A leading Dutch energy firm, Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V. (NAM) has purchased five highly specialist service vehicles developed by Cargotec, each complete with two purpose-built Hiab cranes.
NAM Well Service is the servicing division of NAM, the largest gas producer in the Netherlands. It has purchased the five new high specification vehicles from Cargotec to raise the bar in terms of the safety, speed and efficiency of its servicing operations.
The principle role of the division is to ensure that all oil and gas wells under its jurisdiction are always functional. This can involve regular maintenance or emergency repairs and both require a process called wire line well intervention. The basic principle used to service wells has been the same for 100 years. The technique involves a steel wire being inserted down to depths of up to 4km below the earth’s surface to clean, repair or replace the damaged part.
During the servicing or repair process gas can enter the atmosphere so it is therefore imperative that no sparks occur and safety becomes of paramount importance.
An integral part of wire line maintenance or repair are the service vehicles which attend the scene, housing much of the equipment used in the process. They are traditionally fitted with an extended boom to support and control the wire line as it is inserted into the well. Since 1994, this role has been performed for NAM Well Service by seven DAF trucks fitted with Hiab cranes. However, after 16 years of impressive service, the company decided to upgrade the fleet.
It enlisted the proven services of Cargotec to develop a product using its Hiab brand of truck mounted crane technology. After extensive development and modification work to meet the needs of NAM Well Service, Cargotec successfully designed, built and delivered the five new multi-faceted trucks to unrivalled specifications.
The final solution comprises a DAF truck with load platform to which two Hiab cranes and a Rotzler winch are affixed. The first Hiab boom is a 477 T5 stiff boom model which extends to a maximum height of 21.3m (needed to feed the wire line through the top of the lubricator assembly). The second is a 055 DS variant which lifts a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) to a height of 7.5m.
With the addition of a host of specialist features, remote control for all functions, and ATEX zone 1 certification – achieved by ensuring that all electrical power can be removed from both booms and vehicle chassis when operating – the trucks are truly unique and provide a tailor-made solution which could potentially revolutionise wire line well servicing worldwide.
Jan Kuipers, Team Leader Wire-Line at NAM Well Service, said: "We originally used service trucks from another supplier but the performance, service and spare parts ability were all sub-standard. In 1994, Hiab developed a new truck-mountable crane perfect for use in the oil and gas industries due to its long boom. We took delivery of seven, mounted on DAF trucks, and they have served us well for many years.
"However, the latest order, the result of ongoing and successful co-operation between NAM and Cargotec, takes our servicing capability to new levels in terms of the speed with which we can respond and the safety for those working at the well.
"The two companies worked closely together throughout the development stage and each time we posed a question, or needed to adapt the specification, Cargotec was able to provide a solution. The result means that when required, a radius of up to 7.5 metres from the well is entirely free of electrical current.
"The safety benefits of this ATEX zone 1 certified solution are crucial for our potentially explosive working environment. No other manufacturer could match this level of electrical performance.
"And with the MEWP and the stiff boom cranes on the same vehicle there is no need for scaffolding alongside the well. Suppliers no longer need to be contacted and coordinated as one vehicle can now travel instantly to the well and resolve the situation. NAM Well Service can now be entirely self sufficient. We have dramatically reduced response times for emergency repairs and can be far more flexible when scheduling for routine maintenance."
Cees Mollema, Segmentation Manager of Cargotec EMEA Customer Solutions, said: "Since their purchase, all five vehicles have been employed five days a week. There is no reason trucks like these cannot be used to meet the need of any well servicing company looking for a more effective and safer alternative to traditional methods."