2012.

There are seven topsides modules.

The process and utilities module — the biggest and most complex of the topsides modules — will be built at an international shipyard.

“This is going to be built offshore — that’s not a surprise,” said Cadigan.

“But the key thing is we’ve got a fair amount of fabrication and construction committed to be done here — the GBS, the flare boom, helideck, lifeboat stations, subsea drilling templates, mooring system.”

Three modules are destined to be built in the province (helideck, flareboom and lifeboat station).

Three other modules will only be built in the province if there’s sufficient skilled labour and capacity at local fabrication yards to do the work.

They are the accommodations unit, drilling support module and the drilling derrick.

Cadigan is optimistic those modules will be built in the province.

“We’ve seen nothing that would indicate it would not be done here.”

Four years ago, an extra accommodations module for the Terra Nova production ship was built at Bull Arm by a consortium of local contractors led by the Cahill Group.

“We’ve done a lot of this stuff before, and I’m sure we’ll manage to get those pieces done here as well,” said Cadigan.

WorleyParsons was one of four bidders vying for the Hebron topsides contract.

The steel modules will be installed on top of the gravity base structure (GBS).

It’s not the first time ExxonMobil and WorleyParsons have worked together on a GBS project.

The most recent was overseeing the construction of topsides for the Sakhalin project, an oil and gas field on Russia’s east coast.

For more than a decade, WorleyParsons has been involved in Sakhalin, which consists of three offshore production platforms including the two GBSs.

WorleyParsons isn’t speaking publicly about its contract award — except through a news release.

In it, WorleyParsons CEO John Grill said the Hebron project will “utilize our proven expertise in sub-Arctic float-over topsides.”

The other major Hebron contract is designing and building the GBS, the concrete pedestal that will sit on the Grand Banks seabed in 100 metres of water.

Kiewit-Aker Contractors was the sole bidder on that contract, and ExxonMobil said Wednesday negotiations are still ongoing to finalize it.

The GBS will be built at Bull Arm, the same offshore construction yard where the larger Hibernia gravity base structure was built.