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OE Products: 2017 / January

OE Products: 2017 / January (10)

Tuesday, 31 January 2017 12:39

Seatools completes subsea storage study

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In January of this year, Dutch subsea technology company Seatools completed a research and development (R&D) program on a subsea liquid storage technology. During the program – a continuation of an earlier engineering study performed on behalf of Statoil – the storage technology successfully passed a full product qualification test program. The technology will now be applied at a Pile Installation Frame operated by Seaway Heavy Lifting.

The oil and gas industry’s shift toward seabed positioning of (pressure-balanced) equipment like pumps, compressors, and related power grids that can compromise switch gear and power transformers, demands highly reliable, long-term subsea storage of (large volumes of) liquids. In addition to compensating for hydrostatic pressure, subsea storage is required to accommodate oil volume fluctuations caused by temperature changes, or may, for example, harbor control fluids. The subsea storage of liquids also is of interest to other types of equipment, such as large-volume subsea hydraulic systems with significant differential (oil) volumes caused by a large number of actuators, as with the Pile Installation Frame.

One of the decisive design criteria for a long-term storage reservoir is the reliability of the barrier between fluid and seawater. During the recently completed R&D program, ageing tests have been performed to facilitate a quantified prediction of the lifetime of the fluid barrier. In addition, a full-fledged product qualification program on a full-scale version of the reservoir, an extensive analysis of the dynamic behavior of the compensator, and a study of the pressure compensation performance under various conditions, have been performed. The successful completion of these qualification tests brought the technology to TRL 4, and will now see it applied in the field.

The R&D program is a continuation of an earlier conceptual and feasibility study into the local storage of control fluids in a subsea production control system, which was executed on behalf of Statoil. The aim of this previous study was to develop a storage system capable of providing a continuous and reliable supply of control fluids. A design lifetime of 20 years was one of the most pressing design criteria. Moreover, the study analyzed the required controls and instrumentation, refilling strategies, and related economics, and included an FMECA analysis.

In addition to gaining field feedback and continuing the development of the system’s design, additional research will be performed about the chemical compatibility of various fluids with the barrier material. Potential findings in this area are expected to widen the scope of application.

Image: Subsea storage technology/Seatools

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 04:51

Ceramic sand screen first by Shell in North Sea

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Global science-based technology company, 3M has completed a global oil and gas industry first by deploying its Ceramic Sand Screens using a light well intervention vessel instead of a full rig.

The North Sea contract was the first time the 3M product had been deployed for major operator Shell. The two companies discussed new technology options and took the opportunity to use Ceramic Sand Screens in a newly producing, high velocity gas well.

The aim was to prove that a cost-effective intervention and installation of ceramic sand control technology was possible while also providing a viable return on investment.   

Sand has long been one of the major challenges for oil and gas operators and service companies. Hydrocarbon production can be seriously limited due to sand ingression. 3M, as recognized experts in ceramic solutions across many sectors, embraces new ways of solving these costly barriers to industry.

The collaboration and investment opportunity with Shell has proven that ceramic sand screens can be deployed cost-effectively. The first ever deployment from a light well intervention vessel rather than a rig was key, while in the long-term ceramics are much more durable than metallic options.

Ian Hunter from 3M Oil and Gas, Advanced Materials Division, said: “First, we had to prove this new technology to Shell then we set about overcoming the operational challenges in a methodical and logical manner. 

“Shell chose this product because of its advantages over conventional metal sand screens that are vulnerable to erosion and corrosion. We also had to ensure it could be retrofitted to the existing infrastructure and deployed from an intervention vessel rather than a full-rig based intervention. This had not been done before.

“Working closely with the Shell engineering team provided tremendous insight and time to develop an ideal solution. Together we made the most of the ceramic properties, which withstand extreme abrasion conditions downhole.”

