Two of Crowley's high-deck strength barges, 455-3 and Marty J, towed by tugs Warrior and Commander, transported processing and utility modules, and other smaller structural components more than 8,000 miles from Gulf Island Fabricators in Houma, Louisiana, to Point Oliktok in Kuparuk, Alaska. The modules and components, each weighing nearly 4,000 tons, will support Eni’s development of the Nikaitchuq oil field. The oil recovered from the field will be the first from the North Slope not processed by facilities owned by BP or Conoco Philips.
The Crowley team needed to move 8,000 tons of cargo more than 8,000 miles on high-deck-strength barges, transiting the Panama Canal and navigating Alaska’s polar-ice pack (large areas of frozen seawater that break apart and retreat from the shoreline typically during six to eight weeks during the summer). The ice-clogged Beaufort Sea on the way to Point Oliktok, which is notorious for adverse weather conditions, including fog and high winds, only added to the challenge.
In order to support the extremely high-point loads of the cargo, the Crowley team designed and installed an internal stiffening system to strengthen the deck where required. They also monitored NOAA’s weather reports, and embarked on flying ice patrols to help guide the barges safely through the berg-lined waterways, a hazard for vessels and their hulls. Upon arrival in Point Oliktok, the extremely heavy cargo was unloaded by hydraulic trailers and delivered successfully to their Point Oliktok foundations.
The ENI sealift project was a collaborative effort involving teams from Crowley and its subsidiary, Jensen Maritime. Included were project management, marine, cargo and engineering experts who had vast experience working in the Arctic waters. They facilitated the safe delivery of the cargo on time. The project was completed within budget and without harm to any people or the environment.
Crowley specializes in providing transportation, logistics, project management, marine consulting, and risk assessment services in some of the most challenging environments in the world. From the North Slope of Alaska, to the Russian Far East, to Africa, to the deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Crowley has the experience, the experts and the equipment to handle any project anywhere.