Heavylift / Breakbulk
Out of the ground
The Algerian state-owned oil corporation Sonatrach is seeking to increase its production volumes by investing in the modernisation of one of its key facilities. Sarens deployed its heavylift cranes to lift a 188 t column there.
The health of the Algerian economy relies heavily on the oil and gas sector; the Maghreb state is ranked amongst the world’s top 20 oil producers. Its government makes sure the industry remains up to date through commensurate investment. Since 2010 the state-owned oil corporation Sonatrach has been modernising its refinery in Sidi Arcine, south of Algiers. It has been operational since 1964 and can refine around 60,000 barrels of oil a day. The USD 400 million of investments has been designed to increase its capacities from 2.7 to 3.6 million t annually. These efforts saw the Belgian heavylift specialist Sarens in action. It was mandated with deinstalling the refinery’s main column. Engineering firms were then in charge of replacing it with a new one.
Sarens deployed two cranes on the task. One of them was already in Algeria, the other one had to be shipped in from Belgium to the site, where it was rigged in a fortnight. Lifting the 188 t old column, which measured 44 x 34 m, and replacing it with the new one, took substantially longer, however. Sarens’ crane operators and lifting supervisor were in action for a total of three months, mobilising, executing and demobilising the infrastructure for the job.
Sarens was in other action in Africa, more than 6,500 km south of Algiers, in Mozambique, where it recently opened a branch office. This was also motivated by the strong presence there of the oil and gas industry. Major natural gas reserves off the country’s coast in the Indian ocean are due to be opened up, and Sarens wants to help establish the requisite infrastructure. mw