Protection for floating offshore installations
A pioneering system of lifetime protection of floating offshore installations from corrosion without using divers has been successfully deployed for the first time in the North Sea.
Specialist services company EM&I has collaborated with Forth Engineering to design the HullGuard® system, which involves locating a tubular anode with an integral dielectric shield, through an ODIN® type port fitted to the ship’s hull. It was deployed on a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel 75 miles offshore.
The HullGuard® system means divers aren’t required, saving production time and money. It also means transporting fewer workers in helicopters, and using fewer dive support vessels, with a resulting reduction in carbon emissions. HullGuard® can be installed and maintained at any stage in the asset’s life, either from new or retrofitted. Once the anode is installed the launch tube is removed, leaving only the completion plug in place with the electrical supply cable ready for connection to a standard transformer rectifier.
Danny Constantinis, EM&I’s executive chairman, said “EM&I has proven that many of the integrity related functions that used to be carried out by divers can be carried out more safely and at lower cost by robotic systems such as HullGuard®. I am confident that this solution will be welcomed in a market which seeks safer, lower cost and lower carbon footprint solutions.”
David Mortlock, EM&I’s chief technical officer, said: “Anywhere around the world where there are floating offshore installations this technology will save money, make it safer, and ultimately save lives with a solution which takes away the need to put divers’ lives at risk.”
EM&I turned to Cumbria-based Forth Engineering for its expertise to help deliver the project. Mark Telford, managing director of Forth, which has bases in Maryport, Cleator Moor and Barrow, said: “We needed to come up with a solution based on hot tapping, but on a massive scale in a completely different environment to install or change anodes on a vessel while it is at sea. Keeping the containment on one side of the hull and the integrity under that pressure is a technical challenge.
“We really like working with EM&I because they come to us with a challenge and ask us to come up with a solution. That’s a breath of fresh air in terms of ways of working. It allows us to try different things until we come up with the method that works best, and through that partnership, and that way of working, a world solution is created.”