It had undertaken similar jobs before, with its Vindholmen Verft yard in Arendal building the topside for Beryl A and Aker Verdal north of Trondheim under way with a corresponding structure for Shell/Esso’s Brent B platform. Under a letter of intent between Mobil and Aker, the module support frame (MSF) for the Statfjord A topside would be built at the Verdal yard while outfitting would be done by Aker Offshore Contracting. The latter was also responsible for mechanical outfitting in the shafts of the concrete gravity base structure (GBS) on which the topside would rest.
However, it transpired that the topside would be both larger and heavier than first agreed. Verdal thereby faced capacity problems.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Haga, T. (1993). «Stordabuen går offshore» : Arbeid og faglig politikk ved A/S Stord verft 1970-83 (Vol. 1993-4, AHS (trykt utg.)). Bergen: Gruppe for flerfaglig arbeidslivsforskning, Universitetet i Bergen: 260 On the other hand, Aker’s Stord Verft yard north of Stavanger – which had previously only built ships, primarily oil tankers – was without work after the tanker market collapsed in the wake of the oil crisis. An order for 11 supertankers had been cancelled.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Grove, K., Heiret, J., & Stord jern- & metallarbeiderforening. (1996). I stål og olje : Historia om jern- og metallarbeidarane på Stord. Stord: Stord metall- og bygningsarbeider[e]s fagforening: 161 og Myklebust, A., & Aker Stord A/S. (1994). 75 år på Kjøtteinen : 1919-1994 : Jubileumsbok for Aker Stord. Stord: [Aker Stord]
Aker accordingly submitted a request to Mobil in February 1975 to transfer the topside fabrication job for Statfjord A from Verdal to Stord. Mobil accepted this proposal, and Stord Verft thereby secured its first offshore assignment. The contract was signed on 5 April 1975.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Kostnadsanalysen norsk kontinentalsokkel : rapport fra styringsgruppen oppnevnt ved kongelig resolusjon av 16. mars 1979: rapporten avgitt til Olje- og energidepartementet 29. april 1980: 178. But the Stord yard quickly discovered that fabricating platforms was a very different business to building ships. While the latter was a form of mass production, an offshore structure called for tailored solutions.
To learn more about why Stord Verft was selected as the construction site, why an integrated topside was chosen instead of the original plan for a modular structure, what working conditions were like and the real reasons for the listings, see the article: Building the Statfjord A topside.