To move hydrocarbons safely across vast distances, subsea pipelines are of paramount importance in the Arctic region. The pipelines are usually trenched in the seabed to protect them against scouring caused by icebergs. However, in the toughest Arctic subsea terrains, this poses a high risk of severe damage to the pipeline if it is not buried deeply enough, sometimes beyond 10 metres.
New "cheese wire" process introduced
Pipeline engineers Francesca Del Din
and Farzin Hafezparast from Ramboll Oil & Gas have introduced a new
cheese wire" process design as an alternative to trenching. They will present the process and its benefits at the Offshore Pipeline Technology Conference in Amsterdam on February 26, 2015.
- In short, the slicing action of the wire into the seabed bears resemblance to the mechanism used to slice cheese. Our study focusses on the technical aspects of installation and targets the field developments in the Canadian Grand Banks region, which is synonymous with iceberg activity, says Francesca Del Din.
- The concept ensures a feasible, efficient installation procedure with low financial consequences and minimal environmental impact compared to traditional pipeline installation methods. This innovative solution is a step forward in developing previously unfeasible oil fields in the harsh Arctic environments, Farzin Hafezparast adds.
Safe transport of hydrocarbons
Using the patent-pending "cheese wire" process to achieve deep burial of a steel wire, the pipeline can be dragged through the seabed using similar technology to horizontal directional drilling. This allows the pipeline route to bypass the most dangerous iceberg corridors so that hydrocarbons can be transported safely to onshore processing facilities.
The concept can help to significantly reduce the costs and risks associated with offshore topside operations in Arctic waters.