The Subsea Well Response Project (SWRP) is collaborating with Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL) to procure offset installation equipment (OIE). This equipment is an industry frst and is designed to support subsea well intervention operations in scenarios where conditions prohibit direct vertical access to a well head.
In the event of a subsea well incident, OIE allows responding personnel to remove or install capping, containment or related equipment from a safe oﬀset distance from an incident site. The equipment is scheduled to be available for industry use in 2016.
Offset Installation Equipment (OIE), was designed, manufactured and recently successfully tested by Saipem in the northern Adriatic Sea. It enables capping or related equipment to be installed at a safe distance from an incident. In fact, the OIE can be deployed up to 500 m from the subsea location where the incident occurred. OIE can be deployed in water depths ranging from 75 to 600 metres and remotely operated from surface through standard Work Class ROV.
This equipment, the only one of its kind in the world, is now stored at Saipem’s base in Trieste where Saipem will take care of its maintenance in order to ensure the readiness for a prompt mobilisation onto a transportation vessel or by air after being dismantled as required. In the same location, Saipem will also train operating personnel to enable them to understand the capabilities of the system and operate the OIE during an incident.
This project, executed by the Saipem Sonsub team, leveraged on the company’s vast engineering know-how and the most advanced technologies and was supported by the collaboration of important local suppliers.
Stefano Porcari, COO of Saipem’s E&C Offshore Division, states: “Working on such a pioneering and prestigious project involved Saipem know-how from various technological centers and represented a unique opportunity to test Saipem expertise in technology and innovation. OIE marks an unprecedented solution to counter the adverse effects on the environment of subsea well incidents and contributes to their prevention. Having actively participated in this project constitutes a remarkable achievement of which we are proud.”
Robert Limb, CEO of Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), adds: “While incident prevention remains industry’s number one priority, the Offset Installation Equipment (OIE) brings additional capabilities which complement the existing Capping Stack Systems and Containment Toolkit enabling members to prepare for, and handle, a broader range of potential subsea well control incidents on a global scale.”
• OIE can be deployed up to 400-500m offset from an incident site
• Suitable for use in a working depth range of 75-600m
• Compatible with OSRL’s capping and containment equipment
• Appropriate for a range of operations including the deployment of a capping stack or containment equipment. It can also be fitted with cutting shears to remove debris
• Available to the international oil and gas industry via membership of OSRL and a supplementary subscription
How it works
The OIE system consists of the following subsystems: a carrier with adjustable buoyancy; a winch system to control the carrier position and lift payloads; a cardan joint for cap fine positioning; and a control system to control all functions.
The ballast is provided via four air ballast tanks that are supplied with air via a dedicated umbilical. This buoyancy provides sufficient ﬂexibility to carry a variety of response equipment payloads, whilst also enabling the equipment to be configured to minimize interaction with the hydrocarbon plume. Mooring winches allow positional control of the carrier in the vicinity of the well, while pennant winches allow lifting and lowering of equipment. Each of the winches has a 50mT pull capacity. The cardan joint provides both the capability to align and lower the capping stack (or other equipment) onto a tilted blowout preventer (BOP). The control system consists of hydraulics, power and communications supplies which are provided via a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The hydraulics utility is provided by an OIE-specific hydraulic power unit that is included in the delivery and attached to the ROV. The dragchain provides passive height control (relative to the seabed) when the carrier is being moved laterally.
Offset Installation Equipment pictured handling a capping stack (Left) and side view (Right) with front buoyancy assemblies removed to show structural frame.