The R300-million Mossgas FA jacket made construction history as South Africa's first fixed production platform to be completed onshore.
A subsidiary company, EMSO incorporating Murray & Roberts Engineering Solutions, was awarded contracts by Soekor for initially, the feasibility study and then the conceptual design and project management phases.
The project was officially handed over to Mossgas in 1991, achieving a remarkable number of firsts. This brought to an end a mega-project which started with a feasibility study in January 1985.
A number of Murray & Roberts companies contributed to the overall project including Genrec, Pentow Marine and Murray & Roberts Cape.
The Mossel Bay offshore project included a series of major achievements in the engineering, fabrication and installation of this facility, namely:
- The longest vertical piles in the world which were fabricated and installed offshore in a single length. The piles were 132 metres long, 82" in diameter, with an average weight of 500 tonnes
- A world record in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest length of 8" pipe laid in a 24 hour period
- At the time of procurement, the longest semisubmersible pumps ever designed and built in the world. The pumps were immersed 72 metres below sea level
- The longest directionally drilled beach crossing under the seabed in the world, measuring 1 kilometre in length. This was repeated three times to cater for the gas, condensate and effluent pipelines
- The world's first integrated drilling derrick and sub-assembly, engineered, transported and lifted into position in one piece
- The first use of an electromagnetic lifting and percussive tool for the installation of the vertical piles. This percussive tool was specially designed to prevent pile stick-up problems where frequency of the wave action was approaching the frequency of the pile
- The first time that an offshore jacket had been launched in such hostile waters, with constant swell and freak wave conditions
The project also entailed several major achievements for South Africa, namely:
- The first offshore project in South Africa. This project was completed on time and to the original parameters established in 1986.
- The first major project that was engineered and fabricated in South Africa with a predominance of South African input.
- The first project where major structural steel nodes were engineered and fabricated in South Africa.
- The biggest steel structure ever built and moved in South Africa. The total weight of the structure was 14 500 t.
- South Africa's first concentrated research into offshore environmental conditions, thus establishing parameters for future reference.
- Special steel produced for the first time in South Africa and now available for sale on world markets.