Saipem ramping up work ahead of Liza Destiny arrival; in-country fabrication planned for Phase 2

Saipem's Georgetown, Guyana facility.

Over the next few months Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem will be ramping-up operations offshore Guyana as preparatory work gets underway ahead of the arrival of the Liza Destiny in Q3.

This includes a survey of the sea floor by the Neptune to determine where pipes are to be laid followed by the arrival of the Saipem FDS 2, the vessel that will install the more than 6,000 pieces of pipes at the Liza field for the Phase 1 Development.  The ultra deepwater construction DP 3 vessel, Saipem Constellation, will also arrive in Guyana later this year to connect the Liza Destiny FPSO to subsea equipment for oil production, set to begin by 2020.

“This vessel will come in with about 300 manpower onboard…which means there must be aback-to-back turnover which will require about 700 people coming into Guyana and going offshore, utilizing a number of services in-country,” Saipem Guyana Country Manager, Thuranthiran Nadarajah, told OilNOW.

Development work has been ongoing at Saipem Guyana’s Water Street, Georgetown facility

Saipem Guyana Country Manager, Thuranthiran Nadarajah, speaking to OilNOW at the company’s Georgetown facility.

which sits on the eastern bank of the Demerara River. Nadarajah said while the ongoing work is in preparation for Liza Phase 1, all the major activities are also being done to facilitate the second phase of the Liza development.

Saipem announced on August 21, 2018 that it had secured contracts for the second phase of the Liza development to the tune of 700 million USD. These contracts, assigned by Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), an affiliate of ExxonMobil, as the project operator, are in addition to those awarded to Saipem in 2017 for Liza Phase 1.

“The foundation work currently being undertaken actually has substantial amount of ability to do the second phase where we will be able to do some fabrication in-country and that fabrication will lead to additional more bigger structure fabrication. So, we are planning in a very controlled and staged manner in order to have a sustainable programme where Saipem’s footprint will be in Guyana for the long term” he said.

The Country Manager said Saipem’s ability to deliver on time is one of the key factors enabling the company to secure major contracts such as those for the Liza Development. Doing so, with safety as a top priority, he said, means utilizing world-class facilities and highly skilled personnel.

“Having said that, we need to see what are the infrastructure that is available in Guyana in order for us to be able to deliver the time and the work scope that is required. When we did the initial investigation we could not find any structure or base which has got enough strength to be able to sustain heavy loads where we would be able to fabricate, for example, the jumpers or even any subsea structures which is heavy that needs to be offloaded onto a vessel where we need a strong jetty, which is not available,” he pointed out.

Nadarajah said it would be much more cost-effective for the company to utilize these services in-country rather than having to procure them from other locations.

“That’s why we are working behind the scenes with local companies to try and build the foundation and build the infrastructure and transfer the knowledge…For example, we need welders, we need technicians, material, equipment, we need blasting, painting, scaffolding; anything related to fabrication, we need it,” he stated.

Having these things available locally at the safety and standards required will be pivotal in seeing more services being utilized in Guyana. “For Saipem, we don’t look at profit as the component, we look at safety as the component. We are a strong believer in doing something safe which will eventually give us the profit,” he said.

Saipem has been collaborating with the University of Guyana and is working with the Government Technical Institute to help build capacity and has already been able to train and employ Guyanese in this regard.

“We’ve had our welding and fabrication team in town visiting the Government Technical Institute to see their facility and to see how we can assist. We are working with some vendors to collaborate in order to bring the welders to be upgraded, to be trained to be able to be used by us for the next phase,” Nadarajah stated.

Saipem is one of the world leaders in drilling services, as well as in the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of pipelines and complex projects, onshore and offshore, in the oil and gas market.