Neptune Marine Services' NEPSYS Technology Dives to New Depths

Neptune Marine Services announced that its patented NEPSYS® dry underwater welding technology has been qualified to -70msw (-230fsw) following a program of research and development testing conducted recently at the National Hyperbaric Centre in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The qualification to -70msw was achieved on two welds that were completed to specifications relating to both potential future client requirements and conventional applications. The welds were independently witnessed and passed by Lloyds Register following a comprehensive program of NDT and mechanical testing to the underwater welding code AWS D3.6M1999 -- Class A standard.

Another significant outcome of the 2009 NEPSYS® R&D test program was the successful achievement of subsea parent metal pre-heat to 150°C (320°F) and post weld dehydrogenation; processes that can be critical in achieving optimal metallurgy in certain materials.

Neptune's Managing Director and CEO, Christian Lange, said the new developments would provide significant opportunities for the ongoing application of NEPSYS® in the international oil and gas industry. "Since its introduction in 2003, NEPSYS® has been successfully and consistently applied to a range of projects within its former depth limitation of -30msw (-98fsw)," he explained.

"This most recent development to -70msw, along with our qualification earlier this year to -43msw (-140fsw) for the North Sea project that we are currently involved with, will provide much greater scope for the technology to be applied to oil and gas infrastructure situated in areas of deeper water including the Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, South America (Brazil) and Middle East."

The -70msw qualification is one of a number of R&D initiatives undertaken this year that will help to broaden the global application of NEPSYS®. For 2010, Neptune will consider a return to the National Hyperbaric Centre to conduct R&D testing to depths towards and beyond -100msw (-330fsw) and greater subsea parent metal pre-heat.

The patented NEPSYS® dry underwater welding technology is a proven, class approved alternative to conventional methods of offshore maintenance and repair that produces a permanent surface quality weld in an underwater environment. Simple, highly effective and cost efficient, NEPSYS® negates the need for dry docking or expensive hyperbaric repairs as the entire welding process is carried out in-situ.

Portable, custom designed welding habitats are secured to the weld area to create a fully enclosed and controlled environment that isolates the weld zone from the surrounding environment. Ideal welding conditions are created and maintained within the habitat via the continuous delivery of heated inert gas that prevents quenching and provides even thermal distribution.