Great achievement for Dogger Bank A

The Dogger Bank A topside has now been completed at Aibel's yard in Thailand and is heading towards Haugesund for further equipment. It is an impressive engineering and construction feat that has been carried out, in very demanding circumstances.

DBA with team
All photos: Aibel

“All credit to everyone involved. The fact that the entire project, including management, engineers, site teams and the operators at the yard in Thailand, has managed to deliver so well on quality and time despite a long list of unforeseen events is absolutely impressive," says Aibel's project director for Dogger Bank, Per Tore Larsen.

Large parts of the project period for the Dogger Bank A wind platform have been characterised by various challenges. The first steel cut was made in August 2020 during the global pandemic, which had forced the entire engineering team to work from home. It also meant that the site team at the yard in Thailand was sent back to Norway for three months and up to 160 people on site have been quarantined at the same time. On top of Covid-19 and the restrictions that followed, the project has been hit by delays due to the blockade of the Suez Canal and delayed steel deliveries due to a ship breakdown in the Mediterranean. Recently, the uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine has also created challenges.

"There has been a tremendous willingness from all parties and a drive to achieve things, which means that despite all the challenges, we now have a module with a completion rate that exceeds previous projects in Thailand. Everyone should be proud of this," explains Larsen, who also points out a curiosity from the weighing of the topside:

“When the topside was weighed before load-out, it almost matched the estimated weight on the kilo. It is an unbelievable result and illustrates the good and close interaction between engineering and fabrication," he says.

DBA leaving the yard area
The finished topside leaving the assembly area at Aibel's yard in Laem Chabang.

Impressive teamwork
Also Aibel's construction manager in Thailand, Frode Johan Saltvedt, praises the entire team. He is both humbled and proud to have been in charge of the construction with such a dedicated and competent team behind him.

“I am deeply impressed by the team spirit and adaptability that all employees have shown in order to solve the challenges along the way, especially with the help of high-quality cooperation between Thailand and Norway. This is the first time we have built a topside in this way, but with the help of both technical solutions and not least the ability to work in parallel with several activities at the same time, we have achieved a short and efficient execution time," he says.

DBA on board Big Lift
The Dogger Bank A topside on board the transport vessel.

While the previous module built at the yard in Thailand, the MSF module of Johan Sverdrup P2, was the heaviest ever moved in Thailand, the Dogger Bank A topside is the largest. In addition, everything is built outside under the open sky with the challenges it entails.

"This makes logistics extra demanding and important. Roughly speaking, only the major HVDC equipment such as the large transformers, valves and converter reactors remain to be installed in Haugesund. Therefore, the module is already equipped with a lot of sensitive equipment, which we must protect from dust and rainfall. This just makes it more impressive that the topside looks so nice and clean both on the outside and inside when we now pass it on," explains Saltvedt.

And it's a proud team that farewells the first ever HVDC converter platform exported from Thailand. Project manager for the Dogger Bank construction department, Thanakorn Wankanapol, highlights some of the key factors for the successful delivery.

"The development of the panel line at Deeline has been important for the fabrication. Key to overcoming various challenges at the assembly yard are the the different meetings established for lead disciplines and coordination across disciplines. A huge thanks to the entire team for the great effort and achievement of all HSEQ KPIs during a challenging period as well," he says.

DBA sailaway
Ready for sailaway.

Further work in Haugesund
The topside is expected to arrive at the yard in Haugesund in the latter half of June, where it will be placed on the upgraded rig quay. Here, several large lifting operations with big and small floating cranes remain in order to put in place transformers, slings and lifting equipment – in addition to many lifts of Hitachi equipment with the yard’s new tower crane.

The majority of Aibel's work on the topside will be completed by mechanical completion in November. Commissioning work then remains until the expected sailaway in early spring 2023.

DBA on its way
Heading for Haugesund, Norway.