Many flare tips are still replaced by helicopters. A Norwegian contractor has gained a significant market share with this service.
Also known as ‘aerial cranes’ or ‘sky cranes,’ lifting helicopters are typically operated by two pilots. For flare tip replacements, they are accompanied by two mechanics acting as loadmasters or signallers.
The aircraft load capacities range from 500 kg (Bell 206 B) to 4000 kg (Super Puma AS332). The pilots use the ‘long-line’ flying technique, which allows the pilot to fly while looking down through a Plexiglas viewing bubble.
The industry is reluctant to choose helicopter flare tip replacement due to its many disadvantages, including:
Conbit’s mechanical flare tip replacement method is more reliable and safer than a helicopter. Although the required shutdown time may be one or sometimes two days longer, the downtime is known in advance and certain.
Bringing in mechanical handling tools is much easier than deploying a suitable helicopter. Also, risks are better controlled because the mechanical flare tip replacement method consists of a series of small, easily manageable steps.
As many people in the industry prefer mechanical handling methods, it is easy to convince management to choose this better and safer solution. The required team is smaller than in the case of helicopter flare-tip replacement.
Many clients prefer to use the mechanical flare-tip replacement method for these reasons.
Check Conbit’s successful offshore flare tip replacement projects below:
Offshore flare tip replacement Malampaya
Offshore flare tip replacement ANOA
Offshore flare tip replacement Bongkot North