Norne FPSO project 1994 - 1997

This story is not intended to be a professional CV, but to tell friends and others what I have been dealing with in my job. I am not going to bore you with many details on electrical and control systems, so most of the pictures are of a more general nature. My two first projects were DRAUGEN and BRAGE, and this was before the time of small, handy inexpensive digital cameras, and I have no photographs. BRAGE was the first project where I had the chance to go offshore, but only a few short trips. I was an employee with Kvaerner from 1988 to 2000 including these projects.

After this came NORNE, an oil production vessel where I had the chance to participate throughout the project from conceptual engineering to detail engineering, contract and supplier evaluations, construction, testing and start-up. I worked on Norne for 4 years, including 1 1/2 year at the yard and the last 6 months with testing and startup offshore.

Lifting the turret

This shows NORNE at the yard while the biggest crane in the world lifts the 5000 ton (10.000.000 pounds) turret that will be used when mooring the ship offshore. An easy match for the crane - it can lift 14.000 tons - the same as 35 fully loaded 747 jets.

Norne in sunset

A nice sunset at the yard with NORNE in front.

Nice day Norne offshore

This is a view of Norne in the very nice weather we had that first summer. Our regular supplyboat is here to provide supplies. A drilling rig preparing more oil wells can be seen in the background. The NORNE hull was built at a yard in Singapore, but all the modules on deck was built in Norway and installed on the ship at Aker Stord yard on the west coast of Norway.

Helicopter arrival

The only practical way to get there is by helicopter. 1 hour + flying time.

Nornes nice controlroom

Norne is a ship, and the controlroom where all processes are monitored and controlled is located where the bridge of the ship normally is. NORNE probably has one of the nicest controlrooms in the North Sea, because of the natural light and view. Controlrooms are normally located low on platforms with few or no windows. The controlroom is the only place on board where people are required to be present at all times.

Gas insulated switchgear

This is part of my job. The picture shows the back side of the main electrical distribution. It is a Siemens switchboard with gas insulated bus-bars and vacuum breakers where the total generating capacity of approx. 50 MW power is distributed to large consumers (the biggest electrical motor is 4,9 MW - 6500 hp), and to transformers for low voltage consumers.

Large hydraulic power pack

Here are some of the motors on board. This is part of a hydraulic power pack powered by 6 motors 600 kW (800 hp) each, and 2 motors 300 kW (400 hp) each. The main consumers of this hydraulic power are ballast and oil export pumps.

Medium speed genset

For marine operations - keeping the vessel in position - two of these essential generators ( 4 MW each) powered by Wartsila diesels was installed. The vessel is kept in position by thrusters electric driven propellers that can be turned in any direction. NORNE has five of those, 2,8 MW (3750 hp) each. Bigger generators are also available on board for operation of oil processing and utilities, and can also provide power for the thrusters.

Switchgear for hazardous area

This special switchboard is for emergency use, and is designed to be safely operated even if the room is filled with explosive gases. It provides power for emergency lighting and other emergency systems.

Floodlight for hazardous area

For the person who don't know, an oil installation is a mess of pipes and valves. These vessels are scrubbers for large gas compressors. They are high pressure vessels, as you can see on the sizing of flanges and bolts. This is also an example of succesful lighting, the Chalmit wellglass type (in top of picture) light fitting is very suitable for this application, as long at it can be installed well above the deck. It is designed not to ignite the explosive gas, in case leakage in one of the scrubbers should occur.

Oil fiscal metering skid

This unit is for measuring the quantities of oil and gas produced. NORNE can produce more than 200.000 barrels of oil per day.

Moonpool in centre of turret

Norne is always pointing it's bow against the wind, and swivel around a turret in the central part of the ship. The turret is moored to the seabed. This is a view down inside the turret into the sea. Heavy seas cause water to run in and out.

Lifting the turret

NORNE also has a very nice dining area, with large windows facing forwards. This is actually the nicest dining area I ever saw on an oil installation offshore.

Switchgear Management System

The entire electrical power system can be controlled from this computer. Two computers like this is installed, one in the control room, and one in an electrical equipment room. This image shows main generators and switchboards. Many details about each electrical motor and it's operation (or faults) can be analyzed here. This is a standard PC with Windows is only used for monitoring and user interface, as the actual control of the power system is done by industrial type PLCs. The electrical power system works fine even if the PC crashes (which Windows sometimes do). Manual control in the switchboard rooms (the old fashioned way) is always possible.

(c) Thomas Høven 2004