Successful Shell Corrib project opened more doors for Mercury

24 Aug , 2015  

Mercury Engineering’s outstanding work on the Shell Corrib Onshore Gas Terminal over a four-year period has resulted in more work being secured by Ireland’s premier engineering services provider in the vital oil and gas sectors. We caught up with Darran Monaghan, who was a Senior Quantity Surveyor on the landmark €150m+ project in County Mayo and is currently overseeing and responsible for the sustaining works at the terminal.

In 2007 alone, Mercury Engineering – Ireland’s leading engineering services provider – won contracts for several key infrastructural projects including (but by no means limited to) the Dublin Port Tunnel, the Luas light railway, Airtricity wind farms and Shell’s Corrib Gas Terminal facility, where the company was contracted to carry out complete mechanical, electrical and instrumentation services to the new onshore terminal at Bellanaboy, County Mayo, which  processes up to 10 million standard cubic metres of sales gas per day.

The Corrib Field is a gas field located in 350m of water some 60-65km off the County Mayo coastline, which has been developed as a long-range subsea tieback to an onshore facility. The Corrib Gas Pipeline is 20 inches (50 centimetres) in diameter. The wall of the pipeline is more than one inch thick (27 millimetres) and is made of high-grade carbon steel. (By way of comparison, Bord Gais pipelines running throughout the country are 9mm thick.)

The outside of the pipeline boasts several layers of protective coating, including plastic and concrete, to protect it from external corrosion. Internal corrosion is controlled by the continuous injection of corrosion inhibitor via the umbilical. Corrosion is monitored in real time by a subsea corrosion monitoring spool. An internal inspection tool, referred to as a ‘smart pig’, will be pushed through the pipeline at intervals to gather data on the internal condition of the pipeline and monitor the integrity of the pipeline throughout.

As an additional safety measure, the pipeline was originally designed to withstand 345 bar in the highly unlikely event of pressure increasing above normal operating conditions.

Westmeath man Darran Monaghan joined Mercury as an apprentice electrician in 2002 before becoming a QS four years later. Between 2007 and 2011, he divided his time between the Shell Corrib Gas Terminal and Mercury’s head office in Dublin’s Sandyford Industrial Estate, overseeing what was a truly landmark contract.

“The main project in Mayo was completed on schedule in 2011 and we are now  carrying out sustaining works as part of the maintenance contract. The sustaining works are up for re-tender in the middle of 2016 and we are hopeful that we will be continuing here after that,” he notes.

Shell Corrib was a huge project by any standards – in keeping with the impressive Mercury portfolio. “It was the biggest job in the country at the time and one of the biggest Mercury had done in Ireland,” Darran confirms. “It was a fantastic project to work on and be a part of and served as an invaluable learning curve for us. All in all, it has been a resounding success and we couldn’t be happier with how it has worked out. We gained great experience from an electrical and mechanical point of view in that particular sector and the knowledge and experienced gained helped us to develop our business in the oil and gas sector and enable us to price other oil and gas projects

“We had in excess of 1,100 employees on site while the main project was in full swing, all of whom were fully-trained, professional and highly-competent personnel. Our safety record was second to none and we have been able to transfer the experience and expertise gathered on the Corrib Gas Terminal project into other aspects of the company.”

Mercury has worked successfully on some of the most technologically-advanced and capital-intensive engineering projects in the world.
As specialists in the oil and gas sector, they have been engaged on various projects nationwide and worldwide including work for the National Oil Reserve Agency in Kerry, Enwest Oil Terminal in Galway and Conoco Oil Terminals in Dublin and Wicklow as well as assorted high-profile projects in Abu Dhabi and Libya.

Mercury offers a vast range of services including Multidisciplinary, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Sprinkler Systems & Fire Protection, Data Technologies, Interior Fit-Out, Design, Turnkey and Maintenance across the following sectors: Data Centres, Semiconductor, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Office & Commercial, Retail, Infrastructure, Energy, Oil & Gas, Institutional, Hotel & Leisure, Manufacturing, Food & Beverage.

Over the years, they have provided their engineering excellence to countless prestigious buildings all over Ireland, the UK, Europe and further afield including New South Glasgow Hospital, Dublin Airport Terminal 2, Aviva Stadium, Sberbank Data Centre in Moscow, Project Pegasus in Sweden, Watford Data Centre, Medical University of Bahrain, Dundrum Shopping Centre, Dell in Limerick and Poland, Acute Hospital Enniskillen, Santry Sports Clinic, the Baileys Production Facility in Belfast, The 3 Arena in Dublin and work for The Kerry Group, Hewlett Packard, UCD, St Vincent’s Hospital, Tallaght Hospital etc. etc.

Mercury is a privately-owned company which was established in 1972 by Joe Morgan and the late Frank O’Kane. It triumphed through the recession, undertaking major contracts for blue-chip companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Pfizer and Shell.

A reputation for delivery within schedule and budget has made Mercury the contractor of choice for more than four decades. Mercury has opened offices in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa where it is recognised as a leader in engineering solutions. The company employs the best people, invests heavily in their training and education, and ensures that the highest standards of health, safety and governance are applied throughout the organisation. Mercury has also implemented state-of-the-art IT technology and systems management, which has enabled it to efficiency manage projects.

At the time of writing, Mercury was providing employment to 1,600, a figure which varies depending on the projects on hand at any given time. Around this time last year, 3,500 were on the books – not bad considering that we were coming out of the tail-end of a recession.

“While the recession affected every company, Mercury excelled and kept on as many workers as they possibly could,” Darran notes. “We have come through the downturn stronger than ever and are in a very healthy position going forward.

“Mercury is the No.1 services contractor in the country, with an annual turnover of around €500m. As well as providing unrivalled services, I can also testify to the fact that Mercury look after their staff and ensure that all facilities are up to the very highest standards and that workers are provided for in every possible way.”

Mercury designs, procures and installs electrical, mechanical, air-conditioning, IT networks and building control systems in new buildings as well as delivering turnkey building projects. Mercury is an ultra-dynamic company and has a strategy and team in place to grow strongly internationally and develop into a major player in the European construction industry.

Despite their size, Mercury Engineering remains a privately-owned and -managed business with a very flexible, client-focused approach and an appreciation of the value of long-term business relationships. A large proportion of ongoing work comes from existing clients with whom they have developed a trusting and mutually-beneficial relationship over many years.

“While we’re expecting the second and third quarter of this year to be relatively quiet, from 2016 onwards Mercury will be extremely busy,” Darren Monaghan concludes. “From a personal point of view, I will be here in Mayo until the middle of next year at least. We’ll re-tender in 2016 and go forward from there.

“The Shell Corrib Gas Terminal has been a great success both in commercial terms and also in terms of the client we dealt with and the relationship we gained with that client. That has paved the way for Mercury to secure more work in oil and gas and we can now include that as one of our many areas of expertise.”

Taken from Building Ireland magazine Vol 1 No 1, Autumn 2015