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Enbridge to Build Crude Oil Pipeline in US GoM

Enbridge Inc., announced that it will build, own and operate a crude oil pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico to connect the proposed Heidelberg development, operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, to an existing third-party pipeline system.

The lateral pipeline is expected to be operational by 2016. Construction of the pipeline is subject to finalization of definitive agreements and sanction of the development by Anadarko and its project co-owners.

The Heidelberg lateral will originate in Green Canyon Block 860, approximately 200 miles southwest of New Orleans and in 5300 feet of water. The pipeline will be 20 inches in diameter and approximately 34 miles in length.

“We are pleased to be working with Anadarko and the Heidelberg producers,” said Leon Zupan, President, Gas Pipelines. “The Heidelberg lateral pipeline is an attractive investment opportunity for Enbridge. It also furthers our objective of diversifying our offshore business to include facilities that support the substantial crude oil discoveries in the deepwater of the US Gulf Coast.”

Enbridge’s offshore pipelines transport approximately 40 per cent of the natural gas produced in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The company’s offshore assets include interests in 13 natural gas gathering and transmission pipelines and one crude oil pipeline in five major pipeline corridors off the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Subsea World News – Enbridge to Build Crude Oil Pipeline in US GoM.

TDW Completes Subsea Pipeline Pressure Isolation in the Gulf of Mexico

TDW Offshore Services (TDW), a leading supplier of pipeline services and equipment, has successfully completed a subsea pipeline pressure isolation operation in the Gulf of Mexico. Carried out at a depth of 370 ft (113 m) against 870 psig, this isolation enabled the safe and effective tie-in of a piggable wye to the Mississippi Canyon Gas Pipeline, a 30-inch natural gas line running between the West Delta 143 platform – a hub facility for deepwater oil and gas production – and the Venice Gas Plant in Louisiana.

The isolation project utilized two remote-controlled 30-inch SmartPlug® dual module pressure isolation tools to isolate 45 miles of pipeline.

“The SmartPlug® isolation tool is certified to ‘Safety Class High’ in accordance with OS-F101 for Submarine Pipeline Systems and is uniquely suited for use in connection with diving operations,” says Bjørn-Olav Gilje, project manager for TDW.

Each tool was composed of two plug modules and two pigging modules. One of the tools provided double block isolation on the high pressure side of the tie-in location. The first module on the second tool provided a hydraulic locked barrier of the high pressure side for the divers installing the wye. The second module on the second tool was used to perform a leak test to verify integrity of the new wye after installation.

Following launch, TDW technicians aboard dive support vessel Norman Commander used the remotely-operated SmartTrack™ tracking and pressure monitoring system to continuously monitor the locations of the SmartPlug® tools as they traveled to their subsea set destinations. The SmartTrack™ system uses two-way, through-wall, electromagnetic communication between a transponder and a receiver to track tool progress. Once the tools were set, the isolation period was approximately two and a half weeks.

“TDW worked with the client and their contractors over several months to ensure that associated risks were evaluated and mitigated,” Gilje adds. “This thorough up-front planning resulted in a successful tie-in operation for our client. Working together achieved a result that we are proud to have been part of.”

Subsea World News – TDW Completes Subsea Pipeline Pressure Isolation in the Gulf of Mexico.

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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USA: DTE Energy, Enbridge and Spectra Energy Team Up to Build Gas Pipeline

DTE Energy, Enbridge Inc. and Spectra Energy Corp announced the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop the NEXUS Gas Transmission (NGT) system, a project that will move growing supplies of Ohio Utica shale gas to markets in the U.S. Midwest, including Ohio and Michigan, and Ontario, Canada.

The proposed NGT project will originate in northeastern Ohio, include approximately 250 miles of large diameter pipe, and be capable of transporting one billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. The line will follow existing utility corridors to an interconnect in Michigan and utilize the existing Vector Pipeline system to reach the Ontario market. Upon completion of the project, Spectra Energy will become a 20-percent owner in Vector Pipeline, a joint venture between DTE Energy and Enbridge.

