Pioneering Spirit world record

The heavy lift vessel Pioneering Spirit installs the 26,000 tonne processing platform at the Johan Sverdrup field center in March 2019. The lift set the single-lift world record Photo: Equinor

Record-Setting Pioneering Spirit Wins Installation Work

Mike Schuler
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December 22, 2022

Swiss offshore engineering company Allseas has been awarded an offshore installation contract for its one-of-a-kind heavy lift vessel Pioneering Spirit.

The contract was awarded Aker BP for the NOAKA area development in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, approximately 200 km northwest of Stavanger. The contract includes the single-lift transport and installation of a new processing platform with well bay area and living quarters.

The award follows the completion of front-end engineering and design (FEED) work that began in September 2021 to tailor the job to the Pioneering Spirit’s record-setting single-lift capability.

An illustration of the processing platform topsides facility for the NOAKA area development. Credit: Allseas

Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit is the largest offshore construction vessel ever built, designed for single-lift installation and removal of large oil and gas platforms weighing up to 48,000 metric tons. The ship entered service in 2016 and has already set a number of offshore lifting records, including the world’s heaviest lift record with the removal of the 24,000 metric ton Brent Delta platform in 2017—a record it later broke.

The contract with Aker BP further confirms Pioneering Spirit’s suitability for offshore installation work in addition to decommissioning projects.

The vessel conducted its first installation work in 2018 with installation of a 22,000 metric ton drilling topside for the massive Johan Sverdrup offshore oil field development operated by Equinor. The vessel then set a new lifting record in 2019 with the installation of Johan Sverdrup’s 26,000 metric ton processing platform topsides AND an 18,000 metric ton living quarters topsides. With a combined weight of 44,000 metric tons, the entire operation—from lifting the processing platform to releasing the lifting quarters—took less than 72 hours to complete.

Pioneering Spirit will execute the work for Aker BP in 2026.

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