Sinks into the harbor finally after a.
Globe crossing journey from Singapore the whole is afloat now it’s time for a mind-boggling lift the gas processing platform is as big as a city block and weighs almost 9,000 tons the crew will have to hoist it 200 feet into the air and strategically lower it onto the hull support pillars it’s like lifting a 500 foot warship there’s only one machine for the job this heavy lift device or hld it’s.
One of the largest of its kind in the world the first.
Step is to slide the top sides along this skid way and under this barge it will take two huge winches and a little lubrication these men in the white overalls are applying the grease.
On top of the Teflon skid way we call it pumpkin wax it’s kind of pumpkin color but it’s gooey.
And sticky and my wife says every time I walk by it attaches itself to me the winches turned and the 7-story platform begins to move at the water’s edge the.
Process gets trickier water.
In a barges ballast tanks has to be carefully adjusted to accept the massive weight it takes 8 hours but finally the platform is on the barge tugboats wrestle the platform into position underneath the hld and the crew attaches huge a-frames to lift it but high winds kick up again in these conditions lining up the hole perfectly under the platform will be almost impossible we need to make sure that the hull is in the appropriate position when we stab down because we only have.
A three-inch tolerance when we stab down and that hole has to be in a perfect position for now the operation is on hold but it won’t slow down another mega mover out in the Gulf preparations for the hub’s final home.
Are underway keeping the enormous independence hubs secure in the Gulf stormy seas will require heavy-duty anchors and a special ship to install them meet the Balder the columns of a pontoon like haul make her incredibly stable essential for lifting the huge anchors which will secure the hub to the ocean floor with her massive open deck she looks more like a platformer than a ship if the Balder doesn’t install the anchors perfectly the independence hub.
Could pull free that’s what happened to this hub.
Thunderhorse was the biggest hub in the Gulf until hurricane Dennis ripped it from its moorings to make sure this doesn’t happen to the independence hub engineers are installing 12 permanent anchors called suction pilings a two and a half mile long cable will connect each piling to the floating hub the Boulder’s challenge place each piling.
At exactly the right spot and perfectly level nearly two miles down.
If she succeeds these will be the deepest pilings ever installed she’ll need her cranes some of the most powerful a.
Float to pull it off together they can lift 7,000 tons but it’s not just about brute strength it’s also about precision the boulders seven engines help keep the ship right on target and staying in.
Position is the name of the game especially when you’re installing pilings this big each weighs over 200 tons as much as five tractor-trailer.
Rigs they’re each 88 feet long and 18 feet in diameter securing them is a process that takes perfect coordination of the cranes the engines the winch the remotely operated vehicle and the crew on deck barges bring the pilings to the ship cranes lift them on board and set them down very gently the crew attaches a harness and chains for the lift it’s.
A very big and very dangerous maneuver.
Requiring the biggest shackle on board the crew checks every inch of the shackle even the slightest flaw could lead to disaster what he’s doing he’s looking for microscopic cracks in the surface of this shat bone that might grow to a critical size when his highly loaded.
During lift if that were to happen the shackle could fracture we could have a real disaster on our hands the two cranes lift the piling to turn it on and it goes without a hitch and a piling lowers.
Over the side of the Balder on the bridge the crew monitors every movement if the Balder isn’t level or.
If she begins rocking the huge piling could become.
A wrecking ball crashing into the deck or punching a hole in the ship with all that weight over one side of the ship you’d think it could tip over but back on the bridge the crew controls ballast.
Tanks in a boulders haul to counteract the weight the piling lowers into the sea then you know blasts of escaping air it’s on its way a.
Nearly two miles into the depths.
The huge anchor has to be placed within a hair’s breadth of a buoy sit on the ocean floor and set at the right angle wind isn’t a problem but currents are and the Boulder’s engines strained to steady the ship if the piling isn’t installed perfectly the massive tension of a two and a half mile mooring line could rip it apart the piling hangs just feet from the ocean floor what the crew must do now is truly incredible.
It’s like being on top of a skyscraper and trying to put a nail on the end of a string on a certain spot on the sidewalk our Ovie’s remotely operated vehicles are the eyes of the project engineers allowing them to inch the massive piling closer to its target the crew will have to get it just right if.
The pilings are to be ready when the independence hub arrives the Balder means closer to the target ready to install one of a dozen pilings which will anchor the independence hub at the center of the gas field they go for it the 200-ton piling stabs into the seafloor maybe a visual on traffic the pilings weight drives it an incredible 45 feet down it’s in the right place but isn’t a line properly very good probably not the best we’ve achieved thus far very good.
The ROV moves in for step two it closes the valves that sealed the end of the piling then it connects a powerful pump as the pump sucks out the water inside the piling the structure sinks even deeper into the sea floor mission accomplished but the boulders.
Crew doesn’t have time to celebrate they’ll work around the clock to install the remaining three pilings before the hub arrives construction of the independance project is almost complete the 15 Wells 220 miles of pipeline 120 miles of.
Control cables and 12 mooring pilings are nearly ready for the independence.
Hubs arrival in Texas it’s countdown to the big lift the last obstacle facing the project engineers hoisting the nearly 9,000 ton processing platform onto the four towers of its.
Job for one of the biggest lifters in the world the heavy lift device or hld but it’s never attempted a load this large inside the control shack engineers continuously monitor the HL DS controls in preparation for the big lift a mammoth boons.
Are 500 feet long and 23 miles of cable weighing 900 tons went through her motors in winches sensors on the booms and the cables provide constant feedback to the engineers on the hub and the barge the crew performs.
Their final checks then all but.
A few crew members move off to a safe distance a broken cable now would send.
A mammoth platform crashing to the ground the lifts motors began to turn the cables take up the enormous weight then an ear-splitting boom gets everyone’s attention a fitting through the a-frame has adjusted under the strain the lift continues cables strain as the hld takes the full weight of the platform then suddenly one side is free in the control room.
Every sensor is double-checked the motors and winches turn and.
The nearly 9,000 tonne platform hangs free but the biggest challenge is.
Come setting the suspended platform on the four points of its flotation Hall first the platform has to be raised even higher to make room for the hall four tugs work in concert to turn the hull and push it into place on top of the hall an alignment pin would be the guide to make perfect contact the hull has to be positioned precisely for the pin to fit inside a 24-inch diameter god it’s up to the team leader to.
Thread this needle and meet the platform to the.
Hall thick steel mooring cables connect the hall to shore they’ll control the critical position of the hall underneath the platform.
The team leader communicates constantly with his spotters on the halls.
Towers he directs the massive platform to come down but only three inches of Tolerance it has to be perfect but.
The alignment is off it’s fine just a hair.
If they continue the stabbing pin will get one side of the guide and the platform will miss its connecting points the team leader calls for the mooring cables to be adjusted all right roaming down on the platform pieces down even more one side makes contact in the north.
Down but there’s a problem the other three corners aren’t matching up master oyster after all we’re firm and Addington with the north boom take two twists out of the module engineers in the control shack lower one of the HL DS booms by a few feet the platform inches down even further the four corners of the platform line up perfectly with the towers of the hall they’ve.
Done it the independence hub is complete it’s a landmark moment in the most.
Ambitious deep-sea construction project ever attempted soon the team will tow the hub into the Gulf and link it to the vast network of wells pipes and cables.
It’s the jewel in the crown of the world’s deepest natural gas network within a year the independence hub will deliver a billion cubic feet of gas each day thanks to a team of amazing mega machines.