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Feeding offshore recovery

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Oilfield Technology,

As subsea industry players gather this week in Galveston, TX for the Subsea Tieback Exhibition, Houston-based Umbilicals International (UI) is preparing for its first orders of long-length umbilicals from its new quayside facility in Channelview, TX.

UI first opened the doors to its 80 000 ft2 manufacturing facility in December 2017, after investing US$6 million into flagship equipment, including a horizontal helix machine and extrusion lines. With the site now up and running, UI is posed to make the longer-length umbilicals, cables and hoses needed in SURF packages.

Originally purchased in 2015, the equipment remained in storage for two years while the company waited for the market to pick up.

Bob Conners, CEO of Umbilicals International since 2016, said: “Taking controversial risks like multi-million-dollar investments in a downturn is all about careful timing. For us, the downturn was actually the best time to make the investment. In a booming market, it would require considerable deviation from the work which already occupies every moment of every day, and the associated cost incurrences can reach ridiculous proportions, making the financial decisions harder to justify.

“Developing a capability like Channelview was always part of UI’s DNA, and we knew we needed to be ready for when the industry improved, and activity increased. We’re nearly there: the US is positioned to be the word’s largest oil producer this year, producing more than Saudi Arabia and Russia. Brent is sitting comfortably around the $60 mark, so we’ve opened the site in time.

“To feed this recovery, the industry needs umbilicals. They’re not sexy, but they’re the veins that pump round the industry. Our umbilicals house the cables needed for electrical wiring, hydraulic power, fibre optic connections and chemical injection fluids. They’re wrapped in flexible steel piping and silicone, so they can withstand the pressures of deepwater projects.

“We expect that the majority of our umbilicals from Channelview will be used in offshore expansion projects, but there is always the likelihood of them being part of new projects in the Gulf of Mexico, the Middle East and Africa. The industry has new demands for these vital components, and with Channelview up and running, we’re ready to meet them.”

UI’s new site in Channelview adds to its current 100 000 ft2 manufacturing plant in Stafford, TX, but rather than expanding on this site, UI recognised the need to invest in an area with access to the Port of Houston.

Mr Conners continued: “The umbilicals which will come out of Channelview will be miles long and approximately eight-inches thick, so they’re not ideal for road transport. The ease-of-access to the Port of Houston means we can easily ship umbilicals, and with the addition of on-site pipe handling equipment from our Group firm Caley Ocean Systems later this year, we can reduce project interfaces and ease clients’ costs.”

Umbilicals International became part of the Seanamic Group in 2015, and integrates its equipment manufacture with inspection and integrity assurance services from Group firms Flexlife and IMES international.

Mr Conners continued: “As the market recovers, we’ve seen more and more clients opening their minds to what suppliers can really do for them. With regards to umbilicals, Seanamic can design and manufacture them, and bring in the other parts of the business to support with their integrity management and life extension. This cradle-to-grave offering will be invaluable to the market in the coming years.”

UI’s flagship equipment specifics:

  • (12) neutralized positions.
  • 1.8M bobbins (10Te maximum load per bobbin).
  • (12) filler positions.
  • (3) 5.5M take-up/payoffs.
  • 150 mm diameter extruder, with 45 mm co-extrusion for striping.
  • Outside storage and carousel area for SIT, load out, testing and storage.

More information about Umbilicals International and the Seanamic Group

Umbilicals International designs and manufactures bespoke cables, hoses and umbilicals for the international energy, defence and seismic industries. The company has two manufacturing sites in Texas, and capabilities in Scotland. In 2015, Umbilicals International became part of the Seanamic Group, which combines in-depth engineering and equipment manufacture with the inspection and integrity assurance of critical assets. Other companies within the Group are Caley Ocean Systems, IMES International and Flexlife.

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