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|"QUANTUM SHOT" #658Link - article by Avi Abrams|
The biggest man-made object ever towed
Immense Troll Tower to Move & Conquer! No it's not something from the "World of Warcraft", it's an offshore oil rig, but a mind-numbingly huge one - in 1996 the Troll A platform set the Guinness World Record for 'largest offshore gas platform'.
It stands almost 500 meters tall and weighs 656,000 tons - it's one of the biggest man-made objects ever towed (it has now been dwarfed by Texaco's Petronius platform which is "arguably" the tallest structure in the world.)
Bigger than any aircraft carrier, higher than most TV towers, this vessel asks for a titanic team of ships to tow it to another location - and imagine splash this thing would make if it toppled!
At 1.2 million ton ballasted under tow, 472 meters high, with underwater concrete structure at 369 meters, and dry weight: 656,000 tons... Not many people realize how tall these things really are. Here's a comparison with the Eiffel Tower:
Also compare the height of some other oil platforms with the world's tallest buildings ("Troll A" is not in the picture, but it has overall height of 472 meters):
I can just see Steven Seagal bossing around this rig, with Charles Bronson supervising a move (or the other way around) - either way, you can better grasp the immensity and power of this event!
(another platform being towed in the North Sea - more info, photo via StatOil)
Towing an iceberg away from the oil platform is a... beautiful task:
(photo by Randy Olson, National Geographic)
The Troll Giants (Sucking the Oil Out)
Troll-A is not the only one (more info). There are a few big gas platforms in the North Sea Troll oil field - yes, you guessed right, "B" and "c":
(photos: Eilif Stene / Statoil)
And here is the Mighty "Troll-A" itself:
(images credit: StatOil)
The Goldeneye Gas Platform in the North Sea Northern, United Kingdom, looks puny compared with the 500-meter height of the "Troll A" (right):
This is looking up from inside the platform's column:
(image credit: StatOil)
Moving this platform was comparable only to building it (the construction of the Troll A was considered to be the greatest engineering achievement of the century at the end of 1999). The immensity of construction is clearly seen in this photo: those are huge ships down there, not boats!
(images via 1, 2)
The way the Troll-A platform was installed and moved, is amazing in itself. Normally a platform's legs are transported on their side and then - supported by flotation devices - are dropped into place (sunk under the waves). This time though, the whole platform was assembled in one location, and then floated out!
Here are a couple of photos to give you an idea how huge these platforms really are - looking inside the "StatOil" rig over 1.5 kilometers west of the Sleipner West in the North Sea:
(images credit: StatOil)
Here is "Nortrym" platform in Statfjord - in fact, one of many! Look at the bottom right image for location of these units:
("Deepsea Trym" drilling rig by Nortrym - photo by Chiefen, via)
The Ekofisk oil and gas field development complex is 200 miles from Norway:
(images via 1, 2, David McNew/Getty Images, Reuters)
Big Oil Platforms Encounter Huge Waves
You've seen encounters of tankers and passenger ships with waves - Ships vs. Big Waves. But huge oil rigs routinely endure heavy seas and sometime suffer serious wave damage, especially those that are anchored to one place and can't be towed away from approaching storms easily. Here are some images to give you an idea:
The "Borgila" and "Nortrym" oil platforms are among many threatened by extreme storms, hurricanes (in the vicinity of the US) and the possibility of fires and oil leaks:
(images via 1, 2)
The recent oil spill disaster caused many people to re-examine the safety record of gas platforms:
(photos by AP, Associated Press, Getty images)
The offshore oil platform 'Gullfaks C' stands up to a fierce, North Sea storm (with 7 meter high waves):
(photos by Arnulf Husmo/Stone/Getty Images, Tuftronic10000, via)
A rogue wave model was created to test oil platforms (more info and a video of a monster wave):
And finally - here is our "Troll A" giant platform valiantly enduring some good-sized waves: hopefully nothing more extreme than this -
Watch the long video about this platform and how it was moved - click here.
READ THE WHOLE SERIES HERE ->
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