There are a number of salient factors to consider when selecting a flare tip change-out method, including the project duration, the risk of exposure to adverse weather and the impact on the helideck or laydown area.
Vertech Offshore is a Norwegian contractor that specialises in changing flare tips, as well as providing flare deck and flare systems maintenance for oil and gas platforms.
The company has a track record of 350 offshore flare tips change-out operations with zero time lost accidents, and is committed to offering customers safe, well-trusted and efficient solutions for all their flare tip needs.
Flare tip change-out for offshore platforms
Vertech projects are primarily carried out with helicopters and are usually completed within a single day, making the process a safe and fast proven method of maintaining offshore flare systems.
The speed of operations will also help minimise impact on the shutdown plan, ensuring flares are available as soon as possible for production start-up or other activities such as leak testing.
Planning services for flare tip replacement projects
Vertech offers a comprehensive range of support services relating to flare tip replacement operations, from assistance in early discussion and project planning, through to safety review meetings and preparation of operations manuals. The company provides all the necessary tools, equipment and personnel to facilitate flare tip and flare deck maintenance works on a lump-sum basis.
The company regards the safety and protection of worksite personnel to be the most important factor in any shutdown activity, and has presided over more than 350 helicopter-based flare-changing projects across a 20-year period, without ever experiencing an accident or major safety incident.
This record exemplifies Vertech’s detailed understanding and appreciation of the careful planning and execution required to carry out these types of maintenance works.
Onshore flare maintenance
While offshore operations are Vertech Offshore’s main focus as an organisation, the company’s services are also implemented to repair, maintain or replace onshore flares using either a helicopter or a crane.
The company has specially fabricated tools to complete work efficiently, along with a team of dedicated, highly competent staff with years of combined experience and expertise in their specialist areas.
Flare deck maintenance for the oil and gas industry
Flare tip, flare deck maintenance and upgrade, ignition systems replacement and handrail removal are among the number of specialist solutions offered by Vertech, in addition to a number of bespoke maintenance study programmes designed to address clients’ individual requirements.
Riser systems maintenance or replacement has been undertaken, along with flare tower extension and upgrade.
Specialised lifting operations for marine locations
Vertech Offshore’s quick and unique services are mainly carried out using helicopters. This innovative approach is especially suitable for a wide range of lifting operations where traditional access methods may prove problematic, and crane systems cannot be easily installed.
Helicopter-based activities can sometimes lead to weight being a limiting factor. However, this obstacle can be minimised by stripping systems down to core components.
The company’s specially equipped helicopters can lift up to 9t, though standard operations do not usually require loads in excess of 4t.
Vertech also has experience in dealing with various non-flare systems, including:
- Gas turbine exhaust systems
- Drilling system crown block maintenance
- Crane jib systems
- Flare boom access ladder replacement
- Flare riser replacement (a single lift of 50m riser pipe)
- Flare tower extensions and replacement
Extensive project planning procedures for minimal risk operations
After receiving a project brief from the customer, Vertech promptly begins gathering and analysing all essential data and information related to the site and the proposed undertaking.
The company is then able to commence with in-depth planning and preparation for necessary lifting operations.
Vertech commissions the production of an extensive operations manual containing all salient details relevant to every project it carries out. This includes safety reviews, helicopter operations, communications, lifting equipment and certification, in addition to a complete method statement, as well as fully detailed lifting plans.
Safety review meetings are held with the client, which may potentially form part of a hazard and operability study (Hazop) process, before the finished operations manuals are delivered, and mobilisation plans are finalised and agreed.
Helicopter-based flare tip replacement for optimised efficiency
Helicopter-based flare tip replacement systems are advantageous over competing crane-based systems, as they only require a few minutes of optimum weather conditions to complete the flying portion of the change-out procedure.
The lifting operations do not require structural assessment or changes to the deck to take increased crane loading, as the flares are lifted directly by the helicopter off and back onto the risers designed to take the flare loads.
The constraints have proven to be less severe than many other systems, with wind speeds limited by personnel on the flare deck at 25kn-30kn. The speed and efficiency of the operation means significant delays and disruptions are far less likely to occur as a result of severe weather.
This is particularly relevant for floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) operations, where vessel movement can be critical.