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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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