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SBM Offshore claim prize

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Oilfield Technology,

SBM Offshore has announced that it has been awarded the prestigious Spotlight on New Technology award at the 2015 OTC conference in Houston.

SBM Offshore’s innovative technology for the patented Articulated Rod Connecting Arm (ARCA) Chain Connector met all the criteria necessary for the award. It represents a major break-through for chain connectors to improve the integrity of mooring lines. The ARCA Chain Connector provides a new solution to ease the installation, inspection and repair of mooring lines. With the technology currently available to the industry, inspecting chain connector articulations is very difficult as these are usually built into their supporting structure and it is also an activity with risks as it requires divers.

The features of the ARCA chain connector technology offer the following advantages:

Safety benefit:
With diving operations being one of the most hazardous activities across the offshore oil and gas industry this new, design of chain connector significantly improves the safety of the connection and disconnection of mooring chains on floating production units by eliminating the need to use divers.

CAPEX benefit:
The ARCA can enable a significant cost reduction for turret mooring systems. As the articulations are removed from the turret chaintable, the turret diameter can potentially be reduced, allowing for optimisation and cost savings.

Asset integrity benefit:
The placement of the articulations in the removable section of the connector, allows them to be brought back to the surface for inspection and replacement if necessary, thereby improving the reliability of the system and reducing the probability of mooring leg failure.

Construction benefit:
During integration at the shipyard, only the guide tube of the ARCA is integrated into the turret chaintable, and does not protrude below the chaintable in the manner of a standard chainstopper. This removes restrictions on the clearance needed below the FPSO’s keel, when in dry dock or at quayside.

Accepting the Spotlight on New Technology award, SBM Offshore’s Technology Director Andrew Newport, who is responsible for the team which developed and qualified the ARCA, commented “The technology will have a significant impact as it provides a solution to several industry concerns. It allows the inspection and change-out of the articulations that form a key element of chain connectors. This feature becomes fundamental as design life of mooring systems increases above 20 years, with systems now being designed for lives of 40 and 50 years. In addition ensuring the good condition of the articulations is a necessary prerequisite to avoiding Out-of-Plane Bending (OPB) fatigue failure of the chain links.”

SBM Offshore’s Group Technology Director Mike Wyllie added “We are delighted to be honoured with this award, our fifth in five years, and we thank OTC for recognising SBM Offshore. We are particularly proud of the fact that the ARCA offers a significant safety advantage as a fully diverless system, yet also provides a significant cost reduction opportunity to the industry.”

The ARCA has completed full scale prototype testing with 154 mm chain under 200 t pretension and is being offered to clients for future projects.

Participating at OTC 2015, SBM Offshore presents its new technologies for pre-salt and lower tertiary, the capacities of its bespoke FPSO vessels, mooring systems, production operations as well as terminals and services. An animation of the ARCA Chain Connector can be viewed on the SBM Offshore booth 4131 Hall B in the Reliant Centre.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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