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Lifting Solution for Åsgard Gas Compression Facility

Balltec Engineered Solutions in conjunction with Aker Solutions and Statoil has successfully completed the design and manufacture of a unique lifting and handling solution.

Balltec Engineered Solutions in conjunction with Aker Solutions and Statoil has successfully completed the design and manufacture of a unique lifting and handling solution that has played a key part in the installation of the world’s first underwater gas compression plant, Åsgard. Balltec’s ground breaking lifting technology is now helping to establish a fully functioning subsea gas production and processing system at a depth of 300 meters.

The Balltec lifting solution was used for the deployment of five different subsea module designs of various differing weights and sizes. Balltec’s scope of work was to design a flexible connector solution able to pick up the modules and land them on the seabed. The connectors were designed as part of an engineered lift and were used to interface the full load conditions between the modules and a lifting frame.

The module designers, Aker Solutions, chose Balltec to develop the lifting system based on the company’s experience and track record of engineering innovation in heavy lift systems for deep-water developments. The contract with Aker Solutions was signed shortly after the project modules had been designed, so it became apparent that a special lifting solution would be needed to deploy the modules. The module sizes varied, the largest being some 14.9 x 9.9 x 5.5 meters.

Marco Teixeira, Balltec Technical Director said: "When Aker Solutions approached Balltec to design a lifting solution the module design parameters had already been set. This meant that our system had to be flexible enough to adapt to the existing designs but robust enough to cope with the extremely difficult load conditions."

The Balltec lifting solution is part of the LiftLOK™ family of connectors and incorporates new design principals not previously seen in Balltec products. This version of the LiftLOK™, now DNV approved, is a purely mechanical system that does not require any manual or remote intervention during connection and is designed to be tolerant to substantial negative and side loads.

The total scope of work for Balltec was the design and supply of 58 male connectors and 12 female connectors that also included the design and manufacture of two custom test rigs. Following the successful execution of the initial 5 lifting systems, a close working relationship was developed with Aker Solutions and Statoil which led to Balltec being contracted to provide another new and completely different lifting solution for the final 6th module.

Russell Benson, Managing Director said: Balltec successfully designed, manufactured and tested an entirely new lifting system within four months from receipt of order, meeting the client’s demanding technical and schedule requirements. We are pleased to report that, after extensive onshore trial lifts, the system has been used and the modules are now installed subsea."

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