Conbit was awarded a contract covering a flare tip handling kit. Its many years of experience in flare tip replacements all over the world convinced the world’s largest flare tip manufacturer to choose Conbit. The combination of experience in the field and the engineering competencies available within Conbit are the perfect combination for supplying this critical piece of equipment.

More and more future operators and owners of new platforms and FPSOs require handling solutions for critical modules on their offshore asset. The flare tip is regarded as a difficult component to handle. Offshore conditions make a flare tip replacement job challenging. Future operators understand that the initial design of their asset has great impact on the total cost of ownership. Realizing the importance of mechanical handling possibilities will save resources in the future. The supply of the flare tip handling kit is an example of this awareness.

The flare tip handling kit allows future flare tip replacements with a system which is available in the operator’s warehouse. Before a planned shutdown, a load test can be conducted and all equipment can be certified again (if necessary). In this way, the system is fit for purpose before the start of the shutdown. Most uncertainties involved in a flare tip replacement job can be eliminated.

The supply of a flare tip handling system is divided into three phases: Engineering, Procurement and Test and packaging.

Engineering

During the engineering phase, a handling concept is prepared. The concept provides the handling philosophy and the starting point for discussion with the client. The concept includes an overview of the required equipment, the location of the various pieces of equipment at deck level and a basic drawing of the lift frame. Some project steps are visualized in 3D for better understanding of the process.

During the first meetings with the client’s engineers, design questions relating to the flare tower, flare tip lay down area and flare tip access platforms are answered. Often design notes are given by the Conbit engineers to optimize the client’s structural design. The design notes are incorporated into the final design of the platform before the fabrication yard starts with the production of the flare tower. On several occasions, the design notes of Conbit’s engineers resulted in a reduction in the weight of the flare tower.

After an agreement on the concept is reached, the basic and detailed engineering phases follow. During the basic engineering phase, the lifting frame is engineered in more detail. The lifting frame is assembled from tubular components. These tubular components are used as standard in many different lifting configurations engineered by Conbit. The wealth of knowledge of these components makes the design efficient. Most components are made of aluminum to keep the weight to a minimum.

The lifting frame is installed on top of a base frame. During a future flare tip replacement project, the base frame will be tied down to the flare tip access platform. The lifting frame is also connected to one or more back struts. Wires or chain hoists tie the back strut(s) to the lifting frame and to the flare tip access platform or base frame. The luffing motion required in the lift frame is created by using the chain hoists which are connected to the back strut. The actual lifting of the flare tip is done with a lift winch at deck level. The lift winch has a winch wire long enough to run to the flare tip access platform and back.

During the basic engineering, the type of winch and other main components are defined. For this latest project, the proposal for the supply of the system was prepared at this point of the engineering phase. Part of the procurement phase was therefore started before the engineering was finished.

Procurement

Conbit uses preferred suppliers for most of the components. Many components like sheaves, blocks, chain hoists and wires are procured from catalogue suppliers, while others require a more stringent procurement process. For these non-standard components, manufacturers must be found which can meet Conbit’s quality level and the standards of the offshore industry. Conbit has extensive experience with many manufacturers and selected the most suitable for the project.

The material specifications are a particular point of attention. All material must correspond with the offshore standards and be traceable throughout the value chain. Painting and conservation requirements also reduce the size of the pool of possible subcontractors. Fortunately Conbit knows how to find the right trustworthy and reliable partners.

All the sub vendors transport the components of the flare tip handling system to the Conbit warehouse. Here all components are scanned and barcoded before being stored until the tests take place.

Test and Packaging

Tests are required to prove that the system is working as it should. In preparation of the test, the flare tip handling system is installed onto a test bed. The winch is reefed into the flare tip handling system. A test load simulates the real load during the tests.

During the load tests, a third party inspector is present to witness the test. Often the load test serves as a Factory Acceptance Test, in which case representatives of the client are present.

After a successful Factory Acceptance Test, the system is dismantled and packed into a 20” container.

The recently completed project for the supply of a flare tip handling kit is one of three ongoing projects for the supply of flare tip handling kits. Conbit is regarded as the world specialist in flare tip handling. Conbit also has flare tip replacement systems and special lifting teams available to carry out flare tip replacements all over the world. Conbit has never come across a flare tip that could not be changed with a Conbit flare tip handling system.

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