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Remote-controlled world record at Åsgard

For the very first time, remote-controlled machines and an underwater welding robot have installed a new tie-in point on a live gas pipeline, without the pipeline being prepared in advance.

Subsea Hot Tap Video Link

These types of operations can save Statoil lots of money in the long run.

The hot tap installation is the first to be carried out in connection with preparations for Åsgard subsea gas compression in the Norwegian Sea, and thus also represents a milestone for the project. The tie-in point was welded on to the Åsgard B production flowline at a water depth of 265 metres.

After ten days on the field, the hot-tap operation team on board the Technip-owned vessel Scandi Arctic could confirm success in the pioneering operation.

Kjell Edvard Apeland, project manager of the remote-controlled hot tap development in Statoil and head of the operation on the Åsgard field. (Photo: Rune Solheim)

“For a subsea engineer, this can be compared with landing on Mars,” says Kjell Edvard Apeland. He is project manager of the remote-controlled hot tap development in Statoil and head of the operation on the Åsgard field.

Simply explained, a remote-controlled hot tap operation consists of a robot welding a T-piece on to the pipe, while gas is flowing through it. When that has been done, a remote-controlled drilling machine will drill holes in the producing pipeline, with no effect on pressure and production.

“When the compressor module and the manifold for Åsgard subsea compression are installed next year, we will connect the pipeline from these to the hot-tap tie-in point,” says Apeland.

The Åsgard subsea compression project will be realised in 2015, as the first of its kind in the world. Compressors will be installed on the seabed, instead of on a platform. This will improve recovery from the Mikkel and Midgard reservoirs by around 280 million barrels of oil equivalents.

Major savings

Hot tap technology is a technological breakthrough, and a door opener for developing marginal fields, as well as extending the lifetime of other fields.

The ability to connect anywhere on a pipeline, without stopping production, yields considerable flexibility and significant savings.

Torstein Vinterstø, portfolio manager for subsea compression projects in Statoil. (Photo: Anette Westgård)

“Since we will be connecting a new compressor station on the seabed to an existing pipeline system on Åsgard, it is very beneficial to use the hot tap technology to avoid disrupting production,” says Torstein Vinterstø, portfolio manager for subsea compression projects in Statoil.

“The savings are measured compared with what it would have cost to perform a similar operation, including shutting down production in the pipeline we were working on. This would also have taken much longer than the ten days we spent now – possibly as long as three months,” he says.

Home-grown technology

The method was developed by Statoil, and there is no comparable technology.

The work to develop the technology started in 1999, and was developed in Statoil’s pipe technology environment at Killingøy outside Haugesund. Statoil’s expertise in tie-in and repair of pipelines is gathered there.

Open and constructive cooperation with our key suppliers has been instrumental in achieving this.

Statoil has already thoroughly tested the hot tap technology, with good results. Remote-controlled hot tap has previously been performed on Tampen Link on the Statfjord field in the North Sea and on the Ormen Lange field in the Norwegian Sea, but then the T-piece had already been installed on the gas pipeline in advance.

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Norway: Technip to Install Subsea Compression System on Asgard

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Technip has been awarded by Statoil a contract, valued above €150million (198.5 million U.S. dollars), for the major Åsgard Subsea Compression project located in the Norwegian Sea, 40 kilometers East of the Åsgard field, at a water depth of 340 meters. The contract covers the installation of the subsea compression system and its connection to the existing subsea infrastructure and the Åsgard platform.

The contract includes fabrication, installation and tie-in of pipeline spools including protection covers and installation of power cables and umbilicals.

It also comprises options for the following works:  engineering, fabrication and supply of a special handling system (SHS) for the installation and retrieval of the subsea compression system modules, initial installation of the subsea compression system modules.

Technip’s operating centers in Oslo and Stavanger, Norway will execute the contract. Offshore construction will take place in 2013 and 2014. The contract also includes options for the IMR(3) stand-by vessel until 2018.

The Åsgard field is situated in the Norwegian Sea, about 200 kilometres off mid-Norway and 50 kilometres south of Heidrun. Åsgard is one of the largest developments on the Norwegian continental shelf, embracing a total of 52 wells drilled through 16 seabed templates.

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Norway: Statoil Orders Subsea Structures for Asgard

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Bergen Group Offshore has, through its subsidiary Bergen Group Rosenberg AS, been awarded a contract by Statoil for fabrication of subsea structures for the Åsgard Subsea Compression Project with an estimated value of 50 MNOK.

The project involves delivery of 12 off PLEM structures (Pipeline End Manifold) and one riser base with a total estimated weight of 850 tonnes. The contract includes project management, shop engineering, planning and work preparation,  procurement, fabrication and testing of the structures. The work will commence immediately and final delivery shall take place in May 2013.

The project organization will be mobilized at Buøy, Stavanger where all project activities will be undertaken.

“Bergen Group Rosenberg very pleased to be awarded this contract. We are well positioned for the growing subsea market with our excellent track record for quality deliveries. Through recent investments in fabrication facilities and equipment we shall achieve further improvements in productivity and quality.” says Kristin Færøvik, Executive Vice President of Bergen Group Offshore and CEO of Bergen Group Rosenberg.

Statoil and its partners on Åsgard field have opted for subsea gas compression to help recover the big remaining reserves in this Norwegian Sea field. Subsea compression is expected to increase the recovery factor and producing life of Åsgard. By carrying out compression on the seabed, Asgard partners will achieve benefits in the form of improved energy efficiency and lower costs compared with carrying out compression on platforms or on land.

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