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Wellhead platform delivered to Caspian in 23 months.

The Caspian Sea is earth's largest inland waterbody, bordered by five nations with strategic interests in the basin's vast natural resources. Valued at more than $4 trillion, the 25 billion metric tons of projected oil reserves for Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan comprise nearly 15% of the world's total oil reserves (i).

In Turkmenistan's part of the Caspian Sea, the Cheleken contract area as of June 2008 contained proven and probable reserves of 645 million barrels of oil (ii). The asset is wholly owned by Dragon Oil plc, an independent oil development and production company registered in Ireland, headquartered in Dubai, and held in majority by Dubai's Emirates National Oil Company LLC. The company negotiated a 25-year production-sharing agreement with Turkmenistan, effective in May 2000, and has since made significant infrastructure investments to accelerate development in the contract area.

Dragon Oil (Turkmenistan) Limited, the group subsidiary charged with operations under the production-sharing agreement, increased production 28% in 2008 at an average rate of 40,992 bopd. With the completion of eight wells in 2009, the group is targeting annual gross production growth of up to 15% on average for the next three years. Up to 35 new wells are expected to be operational by 2011 (iii). Total capital spending on infrastructure is expected to range from $700-800 million and will include two additional platforms, continued construction of a 65-mile trunkline, and Phase 2 expansion of the Central Processing Facility (iv).


"We continue to build momentum toward achieving significant production growth in the coming years," Dragon Oil CEO Abdul Jaleel Al Khalifa commented. "Our infrastructure upgrade and renewal program has showed progress, with the expansion of our export capabilities and the construction of the Dzheitune (LAM) B platform which is being installed in the western part of the Dzheitune (LAM) field."

The new platform will significantly increase production in the Dzheitune field and strengthen Dragon Oil's position as a leading oil producer. Classified as an L-3 automatic platform (occasionally requires presence of personnel), the LAM-B was designed, manufactured, and installed with participation of more than 120 companies. The wellhead platform was installed late last year, 23 months from the start of design work.

Now completed, the Astra jack-up rig arrived in the Cheleken contract area to commence work for Dragon Oil. The rig has been mobilized on the platform and has spudded the Dzheitune (Lam) B/141 development well, which is expected to come on stream soon.

Fast-Track Design Process

CNGS Engineering, a Ukrainian firm headquartered in Simferopol, Crimea, undertook project management, basic and detail design, fabrication of the support jacket and deck sections, and procurement of all platform components including process equipment, control and power supply systems. CNGS executed the engineering design work 1.5 times faster than similar projects in the past.

Given the tight schedule imposed by Dragon Oil, the EPIC contractor elected to design the project using 3D modeling software on MicroStation instead of AutoCAD. "Using modern design methods of Bentley software along with the experience of previous projects enabled the project team and several designers to complete the full scope of the project tasks on a tight schedule without exceeding time limits or budget," said CNGS Engineering Project Manager Alexey Kvasha.

The integrated software solution allowed professionals in process, instrumentation, steel structures, electrical systems, water drainage and sewage, life support and safety systems to work simultaneously on the project. Application of ProjectWise collaboration ensured discipline specialists worked with the most current document versions and managed client change orders with minimal effort. The result was a comprehensive, highly detailed model of the platform that brought the discipline design work together for detection and resolution of conflicts; generation of plans, drawings, and isometrics; and preparation of material takeoffs.


CNGS developed procedures for exchanging 3D design files with third-party software to minimize rework and maintain quality control. For example, Dragon Oil had specified the use of Structural Analysis Computer System (SACS), a finite element structural analysis suite of programs from Engineering Dynamics. The structural model passed seamlessly from Bentley Structural to SACS and back. For design of electrical heating and thermal insulation of the pipelines, CNGS passed the Bentley Piping model to the subcontractor, which then supplied heating cables, junction boxes, power cables, and heat insulation. The piping model was then integrated into the comprehensive platform model.

Two months into design, the platform model was sufficiently detailed to begin fabrication of the support jackets and topside modules as well as plan for transportation from the fabrication facility to the installation site. "Availability of the comprehensive, highly detailed model allowed for accurate determination of the center of gravity of the installation modules, leading to safe load-out of the modules onto the transportation barges," Kvasha said.

3D Model Guides Installation

A portion of the design work was executed in the field where technical supervision engineers received specifications from equipment suppliers. Any necessary design changes were introduced into the 3D platform model and, consequently, into the design documentation. Kvasha noted, "This allowed for prompt elimination of emergent controversies and avoidance of downtime for the installation team in wait for design-office decision making."

The comprehensive platform model was used as a visual representation of the structure during construction and was integral to the quality-management system as technical-supervision engineers checked for accuracy of the installation. The model itself proved to be quite accurate, requiring minimal change orders from the field due to clashes and interferences. "The installation works on steel structures, process equipment, and pipelines demonstrated a significant decrease in the number of clashes, intersections, and disagreements compared to earlier projects on offshore fixed platforms," Kvasha concluded.

The comprehensive platform model will be delivered to Dragon Oil for use during facility operation and maintenance. The model is an accurate as-built of the platform and systems so it will facilitate future modifications. It will also allow the operator to track the service life of equipment installed on the platform.

The application of a proven project management methodology, engineering design collaboration technology, and comprehensive 3D modeling allowed a relatively small team of discipline specialists to deliver the EPIC LAM-B platform project in near record time.



(i) Lester W. Grau, "Hydrocarbons and a New Strategic Region: The Caspian Sea and Central Asia," Military Review, May-June 2001 (bttp://www.globalsecurity. org/military/library/report/2001/hydrocarbons.htm)

(ii) Elizabeth Adams and James Herron, "UPDATE: Dragon Oil Rebuffs Media Reports On ENOC's Commitment," The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 2, 2009 ( BT-CO-20091202704851.html)

(iii) "Dragon Oil drilling at Dzheitune in Turkmenistan on track after further successful well tests," ProaetiveInvestors, Oct. 14, 2009 ( oil-drilling-at-dzheitune-in-turkmenistan-on-trackafter- further-successful-well- tests--9109.html)

(iv) "Regulatory News," Dragon Oil RNS Number: 1651B, Oct. 22, 2009 (http://www.dragonoil. com/News/RNS_Announcements/RnsNews. aspx?id=24&rid=10241957).

The Author: Cathy Chatfield-Taylor is a Florida-based freelance writer/editor for the infrastructure engineering and construction industry and a frequent contributor to Be Current magazine, a Bentley publication.
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Title Annotation:International Offshore Report; CNGS Engineering; Dragon Oil (Turkmenistan) Limited
Comment:Wellhead platform delivered to Caspian in 23 months.(International Offshore Report)(CNGS Engineering)(Dragon Oil (Turkmenistan) Limited)
Author:Chatfield-Taylor, Cathy
Publication:Pipeline & Gas Journal
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Apr 1, 2010
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