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Successful thruster replacement carried out offshore

A safe and cost-effective operation made possible with a team of experienced engineers

Client: Leading international energy company
Industry: Oil & Gas
Asset: FSU
Location: Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS)
Year: 2019


Thrusters are part of vessels’ positioning systems, which are required to keep vessels in station either by heading control or Dynamic Positioning (DP).

At times, clients may require urgent replacement of thruster(s). In one particular example, a client required an urgent replacement of one of the thrusters on its FSU, due to a leaking shaft bearing. It was urgent as it was necessary to continue operating within safe environmental limits with an intact dynamic positioning system.

However, there was no documentation on the lifting equipment. Moreover, the thruster was not designed for dismantling in accordance with best practices and standards on the NCS. The asset could also not be taken off hire nor disconnected from the turret.

The client thus contracted Axess Group to perform the thruster replacement, as we have experience doing so offshore.


As the particular FSU did not have a spare thruster, the old thruster had to be sent onshore to be refurbished. Axess acted as a bridge, connecting all the involved parties, and planned the various aspects necessary for project success, including logistics, design and procurement. In addition, using the tailor-made winches from our subsidiary, Alpa, the engineering team performed the lifting operation to replace the thruster offshore, while the asset was still in operation.

The old thruster that was sent onshore to be refurbished

(Photo: The old thruster that was sent onshore to be refurbished)

For this project, Axess utilised an in-house designed tool for handling the thruster. This removed the need for divers, who are typically used in this type of operation. The tool, designed according to NORSOK Standard R-002 Lifting Equipment, was remotely controlled by the engineers.

“We have carried out numerous thruster replacements offshore throughout the past 15 years for various types of vessels worldwide, including Europe and Asia-Pacific. We gain experience from each project to devise new methods and execute future projects more efficiently,” Tone Tomassen, Director of Sales, NCS said.

Axess’ engineer and the client’s team with the new thruster

(Photo: Axess’ engineer and the client’s team with the new thruster)


Axess completed the thruster replacement on time, before the arrival of the winter season, thus avoiding the harsher environment. As the operation was carried out offshore, it helped the client to save time and costs. Furthermore, the removal of divers from the operation helped to enhance safety.

“Out of all the thruster replacement projects we have done so far, this project had one of the greatest number of both technical and planning challenges, which provided many learning points for our engineering team. We are proud to have completed this project successfully within the stipulated time frame and most importantly, safely,” Paal Thorsager, Project Manager said.

Axess’ engineer and the client’s team doing mechanical work on the thruster steering gear

(Photo: Axess’ engineer and the client’s team doing mechanical work on the thruster steering gear)

If you are interested in thruster replacements for your assets, please reach out to us.


Contact Information

Axess AS
Oscar Hanssens vei 5
6415 Molde
+47 982 43 600
Axess AS
Kokstadflaten 35
5257 Bergen
(duty): +47 982 43 600
Axess AS
Travbaneveien 3
4031 Stavanger
(duty): +47 982 43 600
St. John's
Axess Baffin Inc.
702 Water Street, Suite 201
St. John's, Newfoundland
+1 709 758 7937
Axess North America Inc.
1400 Broadfield Suite 300
Houston Tx. 77084
+1 (281) 994-0367
Ciudad del Carmen
Axess Operations De Mexico S de RL de CV
Calle Bosque de Ciruelos 180 PP 101
Colonia Bosque De Las Lomas
CP 11700 Cuidad De Mexico
+52 938-152-7688
Axess North Sea Ltd.
Axess House,
Twin Spires Business Park,
Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn,
Aberdeen, AB21 9NY
(duty): +44 (0) 78 5303 6111
Axess Guyana Inc.
2 Avenue of the Republic
Georgetown, Guyana
+592 222 2216
Rio de Janeiro
Axess do Brasil Ltda
Rua Dezenove de Fevereiro
171 - Botafogo
CEP 22280-030 Rio de Janeiro
+55 (21) 4108-0532
Axess Petrorig Ghana Limited
3rd floor, The Pelican
8 Blohum Street, Dzorwulu
Accra, Ghana
+233 (0) 30 397 0548
Axess Offshore Africa Ltd.
Edificio Joia Rara, 3º Andar 3.5/3.6,
Av. Revolução de Outubro No 8, Cassenda, Maianga
Luanda, Angola
+244 933 316 388
Cape Town
Axess Offshore Africa Ltd.
Office 106, 1st Floor, Block 2,
Northgate Park, Brooklyn
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 21 001 9540
Axess AS
Nedre Bakklandet 58C
7014 Trondheim
(duty): +47 982 43 600
Axess AS
Grønøraveien 1
7300 Orkanger
(duty): +47 478 37 300
Axess AS
Fridtjof Nansens plass 4
0160 Oslo
(duty): +47 982 43 600
Axess for Oil Services
3141 Anas Bin Malik, Al Malqa Dist.
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
+966 59 427 0293
Axess Middle East DMCC
807 X2 Tower, X Cluster,
Jumeriah Lake Towers
Dubai, UAE
+971 4565 7913
Axess Offshore Korea LLC
22nd Floor KNN Tower, Centum-ro 30
2203-ho, Haeundae-gu
Busan, South Korea
+82 10 2696 2016
Axess AIM India Pvt. Ltd.
B2-701, 7th Floor,
Kanakia Boomerang,
Chandivali Farm Road
Andheri East, Mumbai- 400072
+91 22 4604 3533
Axess Offshore Pte Ltd
Nordic European Centre, #05-31 South Wing,
3 International Business Park
Singapore 609927
+65 6908 4174
Axess Offshore Australia Pty Ltd
304 Newcastle St
Perth WA 6000
+61 4 3373 0739