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High-pressure connectors critical to operations in current climate

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World Pipelines,

A subsea technology specialist that has deployed revolutionary products for the global oil and gas industry says the sector needs to address the growing urgency for high-pressure connectors – as deepwater field developments are on the rise once again.

High-pressure connectors critical to operations in current climate

In 2012, oil major BP announced the launch of ‘Project 20K’, a research and development programme set up to create bespoke technologies able to drill, complete, produce, and intervene in deepwater reservoirs that have pressures of 20 000 psi at the mud-line.

However, the industry downturn has meant that investment in deepwater technology has taken a backseat in recent years.

As the oil price climbs again, Drummond Lawson, Managing Director of STL, said the issue should be back on top of the industry’s agenda.

“With high pressure at the seabed in the world’s most challenging deepwater basins, subsea connectors that yield the greatest result are critical for the most efficient offshore operations.

“Our team strives to design and develop products that challenge the norm, and we can customise connectors specifically for deepwater developments where we believe the demand will soon start to become apparent as the market strengthens.

“As the oil price reaches a viable US$70/barrel, operators are reconsidering exploring deep-water areas more and more, with particular areas of interest for our customers being in deep and ultra-deep waters such as the Gulf of Mexico, North Africa and the Middle East.

“With the very high pressures present at the seabed, connectors that match this demand are necessary to maintain the highest levels of safety and productivity, and STL is well-placed to explore these opportunities further,” he said.

Some of the world’s most challenging deepwater basins include the Gulf of Mexico’s ultra deepwater Lower Tertiary, Egypt’s West Nile Delta, and offshore Azerbaijan, where reservoir pressures and temperatures exceed the industry’s current technology capacity.

STL, who developed the innovative XR Connector deployed by an oil major in the North Sea, is hopeful of progressing into new markets if there is demand within the supply chain for technology that will exceed current industry limitations on a global scale.

Mr Lawson said: “Our team of engineers can complement and enhance a range of innovations to fit customers’ requirements and instead of selling solely from a ‘shopping list’, we tailor our approach to offer products that are entirely client-led.

“In this respect, we are seeing growing demand to develop technology for highly complex and critical applications and that has put pressure on the sector. However, STL has succeeded in launching a number of industry firsts to the market with quantifiable benefits, and this is a huge driver for us going forward.”

The Aberdeen-based company combines innovative technology with high-quality customer service throughout a project’s lifecycle, and its products – including the patented XR Connector – have been developed to overcome a number of challenges posed by maintaining efficient operations in the most demanding offshore environments.

Designed and developed in 2009, the XR Connector is the only connector in the industry that is able to disconnect a riser at 100% of its rated bending capacity. It enhances safety and saves time and money by increasing a vessel’s operating window; ultimately increasing productivity levels.

Working specifically in the well intervention, control, abandonment and well construction markets, STL’s industry-leading connectors and turnkey systems provide the optimal well access solutions for clients.

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