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Kvitebjørn deck in place

May 16, 2003, 17:30 CEST

The deck for Statoil's Kvitebjørn platform was installed on the field in the North Sea today, 16 May. The world's largest crane ship, Saipem 7000, lifted the deck onto the platform's steel jacket

"A very successful lifting operation in excellent weather conditions," reports Terje Samuelsen, the Kvitebjørn project's representative on board Saipem7000.

The deck was initially towed out to the field in early April. Several attempts to install it had to be abandoned due to heavy swell in the sea. Since then it has lain in a fiord south of Bergen awaiting suitable weather.

"The deck was towed out in the morning of 15 May and arrived at the field in the early hours of 16 May," says Mr Samuelsen. "It was lifted from the barge at 12.30 today and installed on the jacket at 15.00."

According to Bjarne Bakken, project director for Kvitebjørn, this lift is the key milestone of the project.

"Installing a deck is a very demanding operation," says Mr Bakken. "Unfortunately, the weather conditions have been unsuitable until now. We will have to assess whether this delay will lead to a reschedule of the planned start-up for Kvitebjørn in the autumn of 2004," says Mr Bakken.

The deck weighs about 11,000 tonnes, making this the heaviest lift Statoil has ever carried out offshore. It stands on a 220-metre tall two-section steel jacket which was also installed by Saipem 7000. This is the first time on the Norwegian continental shelf, and the second time on a global basis, that a steel jacket has been installed in this way.

If the weather remains fine, the drilling derrick and the mud module will be lifted immediately after the deck. These will be followed by an extra living quarters module, the flare boom and several smaller modules before hook-up and completion.

Production on Kvitebjørn is due to start on 1 October 2004.

The field contains about 55 billion cubic metres of gas and 22 million cubic metres of condensate.