Buoyance Tank of SPM-1 Replaced at CPC Marine Terminal
11.02.2022 By Ella Keskin - NEWS

November 02, 2022 [Reuters] – Work continues on positioning the new buoyancy tank in depth and bringing the flange joints together.


Alliance LLC has replaced the buoyance tank of Single Point Mooring SPM-1 at CPC Marine Terminal. On the night of 29-30 October 2022, using the Commander’s main crane, the new buoyancy tank was lowered into the water and through the rigging installed on the concrete anchors, the buoyancy tank was submerged to the specified depth for the subsequent flange assembly. Work continues on positioning the new buoyancy tank in depth and bringing the flange joints together.

CPC says that after loading from two Single Point Moorings, SPM 1 and SPM 2, was stopped in August 2022, CPC developed a technical task order to replace the buoyancy tanks from those available in reserve. An appropriate qualification selection of contractors among Russian and foreign companies was done for the said operation. In mid-September, the Company’s Shareholders approved execution of a contract for services to replace the SPM BT with Alliance LLC, which possessed equipment and vessels required for the work. During the first ten days of October 2022, the Contractor mobilized and re-allocated the necessary labor and resources to CPC Marine Terminal seawater and proceeded to preparatory activities to perform the set tasks.

On 19 October 2022, Alliance started preparation to dismantle the damaged buoyancy tank of SPM-1. On 28 October, the divers – working at a depth of 35-40 meters – connected the SPM buoyancy tank to the anchor system and the so-called subsea air bags to the subsea hoses. The 19-person diving team was supported by an underwater drone. A particular difficulty in the work arrangement was that the operation required about two days of ongoing process and had weather-related restrictions – a wave height of no more than 1.5 meters in autumn-winter conditions. By late 28 October 2022, the divers removed in total 48 bolts from two flanges, getting the oil buoyancy tank ready to be lifted on the vessel.

On 29 October 2022, using the Commander multi-purpose vessel, the SPM-1 buoyancy tank was lifted from the depth of 40 meters. It was lifted with the help of specialized diving equipment and a 140-ton crane installed on the Commander vessel. The buoyancy tank was lifted to the surface and put on the Commander vessel’s stern on a specialized construction – lodgment made specifically for this type of work. After the work to disconnect the marine subsea hoses from the damaged BT was completed, a new BT was installed on the lodgment instead of the old BT and the marine subsea hoses were connected.

The full scope of work to replace the SPM-1 buoyancy tank will be completed following the hydrotest of hoses and the entire subsea pipeline system after completion of work to have the BT connected to SPM-1 loading system. Then, the Contractor will be in position to proceed to replacement of the buoyancy tank at SPM-2.

CPC has been operating two single point moorings from 2002, SPM-1 and SPM-2, and one single point mooring – from 2013, SPM-3. On 22 August 2022, CPC said that SPM-1 and SPM-2 were temporarily out of service due to cracks discovered by divers in subsea hose attachments to buoyancy tanks. The CPC Marine Terminal was temporarily loading crude oil by using only SPM-3. According to the later statements, SPM-3, the only single point mooring used by Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) at its Marine Terminal, could handle up to 3.5 million tonnes of oil per month, CPC told IAA PortNews. CPC also said it would take one month to replace one SPM.

The CPC Pipeline System is one of CIS largest energy investment projects that involves foreign capital. The length of the Tengiz – Novorossiysk pipeline is 1,511 km. This route moves over two thirds of all Kazakhstan export oil along with crude from Russian fields including those in the Caspian region. CPC Marine Terminal is equipped with three Single Point Moorings (SPM), allowing tankers to be loaded safely at significant distance offshore, including in poor weather conditions.

CPC Shareholders: Federal Agency for State Property Management represented by Transneft (trustee) – 24%, CPC Company – 7%, KazMunayGas – 19%; Kazakhstan Pipeline Ventures LLC – 1.75%, Chevron Caspian Pipeline Consortium Company – 15%, LUKARCO B.V. – 12.5%, Mobil Caspian Pipeline Company – 7.5%, Rosneft-Shell Caspian Ventures Limited – 7.5%, BG Overseas Holding Limited – 2%, Eni International N.A. N.V. – 2%, and Oryx Caspian Pipeline LLC – 1.75%.

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