The project took place in the Gannet field, 112mi east of Aberdeen in the central North Sea sector. Deployment was from the deck of the light well intervention vessel Well Enhancer using e-line installation and the screens hung from a high expansion Interwell packer.

Hunter added: “Our Ceramic Sand Screens have been designed to overcome the high erosion rates expected during normal production operations and received positive feedback from Shell’s onshore and offshore teams.”

The well will now enter its full-production phase following the successful project.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 04:15

ECA to develop 6000m water depth AUV

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French research institute Ifremer has chosen French robotics and automation firm ECA Group to develop an ultra deep autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) able to reach 6000m water depth.

Through the move, ECA Group will become the prime partner in the CORAL Alliance (Cooperative Off-shore Robotics ALliance), created by Ifremer. The aim of the project is to promote innovation and competitiveness in an integrated concept, linking ocean science to marine industry.

The CORAL ALliance is funded by Ifremer, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur Region and the EU (FEDER program). Ifremer will lead the project with engineering and research and development efforts, technical and naval means for qualification of the new system, fostering innovation and expertise on a regional, national and European level.

Ifremer will oversee the development of the new AUV vehicle and its associated equipment. Furthermore, Ifremer will develop the AUV control software system in order to meet current and future needs of scientific end users.

The AUV will be able to accomplish wide coverage acoustic mapping as well as optical inspection by hovering close to the sea floor. “The system will deploy a full range of scientific sensors in modular packages, innovating in design optimization, autonomy, payload volume and navigation capabilities. The AUV will facilitate producing accurately georeferenced, wide area, high resolution and multi parameter representations of deepwater marine environments” explains Jan Opderbecke, head of the Underwater Systems Unit, located at Ifremer facilities in Toulon. After a development period of three years, the AUV will accomplish its first dives in 2019.

“The association of long endurance survey and low altitude hovering capabilities will have high potential in various fields of application. For future commercialization by ECA Group of this AUV branded A6K, the system specifications are particularly interesting for missions such as deep sea mining survey, oil / gas pipeline inspections, rescue missions and mineral resource exploration,” says Claude Cazaoulou, Director of Sales and Business Development from ECA Group Robotics Division in Toulon.

“The new vehicle will be deployed from French and international oceanographic research vessels in missions involving other deepwater intervention vehicles, starting with Ifremer’s Victor 6000 ROV and Nautile manned submersible,” says explains Jan Opderbecke from Ifremer.

An innovative optical communication device currently under development at Ifremer as well as hovering capabilities of the new AUV will enable real-time data exchange with other underwater vehicles. The implementation of combined exploration and intervention operations will enhance the innovation potential offered by this new system.

Furthermore, the following aspects will be developed during the new AUV project:

The compact and innovative design will be compatible with launch and recovery modes already developed by ECA Group during ESPADON project in 2016. A containerized transport solution will simplify system mobilization, reducing operational expenditures.

The design will as well benefit from ECA Group experience gathered during AUV ALISTAR 3000 developments for hovering capabilities, where high performance pipeline inspections were being deployed.

The embedded controller developed by Ifremer will be tightly coupled with the vehicle’s sensor payloads and provide online re-planning and event driven autonomous mission behaviors. Onboard processing algorithms developed in cooperation with the scientific end–users will allow optimizing long-duration missions on high level, meeting well defined scientific goals. The ability to perform targeted multi-parameter (physical and chemical properties,acoustic, optic, laser scanning imagery) data acquisition will constitute a significant performance improvement over existing autonomous platforms and will allow the scientificend user to better characterize vast areas of the seafloor.

"ECA Group and Ifremer have a strong industrial relationship built over the last 30 years,” says Claude Cazaoulou, at ECA Group. “We have developed projects such as EPAULARD, the very first autonomous robotic submarine capable of taking photographs at a depth of 6000m. More recently, ECA Group was strongly involved in developing HROV Ariane, a new hybrid technology which combines the ability to gather high resolution data in 2500m water depth, performing vertical inspection and intervention tasks while reducing operational expenditures, through the implementation of a ROV and AUV systems in the same architecture.”

