ExxonMobil contacted Conbit for the offshore flare tip replacement project at the Snapper (SNA) platform. ExxonMobil chose Conbit because of its well-established handling methodology and reputation for many flare tip replacements all over the world.
The SNA platform is located in the Production License Area VIC/L10. It is approximately 32 km off the Gippsland Coast of Australia in a water depth of 55m. The Snapper EP covers all activities relating to hydrocarbon production from the Snapper facilities and the transport of hydrocarbons in the associated pipelines.
Conbit prepared for the maneuver with a thorough structural engineering plan. The flare tip access platform had sufficient strong points to carry loads of the lifting system and the flare tip. To assure all stakeholders involved, a load-test took place at the engineering phase at the Conbit warehouse, with the client witnessing it. After this, Conbit sent the primary heavy lifting equipment via air cargo.
Conbit was also tasked to remove existing piping using their lightweight rigging equipment and changed the elbow from underneath the flare-tip, weighing 350kg. By remaining flexible and adaptable, Conbit easily took on this additional scope for the client.
Conbit faced the unexpected challenge of performing the offshore lift to a supply vessel with no dynamic positioning. This impacted the timing and created further challenges of keeping the vessel level and finding the critical moment for the touch-down. As a result, Conbit devised an action plan to minimize this impact.
Furthermore, Conbit was required to mobilize the equipment quickly, which tested the logistics team’s ability. With expert planning and shipping of equipment, Conbit negotiated and surpassed this challenge.
Conbit utilized a base frame and lift boom to perform the mechanical handling in removing a pre-existing flare tip and replacing it with a new flare tip weighing 731kg. Compared to using a helicopter, this lightweight equipment offered a more cost-effective and flexible method that was more favorable to the client.
Conbit completed the flare tip replacement project within three days – less than the given timeframe.