FLINTSTONE’S NEW MOORING SYSTEM – COST EFFECTIVE ENERGY INNOVATIONLeader in innovation for the energy industry, Flintstone Technology, has reaffirmed its commitment to research and development in the current global oil price downturn by launching its latest product - the pull through mooring connector system.
“In a low oil price, companies may look at research and development as an area for potential spend reduction, when the opposite should be the case,” said Flintstone managing director Andrew Clayson.
“The only way the industry will survive these difficult times, particularly in mature regions, is by encouraging more innovation and greater R&D into technologies that can create significant cost savings. Our new pull through connector fits that profile exactly.”
The pull through connector system provides a method of simple connection and disconnection for mooring lines to midwater buoys or floating facilities.
It can reduce make up time by more than 80 per cent compared to traditional methods, saving up to five days on vessel hire and installation time with improved safety and the avoidance of complex rigging.
Floating production, storage and off-take vessels (FPSOs) typically have 12 mooring lines that connect the turret and the seabed and often require change during their service life.
Flintstone’s pull through connector, which can be deployed on all turret-based mooring systems, was developed in response to an industry need to be able to disconnect mooring lines, laydown and reconnect new lines without the vessel disconnecting from the turret assembly.
The connectors, which can be designed for any mooring line load requirements, are installed and changed using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and pull through line from a support vessel. Rugged and forged in alloy steel to avoid the need for corrosion packs, the system’s dual axis rotation eliminates out of plane bending while its self-aligning properties dispense with rigging requirements.
The system was recently selected for use and successfully installed in the UK North Sea on the Kraken oilfield, one of the region’s largest current developments and the high profile Mariner field, both east of Shetland.
The Kraken field is estimated to hold 140 million barrels of heavy oil in a water depth of 120 metres approximately 125km from the Shetland Isles. The Mariner heavy oil field is believed to hold 250 million barrels of oil at depths of almost 1,500 metres approximately 150km off Shetland.
The pull through connector system meets all regulations for mooring systems components as issued by international classification bodies.
Flintstone designs and manufactures a range of mooring system products including fairleads and chain stoppers, subsea mooring connectors and in line connection components.
“We saw the need within the industry for a robust, simple and easy to use mooring system for deployment where disconnection of the vessel was not essential, and set to work developing it. The system had to comply with new classification rules and be particularly rugged in a highly demanding load spectrum,” said Clayson.
“Our ethos as a company is to challenge, improve and deliver. The deployment of our pull through connector on Mariner and Kraken has proven its ability to meet all those requirements on two of the highest profile projects on the UK Continental Shelf.
“The continued creation of relatively simple yet sensible solutions like our latest product, which reduce costs and improve working practices, is one way in which the global oil and gas industry can innovate out of the current downturn and help ensure its long-term future.”