Pipe repair method saves time on offshore platform26 November 2020

On BP Exploration’s Bruce field drilling platform 240km North East of Aberdeen, important hydraulic services in the vicinity of the platform’s drilling area were damaged.

Some of the damaged lines were fabricated from heavy-wall one-inch tubing, and it was impossible to repair using traditional twin-ferrule compression tube fittings.

Welding in new sections was highly undesirable, due to the location, and the costly downtime that would be necessary. A repair by means of special flanges was feasible, but these products had a 16-week leadtime (and cost several thousand pounds per item).

The platform operator’s engineering contractor discussed the application with potential suppliers, to see what solutions were possible. The Parker Phastite connector was recommended. This consists of fittings that slide over existing tubing, and is capable of being compressed on to thick wall (or thin wall) tubing using a portable hydraulic tool.

The contractor was impressed and subsequent technical review meetings with both the contractor and end customer were arranged to demonstrate the connection system. Following demonstrations, the contractor and the operating company conducted a formal risk assessment for the scope of the offshore work. The solution was accepted in principle, but the end customer’s strict safety policies also demanded verification of the equipment by a third-party inspector. A full certification package to support the inspection process was generated.

Once approval to proceed was received, a short Phastite training course was arranged for the contractor’s project personnel and the required Phastite fittings were provided together with the loan of the assembly tool.

The contractor completed the repairs speedily and without disrupting production, despite some severe accessibility problems in the crowded hydraulic services area. The tool’s compact jaws allowed the tubing repairs to be made in situ, despite the proximity to many other tubing runs and connections. Production was able to continue on the platform during repair.

Operations Engineer

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