Monday, 23 January 2017 12:34

Teledyne releases Klein side-scan/bathymetry module

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Teledyne Gavia, manufacturer of the Gavia autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), has released a side scan/bathymetry module that incorporates US-based Klein Marine Systems’ UUV-3500 high-resolution side scan sonar with optional bathymetry sonar. The system is another option for customers interested in utilizing the Gavia AUV for geophysical survey, cable and pipeline survey, environmental survey, and under ice survey, as well as mine countermeasures, rapid environmental assessment, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance surveys.

Equipping the Gavia AUV with the survey-grade long range side scan from Klein Marine Systems creates a mobile survey platform designed with high quality side scan range and resolution. The swath bathymetry option allows for wide swath performance which is typically ten to twelve times the overall altitude of the AUV. The module allows customers to have both side scan and swath bathymetry from a single module. The first delivery of the Klein UUV 3500 Module will occur in Q1 2017 and is integrated with the SeeByte Autotracker software for autonomous pipeline tracking. The Gavia AUV can also be equipped with a camera and strobe system for close inspection of any targets identified by the sonar system. 

 “The Gavia AUV’s accurate navigation capability combined with the long range, wide swath data provided by the Klein UUV-3500, make this a highly efficient solution for a variety of commercial, military, and scientific applications,” said Arnar Steingrimsson, global head of sales – AUVs, Teledyne Marine. “Geophysical surveys can also be conducted by adding the swath bathymetry option, Teledyne Benthos sub-bottom profiler module, and environmental sensors.”

In addition to the release of the Klein sonar module, Teledyne Gavia has recently released two other significant upgrades to its vehicle: the upgraded Gavia battery module has more than a 20% increase in capacity, due to a partnership with Teledyne Energy Systems, and a high efficiency power management system was developed by Teledyne Gavia to optimize the performance of the batteries.; an improved nozzle actuator which increases the volume of compensation to better deal with deepwater operations and temperature variations. 

These three enhancements are designed to increase the reliability, efficiency and performance of the Gavia AUV system. 

The Gavia AUV can carry an array of sensors and custom payload modules to a survey site in up to 1000m water depth for research, monitoring, survey or surveillance tasks.  Teledyne Gavia supplies AUV systems to the oil and gas sector, oceanographic and environmental research institutes, and to the defense sector. 

Image: Gavia AUV/Teledyne Maritime

Monday, 23 January 2017 11:44

STR releases FMD tool at Subsea Expo

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Subsea Technology & Rentals (STR) will release their SeaGamma Flooded Member Detection System at Subsea Expo Exhibition 2017.

Gamma Flooded Member Detection (FMD) is used for the inspection and monitoring of subsea structural members for the detection of water ingress.  FMD inspection technique can also be applied to locate blockages in pipelines as a result of pigging or silt build up. 

With climate change warming our coastal waters, progressive marine growth means traditional methods of nondestructive testing inspection can be costly and inefficient.  The STR SeaGamma FMD standard system has been designed from the ground upwards to rapidly survey components up to 2m diameter from an inspection or work class remotely operated vehicle and requires no marine growth removal to deliver results.

“SeaGamma FMD system has been designed with substantial input from industry inspection experts and is expected to be the method of choice for the inspection and monitoring of subsea components for the detection of water ingress,” said Neil Jackson, sales and operations manager, STR.

Image: 63mm FMD/STR

Monday, 23 January 2017 10:55

Webtool develops resettable ED cutter

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Hydraulic cutting systems specialist, Webtool, announces a resettable emergency disconnect (ED) cutter for light and medium subsea well intervention. As an integral part of either a workover tool or dedicated emergency disconnect package, the Webtool guillotine cutter can now be reset subsea by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), avoiding the need to return the cutter to the surface vessel for resetting.

