Olso, Norway-based SubseaDesign has developed a self-aligning subsea connector, a metal to metal seal for 3in to 40in pipes, called SeAlign.
SeAlign 18in diver assisted connector. Photo from SubseaDesign.
And 72 are to be used on Statoil’s Johan Sverdrup development offshore Norway on 8, 12, 14 and 18in pipes.
The flange connection tool allows for greater flexibility when joining pipes subsea, especially angled connections, instead of having tight tolerances and potentially having to force two ends together, which can create bending loads in the pipe system. This also avoids the potential for hydrogen induced stress cracking in duplex steels.
SeAlign, which uses a titanium seal due to its elasticity, although other metals could be used, self-adjusts to ± 3 degrees, finding the angle itself before it is fixed in place using a diver or Torocon ROV connection system. Using SeAlign can then mean the size of pipe spools can be reduced. SeAlign connectors can also be used again, says Bjorn Halvor Pettersen, one of the three co-founders of the company, set up in 2007.
Other owners include Hans Henrik Fjelldal, who was on the board of FMC Technologies up to 2007, working as senior engineering materials technology, and before that worked as senior engineer materials technology at Statoil. He was also a metallurgist at Norsk Hydro.
Among the company’s other products are a wellhead load relief system, comprising a protection structure to which the BOP is connected to. It has already been used on a number of Statoil installations, reducing 60-80% in cyclic bending moments.