Volvo CE contracted for pipeline extension in Saudi Arabian oilfield

Volvo piplelayerSaudi Aramco has contracted Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) to help build a pipeline extension through the Khurais oilfield in the Kingdom

A PL4608 rotating pipelayer from Volvo CE is the first machine of its kind to get to work in the region. The pipeline extension would cover a distance of 150 km and is expected to take 27 months for completion. The PL4608 will lay 56-inch pipe, starting at the east-west pumping station number one and running to pumping station number three.

Development of a new pipeline extension through the Khurais field has been currently underway, supporting Saudi Aramco in maintaining a reliable supply of gas to meet the demands of domestic customers in the central and western regions of the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is home to the world’s second largest oil reserves, spread over approximately 100 major oil and gas fields. The Khurais Mega Project was a recent addition to the Kingdom’s vast production facilities, comprising the Khurais, Abu Jifan and Mazalij oilfields. The project would raise Saudi Arabia’s oilfield capacity from 11.3mn bpd to 12.5mn bpd, Saudi Aramco said.

The largest of these fields — Khurais oilfield — covers an area of 2,890 sq km and measures 127 km in length. It is situated approximately 250 km southwest of Dhahran and 150 km northeast of the capital Riyadh.

Manager of equipment operations at Gulf Consolidated Contractors Company Yousef Abu Gafra said, “We are proud to be the first pipeline contractor in Saudi Arabia to have a Volvo pipelayer in our fleet.

“No competitor machine is capable of matching the Volvo’s features and performance in terms of safety, operator visibility, stability and the length of the boom.”

According to Volco CE, working in the extreme conditions of the Arabian Desert presents several unavoidable challenges. Summer temperatures average around 45°C, and highs of 54°C are often recorded. Regular sandstorms also prove problematic for the equipment working on the project. Winter brings a different challenge – although the temperature seldom falls below 0°C. The PL4608 has been built to withstand these extremes, ensuring a high quality performance in all conditions.

The machine was also suited to the type of pipe used on the project – its hydraulically variable undercarriage, which expanded by 500 mm, provided a highly stable operating platform when working with 56-inch pipe.

In difficult conditions, the 80-tonne tipping capacity and the on-board load management system (LMS) ensured the operator was always aware of which loads they could safely lift.

Similarly, the hydraulically elevating cab not only provided excellent visibility into the trench and improved lateral visibility to other machines on the line, it also offered a better view of personnel on the ground — an important site safety consideration.

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