The Webtool emergency cutter is designed to be a simpler and quicker emergency disconnection than more complex multi-line stab-plate systems for mixed material bundles. Within a well intervention emergency disconnect package, the bundles are securely positioned in the mouth of the cutter. Multiple fluid transfer lines and hydraulic flying leads (HFL), steel tension member, fiber rope, reinforced hoses, electrical conductors, cables and electrical flying leads (EFL), are all cut in single guillotine action taking just a few seconds.

The Webtool cutter offers weight savings compared with other emergency disconnect methods, and is retrofit to intervention systems.

In the event of an emergency disconnection, the Webtool cutter is reset by the ROV releasing the blade and re-charging the hydraulic system. The ROV then places the new HFL and EFL / mixed material bundles in the jaw of the cutter. The Webtool emergency cutter is set and ready.

As an alternative to rechargeable accumulators, Webtool also offers a solution which requires no external power source, and automatically activates when the emergency disconnect package separates. In this way, proven Webtool cutting heads and blade technology are combined with hydraulic pump actuators to provide the mechanical power necessary to cut modern connection bundles.

“The Webtool cutter has proven to be an effective solution for companies looking for a way of quickly disconnecting mixed media bundles in an emergency,” said Keith Elliot, engineering director, Allspeeds Ltd. “By making the Webtool cutter ROV resettable, it is now even easier for companies to opt for a Webtool cutter for their emergency disconnection needs.”

The Webtool Emergency Disconnect is part of the Webtool range of cutting tools, designed and manufactured exclusively by Allspeeds Ltd.

Image: subsea resettable emergency disconnect cutter/Webtool

Friday, 20 January 2017 11:40

Viper develops V-SUPPLY power module

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Viper Subsea has added to its product portfolio with the introduction of V-SUPPLY, a topsides electrical power module, which as well as providing a source of electrical power to subsea equipment, incorporates monitoring technology.

The development of the V-SUPPLY has been driven by a growing obsolescence issue that is being faced by a number of operators and the need for more advanced condition monitoring of the electrical systems. V-SUPPLY provides control and monitoring technology, and is designed to deliver improved safety performance and cost savings for operators as it provides remote umbilical testing without the need for technicians to be mobilized offshore. The remote testing capability is a novel technology proprietary to Viper Subsea.

“The V-SUPPLY will offer our clients the opportunity to upgrade their topsides located subsea power delivery equipment in a cost-effective way whilst at the same time integrating the latest monitoring technology,” said Neil Douglas, managing director, Viper Subsea. “Offering operators remote access to full electrical performance monitoring delivers obvious cost savings and operator safety improvements.

V-SUPPLY monitors the condition of both the electrical conductors and cable insulation on a live system, detecting both transient and permanent problems in the cables and the umbilical. The technology incorporates the V-LIM, Line Integrity Monitoring functionality, and the proprietary Insulation Resistance recovery technique of V-LIFE, which can be easily activated through the use of a software license. V-SUPPLY also incorporates Spread Spectrum Time Domain Reflectometry (SSTDR) for continuous integrity monitoring of electrical conductors. SSTDR is especially targeted at integrity monitoring of copper conductors in dynamic umbilicals where the risk of faults is at its highest.

In addition, V-SUPPLY is designed to be compatible with both brownfield installations and new greenfield developments and offers a touch screen display as a user interface. Optional electrical supply conditioning provides precise voltage control and variable frequency of output supply. With administrator rights, the onshore engineer can remotely change the subsea supplies and monitor parameters such as transient faults and harmonic distortion.

Image: V-SUPPLY/Viper Subsea

Tuesday, 10 January 2017 10:51

SMD completes 6000m Curvetech testing

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Following the award of an order from Shanghai Salvage for a 6000m Quasar Work Class ROV (remotely operated vehicle), SMD engineers have successfully completed work on the associated Curvetech subsea components to assure maximum working depth up to 6000m.

