Polygon on the High Seas

When German-owned and Netherlands-based offshore company decided to shut down one of its oil platforms, the gas and oil company turned, perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, to Polygon in the Netherlands. This led to an atypical assignment for two of Polygon’s technicians, who had to use all of their professional skills to steer the project ashore.

Owing to plummeting gas and oil prices around the world, one of Germany’s leading gas and oil companies, recently decided to shut down one of its oil platforms for five years. Restarting production later necessitates that all equipment on-board is preserved in top condition. A job that demands an expert.

Michel van Sliedregt, Project Manager at the Technical Restoration Department at Polygon Netherlands, received a call from one of his contacts.

“We worked together in the past with good results. This company is also familiar with our previous, successful offshore assignments in Rotterdam, among others,” says Michel, who did not hesitate to take on the assignment.

The assignment involved deep cleaning and preservation of the on-board equipment, and proved to be a greater challenge than one would imagine. Since the company had already cut back the power supply to a minimum, the two Polygon technicians were unable to use their usual cleaning and drying equipment. Instead, they had to do the work by hand.

“Our technicians worked carefully through the control room, emergency room and power room, which all contain sensitive equipment that needed to be handled with extreme caution,” says Michel.

During the two weeks or so of the assignment, the two Polygon technicians stayed aboard a ship together with the staff from the platform and the subcontractors carrying out other work on the platform. It created a strong sense of fellowship amongst them, where everyone helped out and looked out for one another. An example of this was when Polygon’s technicians helped them to put up solar panels to get some additional power.

Once all areas were given a deep clean, it was time to begin the equipment preservation process. This also required some innovative thinking from Polygon.

“We simply did the same thing as when you ship goods in containers all over the world – we protected the sensitive equipment with silica gel.”

A ship loaded with silica gel, ranging from centimetre-sized pieces to large blocks, arrived at the platform and Polygon’s technicians went to work. All sensitive equipment is now carefully protected to withstand the salt water and harsh weather. To be on the safe side, they will be going back in a year’s time to replace all the gel.

The customer is more than satisfied with Polygon’s work and has already announced other potential offshore assignments.

“If gas and oil prices continue to drop, there will be discussions about temporarily shutting down more platforms. If this happens, they will want us on-site again to optimally protect their equipment,” concludes Michel van Sliedregt.