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Project: Commissioning, engineering and construction services for Apache’s UK assets

Client/partner: Apache

Location: Apache’s UK North Sea assets

Value: US$160 million per annum

2009

Start Date

Ongoing

End date

Scope

Petrofac won the Apache onshore engineering and offshore construction contract in 2009 and in June of the same year began the transition to Petrofac of Apache’s five UK North Sea assets, the Forties Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo. When Petrofac commenced work on the Forties fields, Apache had already invested in excess of US$1.2 billion to renovate the mature and significant UKCS assets. Apache’s aim is to extend the expected life and increase production through continued investment in field-wide drilling activities and capital projects (both topside and subsea).  

In January 2011, Petrofac was awarded the commissioning contract of the Forties Assets to add to the existing engineering and construction contract.  

In July 2012, Petrofac signed a three-year contract to provide onshore engineering and both onshore and offshore construction services to all of the Apache North Sea assets. This includes the Beryl Alpha and Bravo platforms in the northern North Sea and the Scottish Area Gas Evacuation (SAGE) gas processing plant at St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, UK and is an extension to, and continuation of, the current service contract which Petrofac holds for Apache’s Forties platforms. Under the terms of the new contract Petrofac’s scope will also include topside brownfield and greenfield activity in addition to interfacing with subsea contractors.

We had some 340 employees working for Apache, 100 onshore based and 240 working offshore on rotation and increased personnel further during 2012.

Key facts

  • Petrofac is well known for its experience in best in class minor modification services. We provide a minor modification services programme for Apache which includes multidiscipline projects across all of the Forties’ existing systems
  • in 2011, we completed a £12 million debottlenecking project for the Forties Alpha and Forties Delta platforms to increase the deep gas lift flow levels, thus enhancing production rates. Much of the existing topsides equipment (vessels, gas scrubbers, production gas coolers, pumps and valves) were not sized to take increased amounts of gas, which caused flow bottlenecks that needed to be modified. This project was successful for a number of reasons; it was delivered safely, within budget and on schedule for Apache
  • one of our key capabilities is our successful shutdown delivery. We have a worldwide reputation for providing successful shutdown projects for our clients on time and within budget. In May 2011, we successfully delivered Apache’s biggest ever shutdown and turnaround (TAR), spanning over 22,000 man-hours over a two-week period

Apache's Bacchus tieback project

Petrofac has played an integral part in the project delivery of Apache’s Bacchus Tieback project. Bacchus is a new HP/HT field 6.8 km NE of Forties Alpha and will be produced through three wells and tied back to the Alpha platform via a subsea pipeline bundle including production, produced water injection and heating, gas lift, chemical services, and power and control umbilicals. This project involves many subcontractors and Petrofac’s scope involves the topside modifications on Alpha including installation of the caisson riser, location and installation of the primary equipment, process tie-ins, position and hook up of the subsea control equipment, and modifications to the safety, controls and electrical systems. Services extend from detailed engineering and design, procurement and fabrication management to offshore construction and commissioning. Design commenced in early 2010 and the project achieved first oil on 23 April 2012.

The contract represents an extension to, and continuation of, the current service contract which Petrofac holds for Apache’s Forties platforms. Under the terms of the new contract Petrofac’s scope will also include topside brownfield and greenfield activity in addition to interfacing with subsea contractors.

We have worked closely with Apache to deliver a number of highly successful projects on the Forties field since we began work in 2009. As Petrofac develops its offshore capability we are delighted that Apache has extended our responsibilities to include engineering and construction work on the Beryl field and at the SAGE gas plant. 

Walter Thain, Managing Director, Engineering & Production Services West