Method selection and engineering
There was a need to check every interface and design in the preparation phase. Conbit has introduced the lifting system loads to the existing facility, especially the primary heavy lifting equipment. Aside from the structural analysis, they also provided details of all the working procedures, including the different lifting system designs.
The Conbit engineers used a mechanical handling method to replace the flare tips. During the consultation, the client preferred the drop-and-retrieve method. This process involved lowering the flare tip from the access point before retrieving it to the platform's main deck.
Once within reach of the deck crane, the deck crane took over the flare tip. This in-air handover of the load was necessary because of the lack of space. However, this was not necessary during the previous flare tip replacement.
After six months of preparation and a local COVID quarantine period, the Conbit engineers and the specialist team traveled offshore on October 1, 2021.
The team configured the primary heavy lifting equipment from standard components. It consisted of a gantry structure and struts mounted on a custom-made base frame. The immediate lifting equipment lowered the flare tip over the site of the flare tip access platform.
After this process, the team connected another lift line to the main structure of the flare boom. It aimed to take over the load from the flare tip access platform. Then, a tugger winch pulled the flare tip towards the platform.
The flare tip replacement was done in a couple of days after the project team arrived at the Malampaya gas plant. It was completed safely and efficiently within the set time and budget despite several COVID-19 restrictions.
The project's success was due to the real team effort of Conbit engineers and technicians and the Shell Philippines team.