Aker’s new flexible piping system makes its debut in the North Sea


Aker’s new flexible piping system makes its debut in the North Sea

AKER Solutions has successfully completed engineering work on the Buzzard platform which saw an innovative flexible piping system used on a produced water system for the first time in the North Sea.
The Aberdeen operation of the international engineering and construction services group used the Elastopipe™ FOR (Fire and Oil Resistant) technology when carrying out work to install a temporary compact flotation unit on the Nexen installation.
Developed by Trelleborg Offshore Norway, Elastopipe is a patented corrosion free and fire-resistant piping system originally designed for deluge and sprinkler systems in harsh environments. Made of synthetic rubber, it replaces rigid pipe materials like steel, titanium, copper nickel and fibre glass used in firewater systems.
With the development of Elastopipe FOR, Trelleborg Offshore Norway have taken their proved technology into transportation of hydrocarbons and chemicals.
Elastopipe FOR was used by Aker Solutions during the installation of new produced water piping tie-ins, inlet, outlet and return lines back to the existing degasser and overboard to the produced water caisson on the Buzzard platform.
Thomas Cook, Aker Solution’s lead piping engineer on the Nexen E&C project, said: “Work on the project began in June 2010 and we were aware from the start that the schedule was extremely tight. By looking beyond the conventional North Sea solutions we have saved our client an estimated £400,000 and up to 10 weeks project time compared to if we’d gone the traditional pipe route.
“This would have involved the onshore fabrication of numerous pipespools and pipe supports. This, allied to the timescale of delivery of materials and manhours spent on the dimensional control of pipespools, would have meant missing the target installation completion date and would also have incurred many more offshore manhours for the construction and scaffolding manpower required for the more conventional installation.”
Aker Solutions invited Trelleborg to give a presentation to Nexen to convince them of its value ahead of work beginning.
“While Elastopipe products have been used extensively throughout the North Sea for firewater deluge replacement and new systems, this was the first time Elastopipe FOR has been used for produced water service,” added Mr Cook.
“We pride ourselves on providing innovative, cost-effective solutions to our clients and are delighted that the feedback to date has been extremely favourable with installation causing very little impact on the ongoing work being undertaken on the Buzzard platform at the same time.”
A spokesman for Trelleborg said: “Trelleborg Offshore Norway are delighted that Aker Solutions on behalf of their client Nexen, chose Elastopipe FOR to be used on this exciting fast track project. Another first for Trelleborg Offshore Norway AS.”


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