In 2000, the Malampaya deep-water gas project was the start of the natural gas industry in the Philippines. Today, the Malampaya site, situated some 50 km off the coast of Palawan, delivers up to 45 percent of Luzon’s electricity requirements using indigenous resources of natural gas.

Whilst working for Arup, UWA’s Senior Research Fellow Dr Andrew Grime recently helped to develop key structural and geotechnical innovations to extend the life of the existing field.

Last week Andrew spoke to a full house at the Shell-EMI Offshore Engineering briefing about the design, fabrication and installation of the innovative self-installing Depletion Compression Platform (DCP), which was installed adjacent to the existing Shallow Water Platform (SWP), and provides additional compression services to the existing facility.

This technology, originally implemented by Arup in 2001 for the West Natuna development, was the first of its kind for operator Shell. The DCP performed as anticipated during the installation phase, and will contribute to the maintenance of future energy supplies that will power a third of homes and businesses in the Philippines.  

“The new platform was installed in early 2015 and what makes it so unique is that there is no need for large specialised vessels to be used during the installation process. The inbuilt jacking system enabled the 80 metre legs to be jacked down to the seabed and lift the platform from the water into its final position.

“The barge was jacked into position within two days which allowed us to have rapid access to commence the weld out operations,” he said. 

The self-installing platforms have many benefits in that they are relatively low in cost, they use simple fabrication techniques, permit rapid construction times, only require a limited offshore spread during installation, and have the ability to be wet-towed for some distance.

Both the SWP and the DCP are designed to withstand the significant typhoons and earthquakes of the region.

Further details about this development are reported in the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference paper Design and Installation of the Malampaya Depletion Compression Platform.

The joint venture project partners were Shell Philippines Exploration, BV (SPEX), Chevron Malampaya, and the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC).

Andrew is currently Manager of the Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Offshore Floating Facilities at UWA, which is a multi-disciplinary research group set up to tackle the critical engineering challenges faced by offshore oil and gas projects  through creating improved design and operating procedures for industry.

Prior to taking on this role, his work for Arup focused on the design of offshore structures, including steel self-installing platforms and concrete gravity structures. 

Each month the Shell-EMI Offshore Engineering initiative holds a series of lunchtime briefings at UWA’s CBD offices for an invited industry audience. The presenters from industry and academia cover topics of oceanography, offshore geomechanics, soil characterisation, foundation engineering and seabed mobility. 

Media reference

EMI Communications Coordinator Nicola Holman +61 439 906 200