24 October 2012 – The demand for offshore oil and gas resources has resulted in the need to drill to greater depths. Ever deeper wells result in the need for higher capacity compressors. The challenge has been industry’s assumption that greater capacitymeans greater size. Atlas Copco’s TwinAir compressor captures the required capacity, together with a smaller footprint, for a bespoke offshore 12—or-25- bar workhorse.

“Rand-Air has seen an increasing demand for offshore compressors. We are thrilled that our parent company, Atlas Copco, has designed and built the TwinAir compressor from the ground up as a dedicated offshore unit. Although the TwinAir compressor is equally comfortable in onshore applications, it excels when it is required to perform duty on oil and gas rigs,” Louwrens Erasmus, general manager of Rand-Air, says.

“Space is at a premium on congested offshore rigs, so contractors constantly seek ways of reducing the footprint they need on the rigs. The TwinAir provides the highest volume of compressed air per square metre,” Byrone Thorne, marketing manager for Rand-Air, says. He says that the closer the drilling teams come to the drillinglocation, the more expensive the associated costs become, with specialised equipment being the order of the day.In addition to its use for drilling, the compressors are also suited for sandblasting operations and for operating pneumatic wrenches in offshore applications.

“A number of creative design elements merge to provide optimal safety, fuel efficiency and extended life span in a compact package. Atlas Copco has combined two CAT C13 engines, with a total output of 656 kW, into a Container Safety Convention (CSC) container. CSC certification means that the TwinAir unit can be transported easily and legally as a container cargo,” Byrone explains.

Due to the environment in which the TwinAir compressors will operate, safety was a primary consideration. “Stringent safety measures are required as one moves closer to the drilling area. While TwinAir compressors are required to meet specific regulations, Atlas Copco has gone a step further with the adaptation of the units to Zone 2 safety levels.

“One cannot use electronic ignitions on equipment sited on a rig. By applying an air start, spark arresters and flame suppression as standard features on the TwinAir compressors, Det Norske Veritas (DNV) certification is applicable,” Louwrens says.DNV Maritime and Oil and Gas provides classification, verification, risk management and technical advisory services to the global maritime and oil and gas industries. DNV certification provides manufacturers with the required high levels of safety compliance for offshore applications. In addition, the TwinAir compressor  is certified to American Society of Mechanical Engineers as well as CE Conformité Européenne standards.

“We anticipate capturing a large portion of the rental market in the oil and gas exploration sites off the coastlines of Angola, Namibia and Nigeria,” Louwrens says.“The introduction of the TwinAircompressor is in line with Atlas Copco’s vision to be an oil competent upstream application product supplier, and Rand-Air’s vision to become the market leader in compressor rental to this industry.”