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19Jul91 UK: HIGHLANDS FABRICATOR'S STEEL JACKET FOR THE NORTH SEA MILLER PLATFORM COMPLETED.

Within a couple of weeks a huge 18,000 tonne steel jacket for the Miller platform will be sailed from Nigg Bay into the North Sea, more than a month late and millions of pounds over budget.Yet the event will be hailed as a great engineering success by client British Petroleum and contractor Highlands Fabricators.An extra £50 million on a total platform construction programme of £400 million has been spent on modification in the wake of the Piper Alpha disaster. Design and engineering work for the Miller platform was well advanced when Piper Alpha exploded with the loss of 167 lives of July 7, 1988.Nevil JOnes, BP's Miller project manager, said: 'After that we had to preguess Lord Cullen's inquiry findings.'Additional safety modifications raised topside weight by 2,300 tones to 29,000 tonnes. Much of the added weight came from the decision to further segregate topside modules to protect against blast.An extra £3 million was spent strengthening and reinforcing the steel jacket.Because blast wall technology was virtually non-existent for offshore needs BP asked four firms to draw up blast wall designs.Together blast wall and passive fire protection measures raised costs by £17 million. Subsea isolation valves cost a further £6 million.