Minimum-facility platforms

Cost-efficient exploration of marginal fields is at the top of the agenda for many operators in the oil and gas industry. The cost-effective minimum-facility platform is a good alternative to the traditional wellhead platform or subsea installation. It is normally unmanned, and acts as a satellite with power, chemicals, utilities and controls being supplied by a host.

Minimum facility platforms


Nigel Blackbeard

Nigel Blackbeard

Business Development Director, Middle East
T: +974 66766478

Experts on minimum-facility platforms

The design of minimum-facility platforms is one of Ramboll’s core competencies.  Since the 1980s, we have designed a significant number of minimum-facility platforms for such diverse environments as the Gulf of Mexico, the Arabian Gulf and the North Sea
Our services within minimum-facility platforms cover:
  • Field development assistance from conceptual studies and FEED to detailed engineering
  • Design optimisation of steel-structures
  • Design optimisation of layout
  • Design of associated pipelines
  • Brownfield modifications to host platform
  • Assistance with third party/authority verification

A ‘necessities only’ philosophy

The philosophy behind Ramboll’s minimum-facility platform is to use simple and robust technology which requires a minimum of manual operation and maintenance. Key characteristics are:
  • Designed for remote control
  • Normally unmanned
  • Intelligent and simple layout – necessities only
  • Simple and reliable equipment solutions with low maintenance requirements
  • Replacement rather than repair
  • Reducing steel weight

Unmanned operation increases safety and reduces costs

By keeping the minimum-facility platform unmanned, we are reducing the risk to personnel while reducing costs. Robust equipment means fewer maintenance campaigns. This will keep OPEX down and also allow for alternative modes of access. Access via boat or telescopic gangway eliminates both costs and risks associated with helicopter access.

Minimalist topsides design with maximum return

All process facilities that are not required for transfer of well stream to the pipeline are eliminated. We call it the scaled-down topsides, characterised by:
  • A minimum of process and utility components
  • A minimum of hazardous material
  • Hand-held firefighting equipment and self-contained units
  • Remotely controlled control/F&G/ESD systems
  • A minimum of mechanical equipment requiring statutory periodic inspections/re-certification
  • Portable equipment stored on the support vessel

Optimised steel design reduces CAPEX

Applying advanced design and calculation tools, Ramboll is able to optimise the structural design and reduce steel volume while still adhering to all safety and regulatory requirements. 

The result is a robust, low-weight, and easy-to-fabricate structure, which is easily installed at different water depths.


LEGO man on oil rig

Nini and Cecilie - Minimum-facility platforms for a marginal field

Ramboll has assisted DONG Energy with a development project for modification of the Siri field in the North Sea, where we designed two lightweight and robust minimum-facility platforms, Nini and Cecilie.The two unmanned wellhead platforms operate as satellites tied back to the mother platform, Siri, via three inter-field pipelines. The water depth is approximately 60 metres.

Unmanned wellhead platform

Unmanned wellhead platforms for Norwegian waters

The unmanned wellhead platform is a development concept under consideration for several licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf. Ramboll carried out a study for The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate pointing out pros and cons of the concept.

Valhall South Flank unmanned wellhead platform

Unmanned wellhead platforms for Valhall Flank development

As part of the development of the Valhall field, BP commissioned Ramboll and alliance partners Heerema Tønsberg and IV Oil & Gas to engineer, construct and install two unmanned wellhead platforms at Valhall Flank.

Mustang unmanned wellhead platform

Mustang - Unmanned wellhead platform for the Gulf of Mexico

BHP Billiton were extending their activities in the Gulf of Mexico, West Cameron area, a with an unmanned wellhead platform. Ramboll was awarded the design of this minimum-facility platform.

South Arne platform

South Arne Phase III - Tie-in of two additional wellhead platforms

In 2010, Hess decided to expand their activities on the South Arne field with two additional wellhead platforms as part of the Phase III Development. Hess, Semco Maritime and Ramboll formed an EPC alliance to carry out brownfield work related to the project.

EPCM assistance to Equatorial Guinea Development

The Alba Field is one of the largest producers in the Gulf of Guinea. As engineering consultant, Ramboll paid a significant contribution to the development of the oil and gas field from 1997-2003.

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Tel:+971 4 334 3616
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