SMD has a dedicated team of engineers who specialize in the design and testing of SMD’s Curvetech components, to deliver products that enable customers to maximize on remote subsea operations.  

The testing means that the Curvetech range now includes compensators and electrical control Principal Circuit Boards (PCBs) rated for 6000m depth operations, with these components available for direct purchase from SMD Services.

“Hyperbaric testing of critical components is an expensive operation but by performing this testing our clients can be confident that our ROVs will operate reliably right from delivery,” said Mark Collins, managing director for SMD ROVs. “SMD’s aim is always zero vehicle downtime."

Friday, 06 January 2017 11:43

Exxon develops cMIST dehydration technology

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ExxonMobil has developed cMIST, a technology which dehydrates natural gas using a patented absorption system inside pipes and replaces the need for conventional dehydration tower technology. This inline technology could be deployed at both land-based and offshore natural gas production operations.

The technology, developed and extensively field-tested by ExxonMobil, has been designed to more efficiently remove water vapor present during the production of natural gas. Removing water vapor through the use of dehydration technology, typically accomplished using large and expensive dehydration towers, reduces corrosion and equipment interference helping the safety and transportation of natural gas through the supply infrastructure.

cMIST reduces the size, weight and cost of dehydration, resulting in reductions of surface footprint by 70% and the overall dehydration system’s weight by half, which has added benefits on offshore applications.

ExxonMobil’s cMIST technology relies on a proprietary droplet generator to break up conventional solvent into tiny droplets that become well dispersed in the gas flow thereby increasing the surface area for the absorption of water from the gas. This is followed by an inline separator that coalesces the water-rich glycol droplets and moves them to the outside wall of the pipe for effective separation from the dehydrated natural gas. The water-rich glycol is regenerated using a conventional system and is sent back to the droplet generator to be used again. The droplet generator uses the energy from the flowing natural gas to create droplets of the right size.

ExxonMobil has licensed cMIST technology to the Chemtech division of Sulzer, a player in separation technologies, to facilitate deployment across the oil and gas industry.

“We are proud to have been selected as worldwide exclusive licensee of the cMIST technology, which includes our patented compact HiPer inline separator,” said Torsten Wintergerste, president of the Chemtech division, Sulzer. “cMIST technology complements the Sulzer line of compact multi-phase separation technologies and will maximize benefits available to oil and gas operating companies around the world.”

Image: cMIST graphic/ExxonMobil

Thursday, 05 January 2017 11:01

Forum completes 350th RT torque machine delivery

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Forum Energy Technologies has designed, manufactured, tested and delivered its 350th rotational torque (RT) torque machine to TAM International, a downhole inflatable packer provider.

The torque machine, or bucking unit as it is commonly referred, was manufactured at the Forum AMC facility in Aberdeen, UK. This represents the sixth unit that TAM has purchased from Forum in three years. The machine will be used to make-up or breakout downhole completion and drilling tools with premium threaded connections. 

The machine can work autonomously to achieve a pre-determined amount of rotational torque and provides an auditable report for thread inspectors, drilling contractors or casing crews. After delivery, Forum will provide TAM with maintenance and support from equipment specialists in Aberdeen and Singapore.

“Our equipment has gone through many improvements over the past 27 years, and our 350th machine provides customers with the latest software to meet the increasing demand on make-up inspection criteria,” said James Bement, senior vice president of drilling technologies, Forum. “Among other improvements, our new hydraulic power unit is capable of improved cycle efficiencies of up to 68%, and reduces energy consumption by up to 31%.”

“Having experienced the numerous operational benefits of Forum’s torque machine at TAM International’s Aberdeen facility, we’re pleased to add this new machine to our new Australian base in Roma,” said David Neill, workshop manager, TAM International, after witnessing and signing off on the factory acceptance test for the new unit.

Image: David Neill (left) receives a plaque from George Hendry, business development manager for Forum AMC/Forum Energy Technologies