Offshore Engineering Marvel

A focus for all NEUMAN & ESSER Sales and Application Centers is to be known as the engineering leader for advanced, customized reciprocating compressor package solutions within their customer base and sales territory. Dating back to May 2014, NEA USA received an engineering order from a prominent oil & gas company to initiate preliminary engineering with a large EPC in the Houston, Texas area. Over the next 21 months, intense project engineering and management resulted in the final fabrication and shipment of this mammoth compressor system in February 2016. The intense engineering on the project was a result of the demanding space requirements, safety protocols and operating conditions that are required for best-in-class offshore equipment.

During those 21 months, many design reviews, requests for clarifications, vendor audits, countless transmittals and progress meetings were held. The NEA USA team responded as quickly and professionally as possible to the EPC and End-User for their various needs. An early indicator for success was the close proximity of the EPC, End-User and NEA USA stakeholders to organize in-person meetings and systematically review documentation and decision requirements.


The major technical demands 

First of all, place two duplicate compressor systems onto one common skid with a very limited space requirement. The NEA 1SZL250hs compressors are to boost a methane rich gas mixture at a flow rate of 40 MMSCFD (45,000 Nm3/h) from 1,230 psig (85 barg) to 1,880 psig (130 barg), which is a fairly straight forward one-stage compressor. However, due to the limited amount of available cooling water, the after coolers were quite large and forced the decision to create a second deck. Additionally, thorough CAD work was required to detail the exact routing of cable trays, tubing and placement of maintenance items to ensure sufficient clearance and access.

Second, to understand, analyze and accurately predict the response of the compressor system’s acoustical and dynamic forces with the supporting platform. A thorough analysis was performed with many detailed reviews to ensure that the platform would have the structural stability to withstand the dynamic forces and vibrations imposed by the compressor skid during operation.

Additionally, one of the unique characteristics of the package design is that both compressor systems combine to form a symmetrical arrangement. In essence, the componentry throughout the skid are mirror images from one compressor system to the other compressor system to help maintenance personnel quickly identify operational items.

The bill of material was procured with stringent quality assurance procedures and the items were sent NEA USA’s packaging partner near Houston. The NEA USA team worked with its packaging partner, EPC, End-User and third party quality assurance personnel to oversee all aspects of fabrication and assembly while maintaining detailed quality documentation and as-built drawings.

Delivering on experience 

In early 2016, the large package that weighed around 320,000 lbs (145,000 kg) was moved as a single lift onto a multi-axle, heavy duty trailer for road transportation to a barge. While this has been NEA USA’s heaviest compressor package and one of its most complicated projects in its 25 year history, the enjoyment, pride and enthusiasm to engineer this marvel leaves the organization ready for its next challenge.

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