Giant ‘Pioneering Spirit’ Moves One Step Closer to Delivery

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August 1, 2016

Pioneering Spirit (formerly Pieter Schelte). Photo: Allseas

Offshore pipeline installation, heavy lift and subsea construction company Allseas has announced that its giant Pioneering Spirit has completed commissioning of the Topsides lift system in Alexia harbor, Rotterdam, bringing one of the most anticipated vessels of the last decade one step closer to delivery.

All twelve installed topsides lifting beams on board the single-lift installation/decommissioning and pipelay vessel Pioneering Spirit have been tested to their respective lift capacities of nearly 3,700 metric tons. The last of the four tests, involving four beams lifting 14,700 tonnes, was performed on July 23. During harbor lifting trials the twelve beams together lifted over 44,000 tonnes.

Pioneering Spirit is expected to perform offshore trials and the test platform topsides installation and removal exercises in the Southern North Sea throughout August.

At 382 meters (1,253 feet) long by 124 meters wide (407 feet), the Pioneering Spirit (formerly Pieter Schelte) is one of the biggest ships ever constructed. The unique catamaran-like vessel will be used to install and remove decommissioned topsides and jackets of large offshore oil and gas platforms of up to 48,000 tonnes in the North Sea with a single lift. The vessel is also equipped for laying large pipelines with a capacity which will also make it the largest pipelay vessel. The vessel has been in Rotterdam since January 2015 for final construction after arriving from the DSME shipyard in South Korea, where it had been under construction since at least 2010.

Pioneering Spirit’s first job, removal of the 13,500 tonne Yme mobile offshore production unit (MOPU) offshore Norway for Repsol, is planned to occur following successful completion of the August test program, and once all other necessary prerequisites and approvals are in place.

Following removal of the Yme platform, Pioneering Spirit will return to Rotterdam where the remaining four topsides lifting beams will be installed for the Shell Brent Delta topsides removal, scheduled for the summer of 2017.

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