PROTEC was contracted to provide the hull ballast control system for the world’s largest semi-submersible production platform. The platform load varies as production volumes in the internal storage tanks increase and decrease. Also the impact of ocean currents and weather conditions on the platform must be compensated for to maintain desirable positioning. The hull ballast control system is used to control the buoyancy, yaw, roll and position of the platform relative to GPS coordinates by adjusting the buoyancy of individual elements of the hull structure. This is done by the use of over 200 hydraulically operated valves. Additionally a system had to be developed that was very reliable and capable of manual control in the event of catastrophic failure including power loss and the potential of hull breach of the platform. Control in an emergency had to be quick, safe and easy.

Since the platform uses over 200 hydraulically operated bilge and ballast valves to accomplish control of the hull position and15 water tight doors for emergency protection from catastrophic hull breach the customer chose a system design that would use automation to accomplish control of the myriad of valves. The system uses two sets of independent controls, each set consisting of an HPU, Solenoid PLC Panel and Accumulator Bank. The accumulator system had to be designed to provide surplus or reserve hydraulic supply that could provide control ability for weeks in case of power loss in the system.

PROTEC did not just build a customer’s design but actually developed the hydraulic control circuitry, emergency control components as well as all packaging of this very complex system. The resulting innovative design allowed for the customer to have emergency control that was at least 4 times as fast as anything produced in the market to date.

Besides the complexity of the system the equipment we provided met USCG and offshore equipment requirements and pressure safety factors of 4:1 or better. The third party QC inspector gave PROTEC significant accolades on the quality of work provided. And most importantly we provided the equipment on time and at a price that proved to be more economical than the customer’s original expectations.