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Case studies

StabFrame-H on Waimea Project

LM Handling completed the first StabFrame project on the Waimea development in the Campos Basin, offshore Brazil.  Working for Wellstream International, on behalf of OGX Petroleo e Gas, the pile support frame was used to aid the installation of 10 no. 84 inch diameter mooring anchor piles for an FPSO vessel.  The project was led by MENCK with LM Handling (which at the time was an LDD business unit) supporting.

The site conditions for the StabFrame’s maiden deployment were far from straight forward, with challenging piling conditions due to the presence of a hard crust overlaying a very soft, unsupportive layer. This resulted in virtually no initial penetration followed by free-fall, as the crust was breached during driving. The unique LM Handling/LDD design proved far more versatile in coping with these conditions than the standard industry approach.

Upon arriving at Waimea Field, the StabFrame was installed on the seabed at the first of 10 subsea pile-driving sites. Following completion of each pile-driving operation, the StabFrame was moved to the next site without returning to surface, reducing weather and sea-state risk exposure.

All equipment – including the WROV interface/docking station, hydraulic systems, and pile-lifting and handling tools – performed as intended. In spite of strong currents, estimated at times to be more than 3.5 knots, work was carried out safely, well within the requisite time frame and without a single lost-time incident.

“One thing that came out of the Waimea operation is the way that the StabFrame is able to adjust to unpredictable soil conditions. Every pile went into free fall to varying degrees at varying drive depths, but the StabFrame allowed us to drive deeper prior to opening the frame, thereby guaranteeing stability”

Frank Buck, Project Director – EPIC Projects for Wellstream International Limited.


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