Mechanical handling engineering for gas export cooler change out

Skidding and mechanical handling systems are often the only option when critical equipment that needs replaced is inaccessible.


  • Overcame complex mechanical lifting with engineering expertise delivered by a bespoke solution
  • Work scope completed three days ahead of schedule allowing client to begin field start up works early
  • Early demobilisation enabled a positive cost saving for the client.


  • Our client required the removal and replacement of two gas export coolers onboard an FPSO
  • The location of the existing coolers made access difficult
  • From where the coolers were located on the FPSO, to the point where the new coolers were lifted on and the old ones off, was more than 200m
  • The complex nature of the work scope required specialist engineering, design, surverying and planning
  • The client recognised our experience as the best fit for the complexity of the project.


  • An initial survey was carried out by the Altrad Sparrows design team, where key dimensions were taken and a 3D laser scan of the area was completed
  • During this survey, the opportunity was taken to obtain project and asset critical information, such as cooler lifting points, deck loadings, clash points and immovable structures
  • Based on survey information, an engineering story board was created, detailing the change out methodology and initial timeline
  • We supplied our client with specialist lifting and skidding equipment which was fully engineered and manufactured in Aberdeen over a period of six weeks
  • Specialist air skates were manufactured by suppliers to correctly distribute the load, allowing compliance with the advised vessel deck limitations
  • Bespoke long travel runaway beams were also manufactured to replace the existing monorails used for cooler shell removal. The new beams acted as an overhead gantry system for the new coolers
  • Once the beams were in place, four 16Te safe working load combination air hoists were installed to allow the old coolers to be lifted and moved to the deck below. The deck hatch was also increased in size to allow the coolers to be lowered
  • With the distance between the cooler location and lift on/off point being in excess of 200m, the inclusion of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) - a thermoplastic polymer product that is waterproof, hard wearing, light and flexible - bespoke air skates allowed the coolers to "float" between both locations
  • Once the new coolers were in the correct area they were lifted on custom skid frames into their final position
  • The work scope being completed right the first time acted as the main factor for early completion. This couldn't have been successful without dedicated project management and the coming together of several department resources and offshore personnel.


Integrated solutions

  • Mechanical handling

Capabilities / services

  • Multi-discipline engineering / design
  • Rigging / lifting
  • Site surveys

Equipment rental

  • Rigging / lifting equipment
  • Mechanical handling equipment.
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