Fluor Team Builds the Backbone of the Sasol Project

Team sets 161st module on the interconnecting pipe rack safely
Wednesday, December 20, 2017 8:33 am EST


The 4.2-mile-long interconnecting pipe rack is the backbone of the $11.13 billion Sasol ethane cracker and derivatives project in Southwest Louisiana. With multiple interfaces that include control and instrumentation, piping, structural and electrical, it serves as the main arteries for power and communications, and serves as the project’s lifeline - connecting the major process units, process support units, utilities and offsites. Without the interconnecting pipe rack, none of the process units can function.

FTI, a joint venture between Fluor and Technip,  serves as the engineering, procurement and construction management contractor on the project. The team reached a major project milestone on October 6, as the team set the 161st module for the greenfield section of the pipe rack.

Sasol Interconnecting Pipe Rack By the Numbers
  • 4.2 miles long
  • 23,000 tons of structural steel
  • 132 miles of aboveground pipe
  • 29 miles of cable tray

The achievement is the culmination of more than 3.5 years of module design, fabrication and installation. Design began in early 2014 in the engineering home office. After design, modules were assembled at onsite assembly areas, as well as two offsite yards in Louisiana. Offsite modules were transported to the site’s construction dock via 38 barge trips, where self-propelled modular transports (SPMTs) transferred them to the site over public roads for placement on their foundations.

“A lot of planning went into making this scope of work a success,” said Neftali Torres, unit construction engineer. “It was logistically challenging from a material management, module assembly and installation perspective. Our team had the flexibility and adaptability to change course at a moment’s notice to maintain our schedule and budgetary milestones.”

The team began setting modules into place more than a year ago and used SPMTs or cranes to place the modules on their foundations. Setting the interconnecting pipe rack modules required constant coordination with each of the unit’s construction managers, as unit construction was going on simultaneously. The work was done safely, with no lost-time incidents and a strong safety record.

The two final modules for the greenfield portion of the interconnecting pipe rack will be set later this year, after the ethane cracker module setting is completed. A phased commissioning of the project will begin during the second half of 2018.


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