Workshop Pushes Boundaries of Flexible Pipe Engineering

Representatives from 20 oil and gas companies from around the world met in Rio de Janeiro recently to examine standards for flexible pipe in light of increasing use especially in challenging conditions, introduction of new technology, and lessons learned from operational experience.

The meeting was a three-day workshop for the participants of the Flexible Pipe Technology Joint Industry Project, which is led by subsea engineering company MCS.

The aim of the JIP, which was launched earlier this year, is to get companies across the sector working together to push the boundaries of flexible pipe engineering and create the platform for further technology development. The key deliverables will be revisions to the universally accepted API standards that take account of the progress in flexible pipe engineering.

The industry standards for unbonded flexible pipe design were developed through two JIPs, managed by MCS, from 1994 to 1998.

"With deepwater production increasing and technology evolving, it is important that the standards evolve to recognize this and ensure integrity and operational efficiency," explained Frank Grealish, director of MCS.

"The JIP is undertaking a complete review of current flexible pipe technology to improve capability to meet future demands and update standards. It is investigating key critical aspects of flexible pipe technology such as design, integrity management and prototype testing. Leading this JIP is tremendously important for MCS as it demonstrates recognition of our reputation in the area of flexible pipe and confidence in our abilities by the international industry.

"It was appropriate that this meeting was held in Rio, given the importance of flexible pipe as a component of offshore developments in Brazil with Petrobras being one of the main users of flexible pipe in the world, starting in the Campos Basin in the mid seventies. From this time on, typical field lay-outs have included the use of flexibles and the Garoupa field model is being adopted by other operators coming in to Brazil."

The workshop focused on design requirements, manufacturing requirements, qualification and prototype testing, and integrity management.

Participating companies were ExxonMobil, Petrobras, Statoil, BP, Norsk Hydro, Chevron, Shell, Woodside, Petronas, Inpex, Saipem, SBM, Technip, Wellstream, NKT Flexibles, DeepFlex, API, UK HSE, and Norwegian PSA.

MCS is a global subsea engineering and consultancy company with offices in Aberdeen, Galway, Houston, Paris, Perth, and Rio de Janeiro. The company provides services and software in the areas of floating production systems, flexible risers and flowline systems, top tensioned risers, oil-tanker loading systems, steel catenary risers, drilling risers, and mooring systems.

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