Hebron work continues despite disagreement on module

Published on June 22, 2012
The bund wall under construction at the Bull Arm site earlier this year. — Photo courtesy of Hebron partners

While the provincial government and Hebron project leaders work through a dispute over where the derrick equipment set module should be constructed, work on the Hebron

project as a whole has pressed forward.

Work at Bull Arm is underway and local supply and service companies are already being tapped, according to both Hebron project manager Geoff Parker and representatives for lead contractors on the GBS base and topsides, Kiewit-Kvaerner (KKC) and WorleyParsons.

Bull Arm has been “dormant for many years,” KKC lead Astor Nyborg said Thursday. He said it means certain site utilities are no longer operating, while buildings at the site must be refurbished. In addition, the project requires some new assets, such as a new batch plant for concrete.

Steps have already been taken toward creating the drydock area — where construction of the massive GBS will begin. A small cove has been closed off from the rest of the Atlantic, with the installation of a  and netting. A bund wall — a watertight barrier, enclosing the drydock area — has been built.

The enclosed area is being drained to create the site where the GBS construction will start. The work to date has relied on local supply companies.

To build the bund wall, for example, 550,000 tonnes of aggregate was shipped in to Bull Arm from a quarry in Lower Cove.

The construction material was provided by Corner Brook-based Atlantic Minerals.

“We generally produce chemical stones, but we do a lot of construction material as the need arises,” president Bill Fitzpatrick told The Telegram.

Atlantic Minerals provides much of its quarry product to mining operations in Labrador, but has also provided to sites scattered from to Prince Edward Island to Venezuela. “We’ve got a load on the high seas now going to Argentina,” Fitzpatrick said.

The company was first app-roached in January by the Hebron team about the possibility of supplying aggregate for Bull Arm. Fitzpatrick submitted a bid as the supply contract came up and won it. Material for the Bull Arm bund wall was supplied from September to December.

Fitzpatrick said he felt the Hebron team acknowledged his company’s “local” status, in their decision on the contract award.

“I think it certainly was a factor in the bid process,” he said, “and they were very good to work with.”

Project details still being finalized

While Bull Arm site work has started, the detailed design on Hebron is still being finished in St. John’s.

More than 500 people are based

at the project offices in the Tower Corporate Campus, working on the topsides and GBS plans. That includes a high percentage of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, according to the project leaders.

“Of the current 218 (WorleyParsons) employees supporting the Hebron project, 84 per cent are from the province,” said WorleyParsons lead Neil Robertson.

With the design progressing, there has been change to the original topsides plans. The WorleyParsons team has yet to finalize a total topsides weight, but it is expected to be “in excess of 40,000 tons,” Robertson said.

As for the modules making up the topsides, the contract for the “utility process module” has been awarded to Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea.

Locally, the contract for the seven-floor, 120-cabin living quarters module has been awarded to a partnership of North Eastern Constructors Ltd. of Cahill Group of Cos., and Apply Leirvik, a company based in Norway and known for offshore living quarters development.

Construction on this module is expected to start in spring 2013.

Work available for bidding

According to KKC, about 36 per cent of all of its major work packages has been awarded. The company is expecting to seek bids on 70 per cent of the remaining contracts in 2012, 20 per cent in 2013 and 10 per cent in 2014.

All remaining contracts related to site operations at Bull Arm are expected to go to tender this year, while most remaining GBS contracts will go to tender next year.

Most of the available “marine contracts” — associated with deepwater construction and towing — are to go to tender in 2014.

Topsides contracts have yet to be settled on the module expected for Marystown, but WorleyParsons has a comprehensive list of topsides opportunities, with posting dates, forecasted award dates and bidders lists available online (http://topsidesproject.worleyparsons.com/Pages/UpcomingOpportunities.aspx).

To help gather the skilled tradespeople needed to fill construction contracts, the companies have established a joint site, www.bullarmtrades.com, where both unionized and non-unionized workers can let companies know they are interested in Hebron.