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19May94 CANADA: HUGE TECHNICAL SHAKE-UP ON HIBERNIA.

Construction methods are being radically revamped on Wimpey's Hibernia offshore platform job in Canada in an attempt to bring the delayed project back on schedule.Concrete pouring techniques on the 37,000 tonne gravity base structure are set to change this summer.The alterations are being overseen by concrete platform specialist Norwegian Contractors which is supervising construction work being carried out by the NODECO consortium, which includes Wimpey.The monster gravity base is currently being built in drydock using a pouring process known as jump-forming where layers of concrete are built up one on top of the other.But that is being changed to a slip-forming method where the concrete is poured continuously as the mould moves very slowly up the sides.The change will take place in August when the partially built circular structure will be towed out to a deep water site for completion by the end of 1996.Experts have compared the project to building a skyscraper in the middle of the ocean and the gravity base is being built to withstand possible impact from 1.5 million tonne icebergs.Norwegian Contractors is stepping up its interest in the project after its success in improving productivity of the supermodules which will eventually be mounted on the gravity base.The whole project is now £750 million over budget with dates for the first oil extraction at the platform being continuously put back.A spokesman said: 'Norwegian Contractors have the experience and we've had difficulties on the construction side of the business.'They are assisting us in areas where we are lacking experience.'The NODECO consortium's contract has also been renegotiated from a lump sum to a reimbursable agreement. CONSTRUCTION NEWS