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New subsea pile guiding frame sees project success

Oilfield Technology,

StabFrame, as the newly designed template is known, was jointly developed by Large Diameter Drilling Ltd. (LDD) and MENCK GmbH and is used to stabilise piles in all depths required for underwater pile driving.

The operation in the Waimea Field offshore Brazil was carried out as part of a contract, awarded to MENCK by Wellstream International Ltd. The contract required MENCK to drive ten 84 in. mooring piles in water depths of up to 140 m using an MHU 500T hydraulic hammer. This project saw the first deployment of the StabFrame by LDD and MENCK, both of which are members of the Acteon Group. The piles were required for the installation of an FPSO mooring system on the OGX Petroleo e Gas development in the offshore Waimea Field.

Steered via a work-class remotely operated vehicle (WROV), the StabFrame stabilises a vertical pile in varying soil conditions. Rather than relying on a release mechanism attached to the pile, the StabFrame's hydraulic release mechanism allows the pile to be driven further into the seabed, if required, before opening the frame. In this way, the StabFrame can adjust to unpredictable and challenging seabed conditions.

Despite strong currents, estimated at times to be more than 2.5 knots, the project finished without incident or injury and ahead of schedule. Despite initial low pile penetration (under its own weight), with its hydraulic release mechanism, the StabFrame made stable penetration of the mooring piles possible.

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