The maritime fleet of KEPCO, which became operational in 2009, includes one semi-submersible platform known as Iran Amir-Kabir and three support vessels known as Caspian vessels. Ever since becoming operational, certified domestic companies have conducted regular annual inspections on the KEPCO fleet.
“As far as Caspian vessels are concerned, necessary certificates have been renewed three times. Following the last round of inspection by Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) and the (DNV) classification society, KEPCO is required to conduct underwater reparations,” he said.
“Regarding Caspian 1 and Caspian 2 vessels, inspection for issuing certificate was conducted up to March 2018 by applying alternative methods. After that, based on PMO requirements, renewal of certificate for vessels would be possible after reparation of the hull and equipment under water,” he added.
Certificate a Must
Osouli touched on the necessity of conducting such inspections, saying: “Without renewing certificate for vessels, they cannot operate in the Caspian Sea. Nor is it possible to support Platform Iran Amir-Kabir.”
“In fact, Caspian 1 and Caspian 2 vessels are needed for any displacement and support of platforms. Without them, any operation would hit snags,” he said.
Based on regulations set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and classification societies, maritime vessels are inspected within specific periods of time. Special inspection is also carried out for renewal of certificates for vessels. That may be done after overhaul at the discretion of the classification society. That is in addition to annual inspection of vessels.
16 Subsystems Overhauled
Regarding the latest situation of Iran Amir-Kabir, Osouli said: “The Iran Amir-Kabir semisubmersible platform has been also inspected by several renowned companies. Some activities like replacement of equipment, upgrading the anti-corrosion system on the platform structure are needed. Such activities have been designed and carried out under water. The machinery and equipment of the platform have been prepared based on the recommendations of the manufacturer and the functionality of equipment in offshore drilling, controls, seawater cooling, safety, environment, painting and so on.”
According to him, planning and overhaul of equipment on each drilling platform – whether onshore or offshore – would require necessary readiness for the future objectives of the functionality of platforms. To that effect, overhaul and commodity supply of 16 subsystems has been envisaged. These foreign-made systems have been overhauled fully by domestic entities. They are dismounted, serviced and assembled based on international standards.
Noting that there are some challenges in the engineering, procurement and implementation sectors and given the uniqueness of some equipment, he said access to services was a major challenge.
Osouli said: “After nearly 11 years since this unique platform, which symbolizes the firmness and honor of Iran’s petroleum industry in the Caspian Sea, and in light of operations carried out by this structure over recent years, based on expert inspections and visits, it was concluded that in a bid to prevent excessive rusting and corrosion, platforms needed fundamental painting. The contractor was notified of painting in an agreement signed last August.”
Overhaul of Platform Residence
Osouli also touched on changes in the residential atmosphere of the platform, saying: “After KEPCO’s technical experts studied the circumstances, the conditions were assessed as unsuitable for living because of no overhaul during 11 years, installation of the platform at different drilling locations, settlement of various contractors and depreciation of piping systems. Therefore, necessary measures were taken for reparation.”
Overhaul of Generators
Osouli touched on 24,000 hours of overhaul on four generators of Iran Amir-Kabir Platform by relying on domestic experts, saying: “Since all equipment on the platform is directly or indirectly fed by electrical energy supplied by generators, this section has to be monitored regularly. In fact, the unfavorable conditions of the engines prioritized the process of their overhaul by KEPCO. A tender bid was held, and contractor was chosen.”
Upgrading Industrial Automation
He also referred to the overhaul of the industrial automation system of Iran Amir-Kabir, saying: “Since long time has passed since safety and firefighting equipment were installed, in a bid to protect standards and respect safety requirements of the platform and equipment, necessary action must be taken for renovating the equipment. For this purpose, necessary actions have been taken to choose an experienced Iranian contractor.”
Osouli also referred to the latest overhaul measures carried out on subsea equipment of Iran Amir-Kabir, saying: “The last test was conducted in 2014.”
He said that due to no drilling since that date, equipment has been just occasionally overhauled.
“Due to budget limitations, overhaul has been based on verification based on standard tests and minimizing necessary repair and spare parts. KEPCO engineers have handled this task effectively to prevent any imposition of financial burden on the company,” he added.
Osouli expressed hope that after undergoing overhaul and renovation, KEPO would be ready to carry out drilling in the Caspian Sea this year.