Norwegian engineering and construction firm Aibel’s yard in Thailand has completed the construction of the Dogger Bank A wind farm substation topside, in what is the first ever HVDC converter platform exported from Thailand.
Loaded on a BigLift heavy transportation vessel, the topside is now en route to Haugesund, Norway where further equipment will be installed ahead of the installation at its final offshore location at what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the Dogger Bank, offshore the UK.
According to Aibel, the first steel for the project was cut in August 2020 during the global pandemic, which had forced the entire engineering team to work from home.
“It also meant that the site team at the yard in Thailand was sent back to Norway for three months and up to 160 people on site have been quarantined at the same time. On top of Covid-19 and the restrictions that followed, the project has been hit by delays due to the blockade of the Suez Canal and delayed steel deliveries due to a ship breakdown in the Mediterranean. Recently, the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine has also created challenges,” Aibel said.
“There has been a tremendous willingness from all parties and a drive to achieve things, which means that despite all the challenges, we now have a module with a completion rate that exceeds previous projects in Thailand. Everyone should be proud of this,” says Aibel’s project director for Dogger Bank, Per Tore Larsen.
He said:”The topside was weighed at 6780.5 tonnes against a theoretical weight of 6779 tonnes. It is an unbelievable result and illustrates the good and close interaction between engineering and fabrication.
While the previous module built at the yard in Thailand, the MSF module of Johan Sverdrup P2, was the heaviest ever moved in Thailand, the Dogger Bank A topside is the largest, Aibel said.
Aibel’s construction manager in Thailand, Frode Johan Saltvedt said:”Roughly speaking, only the major HVDC equipment such as the large transformers, valves and converter reactors remain to be installed in Haugesund.”
Work in Haugesund
The topside is expected to arrive at the yard in Haugesund in the latter half of June, where it will be placed on the upgraded rig quay. Here, several large lifting operations with big and small floating cranes remain in order to put in place transformers, slings and lifting equipment – in addition to many lifts of Hitachi equipment with the yard’s new tower crane.
The majority of Aibel’s work on the topside will be completed by mechanical completion in November. Commissioning work then remains until the expected sailaway in early spring 2023.