YME Project, a major challenge successfully met
We have positioned ourselves at the global forefront with the removal of an offshore platform in Norway
Words and phrases such as “challenge,” “months of calculations”, “weeks of tests”, “the changing weather conditions of the North Sea”, and “72 hours of continued operation” all describe the removal of the YME offshore unit, a pioneering operation that has made Repsol the first oil and gas company in the world to undertake a project of this nature. Innovation and talent were key: a constantly moving 13,500-metric ton structure had to be removed from the sea. Lifting and transporting it safely to the coast for dismantling was only made possible by the use of the most advanced technology: we were assisted by the Pioneering Spirit Life, a one-of-a-kind ship that measures 382 meters (1,250 feet) in length, specially designed for this type of work and used for the first time in this project.
Specific technologies were also used in the different phases of the operation, in which safety was always the top priority. In order to section the platform, for example, a remotely controlled tool was used to make it possible to accurately and quickly cut the three pillars at the same time. Furthermore, the platform lifting system made it possible to lift the entire structure in just 60 minutes in a single operation, while the Dynamic Positioning System constantly corrected the ship's position at sea.
Our company's ability to innovate was key to removing a constantly moving 13,500-metric ton structure from the sea
We were also aided by the Overall Control System, a system used by NASA in its operations on Mars. This enabled both exhaustive control over the operation on site and the performance of preliminary simulations.
For Vidar Hadland, one of the mechanical engineers of the project, these tests were key to the success of the operation: "We conducted many engineering tests so that, when the real operation began, we were able to undertake it confidently."
But all this technology would have been useless without the talent and dedication of a team of more than 50 professionals, who placed all their knowledge at the service of this unique operation. Their commitment was key to making Repsol an international leader and to establish a turning point in this type of operation.