Just over 500km inside the Arctic Circle, energy group Novatek is building a new $25.5 billion Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) plant - Arctic 2 - alongside the company’s $27 billion Yamal LNG and $5 billion Arctic LNG 3 plants.
Situated on Siberia’s Gyda Peninsula, which juts 400km into the Kara Sea, the region is remote, inhospitable, and cold with winter temperatures averaging -30°C. It is also dark from mid November until late February.
To overcome the constraints of working in the extreme cold, and the logistical challenges of construction sub-contractors JGC, Technip and Chiyoda are using a modular, off-site construction processes, while the project’s extensive infrastructure - wharfs, quays, roads, airport, railway, living quarters etc - are being built using more ‘traditional’, on-site methods by Mezhregiontruboprovodstroy (MRTS) - a team of specialist contractors assembled by Novatek.
In preparation for the work, MRTS has purchased two 250 tonne Kobelco CKS2500 crawler cranes from Russian dealer, FKR Machinery. Before being able to start work, however, both machines needed some modification.
Both cranes are rigged with a CR67.1 boom with lengths of 51.8 and 57.9 metres respectively for a working radius of 20 metres and free fall winches. Pile weights for the quays and wharf construction weigh up to 30 tonnes, and are up to 45 metres long, while concrete pipes used for the delivery of the gas can be as large as a metre in diameter and 10 metres in length and weigh up to 20 tonnes.
Rene Kraakman, Kobelco Cranes’ service & technical support manager, said: “Kobelco Cranes can work almost anywhere, but the Arctic is a ‘special’ type of environment, that requires something completely different from man and machine. Normally we supply our cranes with ISO VG32 oils for the Russian market, which are suitable for operating temperatures of 30 to -25°C, but for the extreme cold found in Siberia, FKR used Kobelco’s ISO VG22 oil, which is suitable for temperatures from 15 to an incredible -30 degrees centigrade, and retrofitted both machines with Webasto’s Arctic Kit, which allows the machine to work in this extremely hostile environment.”
The Webasto kit includes:
- Air heaters that operate independently of the engine, allowing the operator to maintain interior temperatures without idling the machine.
- Coolant heaters that bring the engine to optimum operating temperature with the option to heat the cab and hydraulic fluids, even before starting the workday. This allows the operator to begin working immediately, rather than idling during start up, breaks and load times. The coolant heaters circulate the machine’s coolant over a heat exchanger and then pump it back through the engine and HVAC system. The result is a pre-heated engine and interior. In extreme climates, the heater can be used with additional accessories to warm the fuel, hydraulic fluid, and batteries.
- Integrated Heat Exchangers, available in various capacities, allow for multiple configurations and installation positions, and can be paired with a fuel operated heater to allow for a more robust engine-off heating solution.
With the project scheduled for completion in 2023, dealer FKR will be carrying out regular servicing and preventative maintenance checks to make sure both machines are capable of coping with the demanding Siberian winter.
FKR Machinery’s chief executive Vladimir Zakharov said: “We are extremely pleased that two CKS2500s are playing a vital role in the delivery of this important energy project for Novatek. Successful delivery of both machines required a multi agency approach, proving that whatever the challenge, the Kobelco Cranes’ team, dealers, including FKR Machinery, and its products are more than capable of rising to meet it.”