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    Maureen refloated

    Projects and Operations // July 27, 2001
    Phillips Petroleum has announced that the Maureen Alpha platform was successfully refloated on 26 June, 2001. The operation took 60 hours to complete and the platform has been towed to Stord, Norway, where it will be moored at a deepwater location.

    The refloat involved releasing the platform from the seabed by injecting water under the bases to create upward force, at the same time de-ballasting the seawater in the three tanks which form the base of the structure. As the water was pumped out of thetanks nitrogen was simultaneously introduced into them in order to maintain internal pressure.

    The platform was slowly released from the seabed and refloated in a safe and controlled manner. The seawater displaced from the tanks was pumped into a dedicated tanker and will be taken to an accredited onshore facility at Sture, Norway, for cleaning and disposal.

    The refloat of the Maureen platform is an important component of Phillips' decommissioning programme for the removal of its offshore oil production facilities located in Block 16/29A of the UK North Sea, which were operational from 1983 to 1999.

    The platform is the largest and heaviest non-concrete structure in the North Sea, weighing 110,000 tonnes. It is a unique steel gravity-based installation, which was designed and constructed to be refloated and re-used. Phillips began planning for the refloat in 1993 and since that time has carried out numerous engineering studies, modelling tests and other detailed surveys and assessments to ensure the success of this unique and unprecedented operation.

    In accordance with the waste hierarchy (reduce, re-use, recover, dispose) the Maureen owners' preferred option for the platform is to secure a full re-use opportunity as an oil production facility. Should this not be achievable, partial re-use options are also being considered in preference to full deconstruction and recycling operations.

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