TDW Completes Pipeline Pressure Isolation in Malaysia

TDW completed a key pipeline pressure isolation and joint testing operation offshore western Borneo in Malaysia for Sarawak Shell Berhad.

TDW worked on platform F23P-A, which is part of the facilities operated by Sarawak Shell Berhad located 80 to 200 km from Miri and Bintulu. The operation was carried out on a gas export line that forms a portion of the line that runs from the F23P-A to the E11R-A platform. The network extends to one of the major trunklines connected to an LNG plant onshore in Bintulu. The TDW operation made it possible for Shell to install a motor-operated valve (MOV) in preparation for installation of a new compressor module.

TDW used its SmartPlug® isolation tool to isolate the section of the line that required a new valve. In order to provide a safe isolation while the line was cut and the new valve was installed, TDW pigged in a 30-inch SmartPlug® isolation tool from the launcher past the site designated for valve installation. By doing so, the line was safely isolated in preparation for cutting the line and valve installation. While the line was isolated, the line was successfully cut, and a new flange was welded to it.

To ensure that the flange was properly installed without pressurizing the entire line, TDW tested the weld with a joint tester tool. Following testing of the weld, the new valve was installed. Overall, the affected portion of the gas export line was safely isolated for a period of one month while testing and valve installation took place.

TDW carried out the recent operation with a SmartPlug® tool and joint tester that the company built at its headquarters in Stavanger, with local support from personnel based in Singapore and its agent in Malaysia, Amserve Engineering.

Technology Reduces Costs, Enhances Safety

"Had they not retained TDW to use its SmartPlug® isolation tool to create a double-block on the line, Shell would have been faced with the costly expense of bleeding down the affected line to isolate the affected area from hydrocarbons," said Rutger Schouten, Director of Operations and Technology, TDW. "I am pleased to report that the isolation operation and joint testing were carried out as planned, enabling Shell to cut the line and install the new valve, confident in the knowledge that personnel would be safe and that the job would be completed on schedule," he added.

The recent isolation operation on the F23P-A was carried out in association with the three-year frame agreement that TDW entered into with Sarawak Shell Berhad to provide pipeline pressure isolation services and hot tapping services, as well as a subsea repair clamp in 2009.

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.

The Sarawak Shell Berhad facilities include the M3, B11, E11 RB, F23 and F6 platforms. Natural gas is transported through four major trunk lines of the pipeline network to an onshore processing plant in Bintulu.