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Oil /Angola /Bloc 0

1 / The context

Chevron's floating production unit1 (pictured) located off the coast of Angola2 is a vessel that has numerous systems for processing and separating different types of oil, such as a complete oil gas liquefaction system, as well as onboard export facilities. Subject to both the marine environment and the constraints generated by its activities, the integrity of the vessel requires regular maintenance operations, such as insulation and surface treatment, to ensure the safety of the people working on board and to maintain production capacity. Miles of pipes allow the circulation of cold and hot flows. If a pipe freezes, the flow will not pass. If a pipe or a valve is rusted, production will have to be stopped. If a pipe is poorly insulated with a 150° flow, personnel risk serious burns. Finally, rusty superstructures will reduce the vessel's ability to withstand bad weather.

2 / The challenges

Prezioso3, a company specializing in surface treatment, has been contracted to carry out one-off and mobile maintenance operations on Chevron's assets. These operations include anti-corrosion, cold insulation and personnel protection on the upper part of the vessel, the deck and the piping (extraction and circulation of cold or very hot flows). The land-based tanks located near the coast, which are therefore also subject to salty air, will also be treated against corrosion. For Prezioso, the challenges are threefold.

First of all, the conditions of intervention. Anti-corrosion and insulation work is carried out both day and night, often in areas that are difficult to access, dark or even inaccessible, where the installation of conventional scaffolding is impossible (insulation, inside the vessel, of very hot pipes at a height of 10 meters, large size of land-based hydrocarbon tanks, etc.). Secondly, it is necessary to adapt to the specificities of each client in terms of safety requirements, the configuration of the installations or even work habits, for example in terms of electrical current. Finally, since the Chevron mobile platform to be treated is located off the northern coast of Angola, special logistics had to be put in place because of the time it takes to transport equipment to a fairly isolated region

Adaptability is therefore the key word at Prezioso. Each new site has its own industrial configuration. Hence the need for equipment capable of ensuring this adaptability in order to make life on the site as easy as possible and to ensure its smooth running. It is in this context that Prezioso called on A2S for the lighting equipment required during maintenance operations on board Chevron's floating production unit.

3 / The working method

"One day I received an e-mail containing a freehand sketch, very simple, accompanied by about ten lines explaining the project and the needs," recalls Nicolas Sevestre, manager of A2S, who continues: "From a field requirement expressed in a not very formalized way with a financial envelope that set a framework, we succeeded in building, with Prezioso, a tailor-made solution that corresponds to the equipment with which their employees are used to working and that adapts to the specificities of the site of their client Chevron.

Two to three months of discussions, via video conferences and essential exchanges on the ground in Angola with the local Prezioso teams, were necessary to jointly draw up specifications with the engineer in charge of the project and the head of the Prezioso purchasing department. These discussions first allowed us to define the lighting requirements based on the number of employees working on the ship and the tasks to be performed. Prezioso and A2S then set about determining the number of mobile electrical cabinets required and, above all, their specific characteristics.

"Starting with a standard electrical cabinet, we gradually built a customized solution to make life on the shipyard as easy as possible. I went to Angola to see the equipment Prezioso was used to working with, to better understand their technical choices but also the difficulties on the ground. For example, winding large electrical cables of about 20 meters around a mobile electrical cabinet without any adequate device is not ideal. Hence the design of arms at the back of the cabinet to wind the cable correctly and easily", explains Nicolas Sevestre.

4 / Solution

A2S provided Prezioso with a package including the design and manufacture of custom-made ATEX distribution/transformation cabinets4 as well as portable ATEX distribution boxes for lighting, ATEX LED lighting and various accessories (cables, sockets, etc.). A stock of spare parts (in particular sockets, which are often damaged on this type of site) has also been provided by A2S and made available at the Prezioso site located in the north of Angola.  

The main custom features of the mobile electrical cabinets supplied by A2S:

  • Installation of lifting rings to make them easily transportable;
  • Installation of protective grids to avoid shocks during transport or maintenance operations;
  • Fixing of bars at the back to allow the cable to be rolled up during storage or transport;
  • Arrangement of electrical outlets according to the customer's needs;
  • Supply of changeable plastic films for ATEX lighting;
  • Addition of a handle on the lighting box to make it easier to move.

5 / Result

Le client connaissait les contraintes spécifiques auxquelles il ne pouvait pas y répondre avec des solutions classiques proposées sur le marché. Le sur-mesure a été la clé pour permettre à Prezioso de tenir ses engagements. La solution apportée par A2S a permis au client d’obtenir une réponse point par point à la problématique des chantiers qu’il devait mettre en oeuvre. Il a ainsi pu gagner en flexibilité et en productivité tout en assurant confort et sécurité à ses travailleurs.

For more information

1/ A floating production storage and offloading unit (FPSO)

Il s’agit d’un navire utilisé dans l’industrie pétrolière et gazière pour le traitement et le stockage des hydrocarbures et le stockage du pétrole, du gaz naturel ou des huiles produits en mer. Jusqu’en 2017 les plus longs mesuraient environ 310 mètres de long pour une largeur de 60 mètres et une hauteur de coque de 30 mètres. Leur capacité de production pouvaient dépasser 200 000 barils par jour pour une capacité de stockage de 2 millions de barils.

2/ Angola and oil

Angola, the second largest oil producer on the African continent, whose growth has averaged 10% over the last decade, has very large oil deposits, mainly offshore. In addition, since 2013, the country has started to export liquefied natural gas. 

3/ Who is Prezioso?

Spécialisée dans le traitement de surfaces et présent en Angola depuis une trentaine d’années (dans différentes localités : Soyo, Cabinda, Lobito et Luanda), Prezioso intervient surtout sur l ISS (isolation surface préparation d’échafaudage) mais est aussi en train de développer l’IMD (inspection modification et déclassement de site and decomissioning) et aussi une activité integrity (survey, conseil et management).

4/ Une armoire sur mesure

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