The Kashagan field is located in the Kazakhstan sector of the Caspian Sea. It extends over a surface area of approximately 75 kilometers by 45 kilometers. The reservoir lies some 4,200 meters below the shallow waters of the northern part of the Caspian Sea.
Discovered in July 2000, Kashagan was described as the largest field found in the past 30 years. They needed to replace the flare tips with like-for-like alternatives. The high-pressure flare tip measured 3 meters in height and 1.2 meters in diameter, with a mass of 1,300 kg. The low-pressure flare tip measured 3 meters in height and approximately 1.8 meters in diameter, with a mass of 2,000kg.
Conbit’s engineers determined that the flare tip access platform at the processing facility had sufficient strong points to carry loads of the lifting system and the flare tips themselves. Therefore, they proposed to use a custom lift system to execute the project. It will comprise a base structure connected to the flare tip access platform via steel counter clamps, supporting a gantry lift structure and spreader bar.
After the site visit, the engineers prepared the actual lifting plans. Conbit’s crew team comprised a variety of roles, including a rigger, banksman, winch operator, welder, and electrician. It undertook a comprehensive safety review to ensure optimal environmental conditions. Also, they made sure that all documentation was in place and made provisions to restrict structural access to authorized persons only.
The crew unbolted the low-pressure flare tip from the flare stack and attached it to the primary lifting equipment’s gantry structure. They moved the tip approximately 4 meters over the edge of the flare tip access platform and lowered it to a laydown area at the base of the stack. They repeated the procedure until they completely removed the high-pressure flare tip. Then, they executed both methods in reverse order to install both replacement flare tips.
The Conbit team successfully completed this flare tip replacement project processing. The facility is once again at work, processing oil from what some consider the second largest field on the planet.