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SmartShim technology protects conductors

Posted: 2 January 2008

SmartShim technology has been installed in a major subsea installation project on StatoilHydro’s Oseberg Sør platform in the North Sea, to protect against conductor damage as part of an underwater repair program.

The innovative SmartShim technology from Furmanite is designed to prevent costly damage to conductors or caissons created when the lateral force of wave movement causes them to impact against the conductor guides, resulting in fatigue or fracturing.

StatoilHydro experienced problems on the conductors due to wave induced displacements inside the guides. The subsea installation of SmartShims will protect the conductors from sustaining any further damage.

PVC-proofed nylon SmartShim slips are filled with a specialist Furmanite-developed polyurethane resin, which is engineered with sufficient elasticity to absorb the wave effects while holding the riser or caisson firmly in place within the guides. Because they are cast in-situ, the SmartShims will form to fit the gap between conductor and guides precisely, whatever the dimensions.

Applying SmartShim subsea requires additional factors to be considered, including external water pressure and increased distance over which the resin has to be pumped from the deck of the diving vessel. A specialist resin for subsea application has been developed, as well as purpose-designed equipment such as support frames to help keep the SmartShim slips in place subsea while being filled with resin.

On the Oseberg Sør platform, 27 slots were SmartShimmed, at 15 metres depth, involving a total of some four kilometres of hoses, nine tonnes of resin, and 30 tonnes of equipment. This was deployed from the diving support vessel by Acergy to undertake the installation with Furmanite technicians on board the vessel to ensure correct pumping of the resin and providing direction to the divers.

"Subsea SmartShim installation involves some considerable added challenges, but this was successfully achieved, and the installation will now extend the conductor fatigue life by minimising the movement caused by wave loading," said Furmanite International head of sales Mike Tucker.

"The effect of wave loading on the conductors is amplified the higher up you go, so it’s advantageous to be able to install as low as possible, as was done here, helping to minimise movement topside."

StatoilHydro’s Oseberg field has been producing for two decades, and is characterised by safe operation, high regularity and cost-effective operations. StatoilHydro’s objective is a recovery rate of 72 per cent. The company aims to ensure Oseberg field life beyond 2030.





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