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Basalt composites and their role in the development of Far North resource base
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Basalt composites and their role in the development of Far North resource base

The Barents Sea shelf and the infrastructure of the Northern regions are impossible to be developed without high-performance materials, specifically, continuous basalt fiber reinforced composites (CBF).

These materials include basalt fiber reinforced concrete, concrete structures strengthened with basalt plastic rebar, mesh, basalt plastic pile walls, basalt fiber geogrids, and other basalt fiber based products and structures.

The experts suppose that the project to build the ‘Centre for the construction of large-tonnage offshore structures’ in Murmansk region and creating four artificial islands in the Kola Bay are capable of having a significant impact on the industry of CBF based composites in Russia.

A Memorandum of Understanding regarding a special investment contract was signed between PAO NOVATEK, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Murmansk Region Government during the 21st Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 1st, 2017.

According to the Memorandum, the parties intend to sign a tripartite special investment contract on creating a ‘Center for the construction of large-scale offshore structures’ in Belokamenka, located in Murmansk region, Kola shipyard.

The Chairman of NOVATEK’s Management Board Leonid Mikhelson noted: “To efficiently develop our vast resource base in the Far North, decrease construction cost and increase the competitiveness of our future LNG-project, it is very important to create a ‘Center for the construction of large-scale offshore structures’ in Russia. With the construction of the Kola Yard we plan to meet the challenge of maximizing the localization of production of LNG-plants based on the gravity-based structures, readymade for producing LNG”.

Reference: Gravity-based structure (foundation) is a support structure held in place by gravity. Offshore gravity-based structure (GBS) is a platform held at the seabed due to its own weight and the connections of the lower part of the platform to the seabed.

Gravity-based structures are designed for the areas exposed to substantial environmental loads able to move or overturn the platform (seismic activity, powerful currents, the wind, ice shifting).

Gravity-based structures (GBS) are used for oil platforms, wind power plants, regasification terminals, etc. They are steel reinforced concrete structures or a hybrid (can have a metal support system and a steel reinforced concrete substructure). A gravity-based platform can be either monolithic or integrates drill strings, storage tanks for oil or fuel to be used as an energy source, and pipelines. The foundation modules are delivered to the installation site in the form of large blocks.

Russia has been gaining experience in the GBSs construction and application since 2004 when the second phase of Sakhalin II project was implemented. Lunskaya, GBS gas production platform has a steel reinforced concrete substructure, which consists of a supporting base with four cone-shaped columns that maintains the topside superstructure above the water surface.

The total weight of the structure is 116,000 tons. The size of supporting base is 105 meters by 88 meters, the height is 13.5 meters. Each supporting column is 20 meters in diameter and 56 meters in height. The entire structure is 69.5 meters high.

The dimensions of these enormous structures and severe climate of the northern latitudes, a constant aggressive impact of marine environment, the need to withstand the effects of ice and waves require increasing strength characteristics of the materials used.

Best practice has shown that basalt composites used for buildings and structures significantly improve their performance, strength and durability, consequently increasing safety and service life.

Four artificial islands in the Kola Bay of the Barents Sea to be created in order to implement the investment project ‘the Centre for construction of large-tonnage offshore structures’, and also the Centre infrastructure, gravity-based structures, and LNG plants will require a significant amount of composite materials.

To manufacture coast-protecting structures for these islands, it is important to have basalt composite sheet pile walls, coast-protecting steel reinforced concrete products with basalt fiber and basalt rebar, which are resistant to the joint effect of climate (low temperatures), aggressive salt seawater, wave and ice impact.

It is necessary to use basalt fiber and basalt fiber rebar when manufacturing gravity-based structures in order to give the required strength properties to concrete, improve cracking resistance, reduce the temperature stresses during concrete curing, increase chemical stability and service life of the structure.

The properties of basalt fiber and basalt rebar reinforced concretes were investigated in the USSR, Russia and foreign research laboratories to demonstrate positive outcomes.

The specialists from Basalt Projects estimated the implementation of the project to build the ‘Centre for construction of large-tonnage offshore structures’ and gravity-based structures in 5-10 thousand tons of continuous basalt fiber and basalt fiber based composites.

A. Bek-Bulatov, Technical Director of Basalt Centre JSC, Candidate of Technical Sciences;
E. Afanasiev, Director General of Mosspetsproekt Ltd., Corresponding Member of RANS, Honored Inventor of the USSR, Honorary Builder of Moscow.

Sources:

NOVATEK PAO website.
Sakhalin Energy website
Russia government website.
Materials of Basalt Projects GC

 

About Olga Yurchenko

Olga Yurchenko
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