The new pipeline will serve local distribution companies, power generators and industrial users in the Ohio, Michigan and Ontario markets. It will include interconnects with Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, Consumers Energy and, through the Vector Pipeline, the Enbridge Tecumseh Gas Storage facility and Union Gas’ Dawn Hub, both in Ontario.

The Partners have received expressions of interest for a significant level of firm capacity to anchor the project. An open season for the project is planned for fourth quarter 2012, with a targeted in-service as early as November 2015, depending on final market demand and commitments.

DTE Energy, Enbridge and Spectra Energy Team Up to Build Gas Pipeline, USA LNG World News.

Mexico turns to Texas for relief during natural gas crisis

Posted on September 3, 2012 at 12:38 am
by FuelFix.com

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s national oil monopoly has been issuing critical alerts seemingly every week, warning of natural gas shortages lasting hours or even days and crimping supplies to homes, power plants and factories.

And yet, the country has some of the world’s largest natural gas reserves and easy access to a cheap and plentiful U.S. supply.

“There hasn’t been enough energy planning in this country,” said Raul Monteforte, a former senior official with Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission who’s now development director for Fermaca, a private Mexican transportation pipeline company. “Huge errors of omission have brought us a gas crisis.”

The gas squeeze will only worsen as many of Mexico’s new and existing electricity plants abandon coal and other fuels in favor of natural gas, gobbling up much of the available supply.

Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, as the monopoly is called, will prove unable to get much more of the gas produced in its own fields to market.

Amid renewed political pressure to further open Mexico’s energy industries to private interests, energy planners have launched a frenzied expansion of the country’s woeful pipeline system. As much as 3 billion additional cubic feet per day of U.S. natural gas, most of it from Texas, will feed the new grid.

Central Mexican cities have been the worst affected by the critical shortage, but even companies in Monterrey, the industrial powerhouse that abuts the sprawling Burgos Basin gas fields, have been slammed.

“Such obstacles can’t be permitted, even less so ones provoked by a state monopoly,” Caintra, a leading Monterrey business association, declared in a full-page newspaper ad. “We demand an immediate solution.”

Texas, Arizona lines

Using an offshore Pemex subsidiary supposedly free of Mexican congressional oversight and constitutional restrictions, planners are rushing to build two new U.S. pipelines – to the Arizona border south of Tucson and from near Corpus Christi to the Rio Grande – to push that U.S. gas deep into the Mexican heartland.

Officials say the new pipelines will be completed by the late summer 2014.

But Monteforte and other critics contend that plans for the lion’s share of the expansion – shipping South Texas gas into the Mexican heartland – will assure Pemex’s grip on gas consumers for decades to come.

“If it flies I think Mexico’s gas market will remain in the hands of Pemex,” said Monteforte in criticizing the Texas pipeline proposal.

His company is building and will own a 225-mile pipeline from the border at El Paso to near Chihuahua City, he said.

“This will kill the opening of the gas market we’ve fought for since the 1990s,” he said.

The new U.S. pipelines, being contracted by Pemex’s MGI gas trading firm, will connect to a privately owned system being built across northwestern Mexico and to the much larger Los Ramones duct that will run from near the border at McAllen deep into central Mexico.

Increasing imports

After sharp increases in the late 1980s and early ’90s, Mexico now imports some 15 percent of its natural gas supply from the United States, said Michelle Foss, program manager of the University of Texas’ Bureau of Economic Geology in Houston. By 2010, Mexico had increased its U.S. gas imports by 200 times what it did in the early 1980s.

Now, Mexico’s imports seem poised to spike again, perhaps bolstering prices for dry natural gas.

“Mexico will take all they can get and, as in the 1990s, could help to rebalance our market,” Foss said.

Project proposals for the South Texas pipeline – called the Agua Dulce to Frontera – were expected Monday. Pemex says the winning bid will be announced Sept. 18.

“For us it’s urgent to bring that gas,” said Guillermo Ortiz, a Mexico City executive who heads the energy committee at Canacintra, a leading Mexican industrial chamber. “They took a long time to contract for the pipelines. These types of situations are really hurting the consumers.”

dudley.althaus@chron.com

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