First rotating pipelayer at work on Khurais Mega project
While pipe-laying projects around the world are dominated by sideboom pipelayers, based on the crawler tractor carriage, Volvo Construction Equipment is challenging this conventional work mode with its rotating pipe-layer, based on a crawler excavator undercarriage, which allows 360 degree rotation of the pipe layer’s boom.
Now Volvo CE’s first machine sold by FAMCO in Saudi Arabia is being used on a pipeline project to connect the Khurais oilfield, east of Riyadh, as well as the Abu Jifan and Mazalij oilfields, with Saudi Aramco processing facilities.
The pipeline extension will cover a distance of 150km, and is scheduled to take 27 months to complete.
Designed to work safely next to a variety of machines, including crawler cranes, the PL4608 is working alongside traditional sideboom pipelayers. The machine is handling 56 inch pipe, and is well-suited to the type of pipe used on the project – its hydraulically variable undercarriage, which expands by 500 mm (19.6 inch), provides a highly stable operating platform.
With a best-in-class 80t tipping capacity and the on-board Load Management System (LMS), ensure operator is always aware of which loads they can safely lift. Similarly, the hydraulically elevating cab is appreciated by operators as it not only provides excellent visibility into the trench and improved lateral visibility to other machines on the line, it also offers a better view of personnel on the ground – an important site safety consideration.
“We are proud to be the first pipeline contractor in Saudi Arabia to have a Volvo pipelayer in our fleet,” said Yousef Abu Gafra, manager of equipment operations at Gulf Consolidated Contractors Co. (GCC), the contractor for this project.“No competitor machine is capable of matching the Volvo’s features and performance in terms of safety, operator visibility, stability and the length of the boom.”
“There is no doubt that the PL4608 is a durable and reliable machine,” he continued. “Based on its previous performance and the feedback from our people at this site, we are going to increase the amount of these Volvo machines on our future projects.”
GCC was founded in 2006 and its main activities are in industrial plants and pipeline construction, serving many of the industry’s key clients, including Saudi Aramco.
As on any O&G job-site, safety is paramount, and last month, GCC announced that two million man hours had been achieved without any lost time due to incidents. There are approximately 900 people working on the project with a total of 330 pieces of equipment, including fully and semi-automatic pipe welding machines.
Bringing the Khurais, Abu Jifan and Mazalij oilfields online is set to raise Saudi Arabia’s already enormous oilfield capacity from 11.3 million to 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd).
Saudi Arabia is home to the world’s second largest oil reserves, spread over approximately 100 major oil and gas fields.