Sophisticated noise enclosures for compressors on oil platform

Jon Lawson

Merford and Siemens deliver mega project off the Norwegian coast

Siemens in the Netherlands was commissioned by Aker Solutions in Norway to develop the compressor skids for the Edvard Grieg oil platform.

Siemens then approached Merford Noise Control to develop and build high quality noise enclosures for the compressors. All parties worked intensively together to deliver this huge and complex project on time. And they were successful. The oil platform recently went into operation.

The new platform was required to comply in all respects with NORSOK, strict standards developed by the Norwegian petroleum industry. Because of the noise involved in pushing gas through the pipelines, NORSOK stipulates that all compressor trains must be fitted with noise reduction enclosures that need to be considered as working environment.

Mark Schreijer from Siemens says, “For Merford, working with NORSOK was new. Fortunately, we knew what to do. From the very start of the project, we were both intensively involved in the design, production and all the other issues. This was absolutely necessary for the successful completion of this project. The NORSOK standards related to nearly every aspect and every part of every installation on the oil platform. Not only to all the materials used, but also their treatment and processing. For example, steel may only be used from steel manufacturers with a NORSOK certificate.”

Challenging specifications

The noise enclosures needed to be effective in three areas. Firstly, they had to reduce noise. Pressing gas through the pipelines is a very noisy process, with many high tones. This noise can rise to sound pressure levels of approximately 95 dB(A). The Merford enclosures easily reduce this to well below the required level. The enclosures must also be explosion-proof. Stef Zoeteman from Merford explains: “If there were to be an explosion on the platform, further escalations need to be prevented. The noise enclosures are designed in such a way that no parts can fly off which ­ as a result of the explosion ­ could lead to new explosions or calamities on other parts of the platform.” Siemens and Merford therefore completely recalculated the initial design and challenged the blast specifications. This resulted in an optimised and weight-saving blast philosophy whereby the enclosures can deform plastically where allowed and deform elastically where critical parts are fitted on the compressor skid.

Finally, the enclosures had to ensure that the compressor trains would not be affected by weather conditions. However, these were not the only requirements, adds Zoeteman: “The noise enclosures on the oil platform were to have the design and functionality allowing service, maintenance and inspection - both for outside and inside. Because the enclosure is a working environment it was equipped with lifting points, lighting, gas and fire detection and a deluge system. We applied our own design philosophy in this.”

Shipping to Norway

Shipping to Norway took place in the spring of 2014. The completely assembled enclosures were shipped on specially designed transport frames. On arrival in Norway, the huge structures ­ the biggest enclosure is 16.8m long, 5m wide, 5.6m high and weighs 34.2 tons ­ were lifted in one go over the compressor skids onto the platform, leaving only millimetres on all sides. This was a massive and risky operation, but was nevertheless completed in less than an hour. In December the platform started operation, and successfully. For Siemens and Merford, the production and delivery of the compressor skids and the noise enclosures were an exciting process. “Together, we didn’t deliver a standard solution, but a real state-of-the-art engineering product. We should be proud,” says Zoeteman.

Recent Issues