Sogreah completes design studies for Qatar port

The Sogreah project office in Grenoble that was opened in Jan. 2006 and devoted to performing the design studies for the extension to Ras Laffan port (Qatar) completed its tasks on 31 January. For a two-year period nearly 30 representatives of the owner, the joint venture of contractors and Sogreah worked together in Grenoble on designing the maritime structures for one of the largest ports in the world. Extending Ras Laffan port entails creating a vast 48 km2 harbour basin...

ECHIROLLES, France, Feb. 26, 2008 -- The Sogreah project office in Grenoble that was opened in Jan. 2006 and devoted to performing the design studies for the extension to Ras Laffan port (Qatar) completed its tasks on 31 January. For a two-year period nearly 30 representatives of the owner, the joint venture of contractors and Sogreah worked together in Grenoble on designing the maritime structures for one of the largest ports in the world.

In late 2005, Boskalis-Jan de Nul, the Dutch-Belgian consortium of contractors that was awarded the overall works contract, appointed Sogreah to perform all the design studies for the outer breakwaters and the defences of the various port reclamation areas.

Extending Ras Laffan port entails creating a vast 48 km2 harbour basin to shelter the loading terminals for gas carriers exporting methane from Qatar's North Field.

The works, costing almost $3bil, comprise building 23 km of protecting breakwaters at depths of up to 15 m, fabricating and placing 1 million m³ of concrete armouring blocks for these breakwaters, dredging 50 million m³ of material (a large proportion of which is bedrock), and protecting the inner reclamation areas over a total distance of 30 km.

The end client, Qatar Petroleum (QP), required the creation of an integrated project team comprising the QP, Boskalis-Jan de Nul and Sogreah personnel assigned to the project. The decision was taken to base the team in Grenoble, near Sogreah's head office and hydraulics laboratory. Office space totalling 500 m2 was rented for the purpose in Grenoble for two years to accommodate the thirty or so people assigned to the project, nearly half of whom came from Sogreah's Maritime branch.

Sogreah's hydraulics laboratory was used extensively during this period, 29 sections of the 23 km of breakwaters were studied and sized using wave flume models and five large three-dimensional wave tank models were required to study and validate the stability of specific points of the breakwaters under wave attack.

The very tight completion schedule (the port must be handed over at the end of 2008) meant that the contractors consortium had to tackle the design studies and works in parallel, requiring constant interaction between the site teams and the design team. A real-time data exchange unit was therefore set up to send reports, drawings, films of lab tests, etc. between Qatar, the project office and the lab throughout the design period.

Sogreah will remain involved until the works are completed, providing assistance to the contractors. Furthermore, CLI, a subsidiary of Sogreah, has signed a licence and technical assistance contract with the consortium of contractors for the use of AccropodeTM blocks to protect the breakwater sections most exposed to wave attack.

This colossal project is another major reference for Sogreah's Maritime Branch, which is enjoying sustained growth and has just been ranked 7th in the world's Top 10 port and maritime consultants by the American journal Engineering News Record.

With its head office in Grenoble, France, Sogreah is a major European independent consulting and engineering group specialising in the fields of water, environment, energy and urban development.

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