TC Extension Deck – Product Explainer
We interviewed Thunder Cranes (Thailand) sales manager Finian Chin to get an insight into the “TC Extension Deck” – what it is, how it’s used and why it is increasingly in demand.
What is the TC Extension Deck?
Very briefly our TC Extension Deck is a steel deck assembled in modules, that can be placed on top of our TC Beams, providing a safe, stable surface for staging equipment and contractor packages while working on offshore platforms.
TC Extension Deck, TC Beams and TC Rental Cranes are normally combined together in one package. For our TC90 crane the TC Extension Deck is 10.6 metres x 7.6 metres and can hold 56.5 metric tons of equipment.
What is the purpose of the TC Extension Deck?
The main purpose of the TC Extension Deck is to maximise the usable area on a platform when working with our pedestal cranes. We provide offshore lifting support for rig-less P&A, well intervention, and facilities engineering projects, where space is limited, and in many cases the TC Extension Deck has become essential not only for space but also for safety.
In some cases our TC Beams and TC Extension deck are required by clients as a stand-alone product (without the TC Crane), when there is a temporary need for more space on a platform.
How does the TC Extension Deck address safety concerns?
Offshore platforms can become overly congested and having more space is a first step to a safer working environment. One example of this is so simple yet so important: having more space to position equipment reduces blockage towards emergency exits.
Another way we improve safety with the TC Extension deck is by mitigating point loading caused by large packages directly placed on the platform deck. By placing these packages on the TC Extension deck, the load is spread more evenly via the crane beams through to the platforms main structure.
And finally, the TC Extension Deck itself is ‘over-designed’ in terms of strength and carrying capacity. Furthermore, hand rails and a non-slip, even surface, allow personnel to access and move around the deck safely.
How was the TC Extension Deck developed?
First, we have to note that installing our TC90 crane (which is a portable, modular pedestal crane) on offshore platform requires utilising skid beams on the platform deck.
TC90 skid beams are not just the structure our crane is attached to, they are also designed to distribute the reactions of the crane into the strongest structure of the offshore platform (via platform’s own skid beams).
So in response to our client’s desire for more usable space, it was therefore logical to develop a deck that could “sit” on the TC90 skid beams. This concept was developed one step further by extending and cantilevering the beams and extension deck beyond the edge of the offshore platform itself.
Since our beams can be installed with different lengths, and since the TC Extension Deck itself is modular and lends itself to safe, large configurations, the beams and deck can be installed to cantilever beyond the edge of the offshore platform by approximately 15 feet.
What kind of equipment/materials are generally placed on the TC Extension deck?
The TC Extension Deck is generally used for staging larger equipment and/or packages that require a minimum of movement, or a minimum amount of required access during operations. Commonly, these are the offices, power units and air compressors.
Equipment will be placed according to the ideal weight distribution with heavier equipment towards the ‘inside’ and lighter equipment towards the ‘outside/overhang’ area.
What operational advantages are enabled by the TC Extension Deck?
Maximising space is important and there are so many benefits to this. First and foremost, obviously, is to get the elements necessary for the project staged on the platform. This in turn helps minimise need for standby vessels, barge cranes or lift boats.
In rig-less P&A or WI projects the extra space helps minimize “shuffling” of equipment on deck. For example, where the rig-less unit or HWO moves along skid beams from well-to-well, everything that is in the way has to be shuffled. The less equipment we have to “shuffle” the quicker the work can transition from well-to-well.
In facilities engineering projects, one example where the TC Extension Deck became essential was where booster compressors were to be installed in the cellar deck. To access the cellar deck a large portion the top deck itself had to be opened up, but due to this there was then insufficient space to stage the booster compressor on deck prior to lowering. The booster compressor was therefore staged on the TC Extension Deck.
Why is the TC Extension Deck increasingly in demand?
There has always been a space premium on platforms, perhaps recent demand for the TC Extension Deck is driven by rise in the adoption of “rig-less” methods. In the current price environment, cost-effective rig-less methods have come to the forefront of plug and abandonment, well intervention, and other offshore projects.
Thunder Cranes’ portable, modular cranes are a key component deployed to support rig-less operations and our unique lifting solutions enable our clients to resolve a number of key issues, save time, and reduce costs. The development and implementation of the TC Extension Deck demonstrates the flexibility and “value add” Thunder Cranes brings to the offshore oil and gas industry.