TDW Spotlights Reducing Downtime at Pipeline Conference

To bring the UK pipeline industry up-to-date on the latest developments in its range of pipeline system flow assurance capabilities, TDW Offshore Services A.S. hosted its first conference in Aberdeen this month. The conference, entitled "If You Could Reduce Downtime, Would You?" spotlighted the many ways in which pipeline downtime can be reduced when it becomes necessary to make critical repairs or conduct planned maintenance and inspection services.

As the world's leading provider of pipeline isolation and by-pass operations, TDW Offshore Services uses its Hot Tap, STOPPLE and SmartPlug technologies to carry out these services. To maintain flow assurance and determine pipeline integrity, TDW also provides state-of-the-art pipeline cleaning and inspection services.

Throughout the day, approximately 100 guests from the oil and gas industry attended the conference. Guests had the opportunity to examine TDW’s pipeline technology, and attend their choice of seminar tracks: one dedicated to pipelines and the other to topside applications. Topics ranged from maintaining production during valve change-outs and emergency preparedness for subsea pipelines, to TDW’s ROV-installable clamps used to carry out pipeline repairs.

On-hand to present were senior managers from TDW Offshore Services in Aberdeen and company headquarters in Stavanger, as well as parent company T.D. Williamson, Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Emergency Preparedness for Subsea Pipelines

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the damage inflicted on pipeline systems in the Gulf of Mexico, there is a rising trend in the industry to thoroughly prepare for natural disasters and potential pipeline disruption, especially subsea. "Emergency Preparedness for Subsea Pipelines -- EPRS," delivered by Jon Major, Vice-President of TDW Offshore Services, highlighted the need to prepare for emergencies, whether it be hurricanes or an anchor dragging on a pipeline, pulling it out of alignment.

To illustrate the benefits of emergency-preparedness, Major cited TDW's recent subsea flex-joint isolation operation on the Independence Trail natural gas pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico for a prestigious pipeline operator. The operation allowed critical repairs to be made on the flex-joint assembly of the 20-inch export riser on the platform which had begun to leak. The platform riser had been assessed by TDW with its SmartPlug pipeline isolation tool for possible isolation.

This assessment allowed TDW to quickly mobilize a double-block module 20-inch SmartPlug tool to the platform where it was temporarily installed. The isolation operation was completed in just 10 days. Prior assessment of the Independence system for isolation emergencies permitted a record-breaking response by TDW with regard to the isolation of this important riser.

According to TDW, the operation is one of the fastest mobilizations the company has ever carried out, due in part to the advance preparation of the SmartPlug operation. The flex-joint repair was achieved without degassing and flooding the riser, and re-commissioning it post-repair, which would have been far more costly in terms of production downtime and marine spread cost.

A Resounding Success

"We are extremely pleased with the quality of the sessions, and the range of companies represented at our first technical conference in the UK," said Gordon Blair, UK Sales Manager for TDW Offshore Services. "It was an excellent opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by the pipeline industry, as well as potential solutions."



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