Products in action - OE June 2010

June 10, 2010

Ultra-deep Perdido pumps
The Centrilift XP enhanced run-life electrical submersible pump (ESP) systems with which Baker Hughes outfitted the pioneering subsea boosting stations at Shell's Perdido field are being hailed as the only subsea pumping systems qualified for Perdido's 8000ft water depths.

Baker Hughes has installed two ESP systems at the ultradeepwater Gulf of Mexico development and plans to deploy another three later this year. The systems are designed to boost up to 125,000b/d of fluid from the three fields tied back to the Perdido spar: Great White, Silvertip and Tobago.

Perdido, which began producing in March, is the world's deepest application of a full-scale seafloor separation and boosting system. Baker Hughes' 1600hp ESP systems are installed in 350ft caissons connected to the platform's production risers. Each caisson is also equipped with cylindrical-cyclonic gas separation systems to separate gas from the fluids before the fluids enter the ESP system.

The ESP systems also incorporate Baker Hughes' Surelift sensors and monitoring instrumentation and an ESP cable/control line cutting tool in case the tubing inside a production riser must be cut and retrieved.

Richard Williams, president of Gulf of Mexico operations for Baker Hughes, called Perdido ‘a major milestone' for his company in the Gulf of Mexico.

‘This was an extremely complex project, requiring years of joint research and development with Shell,' Williams added.

Honorable discharge
Schlumberger rolled out its ClearPhase mobile testing discharge treatment at OTC. The well testing system provides onsite discharge treatment and real-time monitoring with an auditable record of output quality.

Integrating Torr de-oiling technology from ProSep with its own surface testing technology has created a treatment system specifically designed for well testing noted Schlumberger, adding it has conducted successful tests with ClearPhase in Angola, Congo, Nigeria and Brazil.

By incorporating ProSep's RPA – reusable petroleum absorbent – the system produces no waste or byproducts during effluent treatment, Schlumberger said, and helps eliminate the need for storage, transport and offsite fluid processing onshore and offshore.

ClearPhase handles water flow rates up to 5000b/d, and is rated for H2S service and qualified to 212°F and 150psi. The pressurized system does not require gas venting while testing, and fluids can be redirected back into the system to meet compliance requirements if necessary.

‘ClearPhase recovers residual oil to reduce oil-inwater concentration to less than 20ppm and helps our clients get more out of their well test,' said Schlumberger Testing Services marketing manager Shehryar Lodhi. ‘This unique treatment service gives operators the freedom to test in environmentally sensitive areas.'

Synthesis on show . . .
Bridon International unveiled Synthesis, its latest product for ultra-deepwater floating production facilities' permanent mooring cables, during last month's OTC show in Houston.

The new synthetic rope design is expected to offer a solution for reliable, predictable deepwater moorings with the light weight of synthetic fibre tethers, but of robust constructional characteristics and reliable mechanical terminations of traditional steel wire rope solutions. Current test data on extension characteristics indicate the opportunity for improved station keeping performance in ultra-deep waters, said Bridon technical development manager Sara Fletcher.

The outcome of collaboration between Bridon and DuPont with academic support from Leeds University in the UK, Synthesis ‘marries innovative material selection with a unique processing equipment and methodology developed by Bridon to produce a synthetic wire similar in dimensions to a steel wire, which can be incorporated into traditional steel wire rope geometry'.

‘When used in the manufacture of spiral strand, potentially even sheathed, the result is a product with ideal properties for use in long-term mooring of production facilities in ultra-deepwater,' Fletcher said.

. . . as Dutch fiber offers a lift
Dutch fiber specialist DSM Dyneema also unveiled its latest development for deepwater rope applications at OTC.

Ropes made with the new fiber, Dyneema XBO, are said to provide the same load-bearing capability as steel wire ropes that weigh seven times as much. ‘The weight of the steel wire can consume up to 50% of the winch capacity in ultra-deepwater installations,' the company pointed out. ‘By substituting steel with ropes made with Dyneema XBO, systems can carry higher loads, or they can be downsized while retaining their deepwater installation capacity, freeing up vital deck space.'

Ropes with Dyneema XBO fiber are said to match or exceed steel wire rope in bending cycles to failure. Other advantages claimed are: high resistance to dynamic as well as static loads; greater flexibility; easier installation, and high resistance to environmental damage or abrasion.

One company looking closely at the deepwater application of such fibers is Huisman Equipment. Its technical manager Eric Romeijn commented: ‘Synthetic fiber ropes with Dyneema have a great potential with respect to deepwater lifting operations, because of their submerged weight. At 3000m of water depth the effective payload of a deepwater crane using Dyneema rope may be doubled compared to a steel wire rope.' Romeijn said his company was collaborating with Dyneema ‘in a mutual effort to try to conclude the possibilities and requirements that this type of operation set to the fibers, rope constructions, end-connections, sheaves, winches, inspection and maintenance'.

