January 02, 2017

Review of an operation conducted by the Bourbon Evolution 802: linking the placement of 4 wellheads on the Egina oil & gas field, off the coast of Nigeria.

The installation of a wellhead - or X-Tree - is a key operation in the life of an oil & gas field. This set of valves controls the flow of oil coming out of the well.

Linking the placement of 4 wellheads represents an exceptional achievement, since each installation constitutes a new challenge, requiring meticulous preparation. "Precise documentation is needed in order to navigate safely. We have to account for all the drilling equipment working in the area, update the map with every detail of the sea bottom, the wells already installed, the distances between the various structures... At some sites, the X-Trees are just a few meters apart!" explains Thierry Guillou, Offshore Manager and Shift Supervisor on the Bourbon Evolution 802.

" What does it take to install 4 X-Trees without any incidents? Excellent preparation and communication within the team, precision, and constant vigilance."

Thierry GuillouOffshore manager and shift superisor
on the Bourbon Evolution 802

The final phase of preparation: Communication, precision and vigilance… 

A site meeting led by the Shift Supervisor, bringing together: the captain, chief engineer, deck boss, crane operator, ROV personnel, and the technicians working on the X-Trees. "To lead this meeting, I prefer to show a video that details all the steps, from the time the vessel arrives at the dock for loading, until the end of the X-Tree installation, with drawings, video clips, and maps. All set to music! This unusual process is one way to surprise people and therefore keep their attention," Thierry explains.

The actual installation takes around 36 hours. This makes it possible to install 4 X-Trees in one week, without a single incident. The key to success, for Thierry, can be summed up in three points: "Excellent preparation and communication within the team, precision, and constant vigilance."

In fact, this vigilance was essential during the operation last May. Just as X-Tree No. 2 was going in the water, during his inspection of X-Tree No 3 Thierry noticed a different connection. "This difference between the two wellheads surprised me. So, I immediately alerted the client, who was able to order an emergency replacement part from the manufacturer, and it came 48 hours later, by helicopter, just in time for installation." This initiative prevented some serious complications: discovering the error at the time of connection, in over 1000 meters of water, would have resulted in an enormous loss of time. It's just more proof that experience and precision are essential.

Bourbon behind the scenes