TDW Offshore Services has entered into a frame agreement with Amserve Engineering to provide a range of pipeline services on a call-out basis on behalf of Sarawak Shell Berhad in Malaysia. The agreement calls for TDW to supply SmartPlug® pipeline pressure isolation and hot tapping services as required, in addition to subsea repair clamps.
Work will be carried out on Sarawak Shell Berhad’s facilities in the South China Sea, offshore western Borneo. The facilities include the M3, B11, E11 RB, F23 and F6 platforms, located 80 km to 200 km from Miri and Bintulu in the State of Sarawak. Natural gas is transported through four major trunk lines of the pipeline network to an onshore processing plant in Bintulu. Shell and its co-venturer PETRONAS Carigali Sdn. Bhd. are the production-sharing contractors of PETRONAS, the Malaysian national oil company, and Shell is the operator.
Pipeline pressure isolation services are traditionally carried out in conjunction with valve change-outs on export lines in the event of leakage. When these situations arise, TDW "pigs in" the SmartPlug tool from the launcher past the valves that are in need of repair or replacement in order to provide safe isolation while valve maintenance takes place. The valves are typically larger, with a 24-inch to 38-inch bore. Offshore pipeline isolations of this nature typically require a four-man crew to launch, monitor and retrieve the SmartPlug tool. Depending on the circumstances, the operation is completed in two to four weeks. For Shell, the SmartPlug pipeline pressure isolation method is particularly beneficial because a number of pipeline sections in this network require a double-block to safely isolate the work area from hydrocarbons. Without SmartPlug technology, it would be necessary to "bleed down" the affected work zone, which can be very costly and time-consuming.
Successful Pressure Isolations Facilitate Safe Pipeline Maintenance
Work associated with the three-year frame agreement has commenced. Already, TDW has successfully carried out pipeline pressure isolations on the F23 and the M3, with plans to complete two isolations in order to facilitate a pipeline tie-in on the F23 and to replace two valves on the E11 RB in autumn 2009.
The majority of work is being supplied by TDW personnel in Stavanger, with additional support from the company's base in Singapore. The SmartPlug tools used to carry out these services are assembled, tested and mobilized from TDW-Stavangar via Labuan, Malaysia, for customer clearance, and transported by sea to the designated platform.
Since 2001, TDW has performed a number of pipeline pressure isolation operations to facilitate safe valve replacement on behalf of Sarawak Shell Berhad in the region. "Shell is a highly valued customer of ours in Malaysia and worldwide, so we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to continue working on their behalf to ensure that their facilities in the south China Sea continue to operate safely and efficiently," said Rune Haddeland, Managing Director of TDW Offshore Services. "We look forward to providing Shell with custom-engineered isolation solutions that make pipeline maintenance and repair a straightforward and reliable process," he added.
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