Hailing the new fiber as ‘the most significant alternative yet to steel wire rope', Jorn Boesten, DSM Dyneema's segment manager for offshore applications, noted: ‘Latest installations in very deep water put greater stresses on operators' lifting equipment. Dyneema XBO was developed to be used in ropes that can perform under extreme conditions, such as in heave compensated systems that handle severe bending loads.'

Through integration with the NaviPac system and its 3D visualization module option, Danish company Eiva's newly released NaviCat software features catenary simulations related to anchor handling tug operations. By utilizing predefined cable, MLB and anchor libraries NaviCat makes creation, modification and display of catenaries easy and intuitive, says Eiva. Each library allows for maintenance and extension by the user. During catenary simulation cable types, MLB's and anchors can be replaced/exchanged dynamically and the effect is displayed instantly. Defined project files can be stored by the user for later re-use of specific set-ups. NaviCat can operate in either manual, calculation or online mode. A large number of catenary parameters can be displayed, such as TDP, tension and angle at fairlead, tension along catenary, total length, position of anchor and MLB's, estimated anchor position, and display tension alarms along the catenary. Display is supported by tools including a/o zooming, measurement, automatic arranging of catenary profiles, drag-and-drop and dockable windows.

ROV sensor retrieval
Emerson Process Management last month unveiled its plans for the first industrywide system designed to enable remote retrieval and replacement of sensors mounted on subsea production equipment, utilizing a standard subsea ROV.

Claimed capable of performing a retrieval and replacement job in just two hours, the Roxar ROV Sensor Retrieval System is being evaluated and tested by a Norwegian Demo 2000-sponsored JIP that includes Emerson, BP, Chevron, Shell, Total and Statoil.

The system has four main components:

  • A permanently installed mechanical interface, which consists of a pipeline hub with guide felix and guide funnel, which guides the electronic canister and retrieval tool into place. The interface, designed to accommodate different types of sensors, must be machined and installed on the subsea structure.
  • A sensor/transmitter, which includes a probe carrier, an electronics canister and a power/communications cable. The electronics canister is locked to the hub with a mechanically operated collet connector with the electronics inside the canister translating and transferring the signals from the sensor to the control module.
  • The ROV-based sensor retrieval tool, which replaces the sensors during operation, providing a metallically sealed, leak-proof connection to the system where the probe carrier is installed. The tool includes a collet connector with a pressure vessel and revolver.
  • The hydraulic & control system, contained within a skidded ROV retrieval tool basket. Attached as part of the ROV, the skid is the carrier used to transport the tool to its location. The skid also pumps and flushes fluid through storage tanks and hydraulic and electrical couplings to enable the ROV to control the tool.


Shallow water testing on one of Statoil's fields is due to take place this year. ISO and API standards certification is being sought and Emerson said it will go a step further and donate significant intellectual property for the interface to the industry to enable widespread adoption and protect customers from proprietary systems.

Sand screen innovation
Scarlet, a company recently launched with the backing of upstream private equity investor Epi-V, has been established to take an innovative and proven sand screen and inflow control technology using hydraulic force applied from the surface to change the shape of pressure chambers within screen sections, through field trials and commercial development phase.

The brainchild of Paul Metcalfe, an early pioneer in the design and commercialization of expandable pipe technologies, the new screen is reported during tests to have demonstrated higher flow rate capability, greater collapse resistance, and lower installation risk by utilising surface activation.

Estimating the sand screen technologies market to be worth over $900 million and growing at 11% per year, Epi-V has also funded an office and product development facility in Aberdeen headed by former Schlumberger, PSL and Expro hand Steve Bruce.

Retrievable BOP acoustic system
DTC International has landed a contract to provide a fully retrievable acoustic system (including retrievable batteries), based on the company's innovative Modsys modular subsea control system (pictured), to be fitted to a BOP on a drilling rig contracted for work offshore Brazil.

The acoustic system is comprised of three Modsys modules, one with a total of 12 directional control valves, 16 solenoids and 32 pressure transducers, and two other interchangeable modules, which include acoustic components and battery packs from an industry leading acoustic supplier.

Houston-based DTC's Modsys control system incorporates components, the company says, have been field proven for years within the production and drilling industry.

It is a creatively configured package that can be deployed and retrieved using a workclass ROV equipped with a tooling skid, allowing the acoustic system to be repaired and its batteries replaced without bringing the stack to the surface.

As well as enabling independent failed components to be changed out with ease in deep water, DTC says the compact, lightweight Modsys system's infinitely variable configurations enable new modules to be added as required and the system's capabilities to be expanded or customized.

Start-up's silver lining
Just six months after start-up, Swagelining has been tasked with delivering an integrated polymer-lining system for a single line offset water injection riser which will sit in 2000m of water on the BP block 31 project offshore Angola.

The block 31 contract was awarded by Pipeline Technique for its client Heerema Marine Contractors. OE

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