Booming demands for
gas requires expansion

For over 15 years NAM, a Shell/Exxon Joint Venture, stores natural gas in an underground gas storage (UGS). Most of this gas is produced from the ‘Groningen Gas Field’ and the smaller gas fields located at the North Sea. This gas is stored during the summer period when the demand is low and produced during the winter when the demands are high. To maintain its function properly with the decreasing volume of the Groningen field, the capacity of the UGS Norg has to be doubled before the end of March 2015. This challenging so-called ‘Norg Expansion Project’ can only be successful if logistics and construction are tuned as efficient as possible. For this challenge Wagenborg was awarded the contract for the storage, lifting, rigging and transport during the shutdown of the UGS at plant in Norg.

Efficient construction by using Wagenborg’s warehouse

To support the Norg Expansion Project Wagenborg established a dedicated warehouse at one of their nearby locations for the storage of all materials in a 1,500 m2 indoor warehouse and 5,000 m2 outdoor storage area. All pre-fabricated parts and equipment required for this expansion project are transported to this warehouse, where they are stored and administrated under supervision of Wagenborg. The cargo varies from screws and bolts to 60 tons transformers, 70 tons compressors and spool pipes measuring 26m.

By using this warehouse the stock on site is kept to a minimum. The most important advantage of this is that the construction crew is forced to plan their work ahead and avoid the risk of improper use of materials or damage to materials. When the construction supervisors need certain materials they call off materials in small quantities from the warehouse, after which Wagenborg takes care of just-in-time delivery of the required parts. By usingthe warehouse construction is executed as efficient as possible. 

Crawler cranes take care of heavy lifts

Early 2014, the first equipment was deployed at the UGS to execute pre-stop activities. The UGS in Norg was ‘painted red’ with multiple mobile cranes and tower cranes to assist the construction works by lifting parts to their positions. Two large crawler cranes installed some heavy components of around 70 tonnes, such as four cooler banks, a compressor and a motor. With Wagenborg’s Liebherr LR1400, configured with a main boom, and Liebherr  LR1750, configured with a main boom, luffing jib and super lift counterweight, these heavy units were easily lifted in position. Subsequently the systems related to these units could be installed, for which piping, cabling and other equipment and materials were Needed again from the warehouse. “Wagenborg’s combination of transport, cranes and warehousing is a distinctive logistics concept, which fits perfectly our way of working”, states Hans Frieling, Lead Construction Manager GLTPlus.

And then the shutdown start…

In July, the busiest period began, with more than 1,000 employees working simultaneously on the project. During this period, many Wagenborg employees were involved: planners, QHSE representatives, supervisors, riggers, truck drivers, crane operators and other support personnel. Equipment deployed comprised 21 cranes, with a lifting capacity ranging from 30 to 750 tonnes and several trucks with trailers. People and equipment were involved from several the Wagenborg branch offices in the Netherlands. All materials present at the warehouse had to be installed on site before December 2014 when the USG has to be ready for the upcoming winter.

A safe and successful close of the project

In December 2014, the UGS was ready to recommence production. The full shutdown operation went according to plan and all parties involved can be satisfied with the results of this huge project. The installation started up on schedule and, most importantly, all work was carried out safely without compromising the predetermined safety and quality concessions. 

The most important issue during our projects is safety. We do not accept any concessions on this subject. Only the highest safety level is acceptable and only contractors who meet these requirements are able to participate. During the project these safety standards were tested constantly and time after time Wagenborg proved to be working in accordance with the highest standards and to the full satisfaction of our client.