New Arctic pipeline concept dodges icebergs

12 February 2015
To protect subsea pipelines in the Arctic region, it is essential that the pipelines avoid collisions with icebergs. Two innovative Ramboll engineers have developed an idea, initially rewarded in the Ramboll Oil & Gas innovation competition, and devised a concept for deep burial of pipelines using a "cheese wire" process design.
The cheese wire concept ensures a feasible, efficient installation procedure

The cheese wire concept ensures a feasible, efficient installation procedure

Contact

Francesca Del Din

Francesca Del Din

Team Lead
T: +45 5161 5787

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.

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