Corus Tubes Delivers North Sea Pipeline Ahead of Schedule

With standard material leadtimes in many cases exceeding six months, Corus Tubes rose to the challenge of a recent pipeline project for Apache North Sea delivering within an extremely tight lead time of just nine weeks in order to meet a lay vessel window of opportunity. Corus Tubes, a business unit of Corus Group, has manufactured and delivered a replacement pipeline for the Forties field, using high frequency induction (HFI) welded coated linepipe which was laid using the reeling process.

Corus Tubes was contracted by Apache to deliver 5.25 km of steel linepipe for use in water depths of approximately 420 feet. The linepipe, which is 14" (355.6 mm) in diameter by 16 mm thick, was ordered, manufactured, coated and delivered within nine weeks. The pipeline, which is located between the Charlie and Bravo platforms in the Forties field, is now in place and is ready for tie-in, the complete project taking only 95 days from conception to completion.

The steel linepipe was manufactured in Corus Tubes’ 20" mill in Hartlepool, which boasts the world’s most powerful induction welding equipment (1.8MW). The pipe was then coated with three-layer polypropylene at BSR Pipeline Services, a Corus joint venture operation with Ramco located on the same site as the pipe mills. The pipe was then delivered to Evanton, in the north of Scotland where it was spooled onto the Apache lay vessel and laid using the reeling method.

HFI linepipe offers a consistently shorter procurement schedule, and is significantly more cost-effective in a unit-by-unit basis assisting in reducing material requirements and offshore construction activity. As the ovality and wall thickness tolerance of HFI is superior to that of seamless linepipe, it can significantly reduce costs at both the design and installation stages.

"The project with Apache reflects our leading edge capabilities in pipe production and delivery," said Corus Tubes Energy Business Director Tim Bird. "In the North Sea particularly, where reserves are reaching maturity and the project life cycle is much shorter, many operators are demanding high quality linepipe which can meet their increased demands of short lead times, cost-effective prices and ultimately reliability and lay ability."

"The success of the project with Apache and the speed at which it was delivered was not only due to our in-depth knowledge and capabilities but also the commitment and teamwork from all those involved."

Mark Richardson, Subsea Projects Manager of Apache North Sea said: "The professionalism and dedication of the Corus Tubes team ensured that this project was completed ahead of schedule and delivered to our exact specification. The benefits of HFI linepipe have never been fully exploited in the North Sea and its use could have significant implications when considering the economics for future North Sea developments."