Waimea piles guided home


A newly developed subsea pile-stabilising template has been successfully deployed for the first time in Brazil’s Campos Basin. The StabFrame, jointly developed by Large Diameter Drilling (LDD ) and German underwater hammer specialist Menck, was brought into play for Wellstream International during installation of an FPSO mooring system for the OG X Petroleo e Gas Waimea field development in 140m of water.

Steered via a work-class ROV, the StabFrame is designed to reliably stabilize a vertical pile in varying soil conditions. Rather than relying on a release mechanism attached to the pile, its hydraulic release mechanism allows the pile to be driven further into the seabed, if required, before opening the frame. In this way, the system can adjust to unpredictable and challenging seabed conditions, say its joint developers, both members of the Acteon Group.

At Waimea, where Menck was contracted by Wellstream to drive ten 84in mooring piles using an MHU 500T hydraulic hammer, the StabFrame is reported to have worked well despite strong currents estimated at times to be more than 3.5 knots. The project finished without incident or injury and ahead of schedule, reported Menck project manager Thorsten Sprunk.

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