Offshore-driven technology developments in pipeline welding are based on increasingly stringent requirements for weld quality given operational constraints and pipeline design. Combined with the essential cost-efficiency factor, and the ability to fulfill all project requirements as per client requirements, the following question arises:
What should welding technology and solutions bring to enhance offshore project performance?
- Repeatable high quality: the ability to ensure weld integrity in all types of welding environments; improved quality leads to lower repair rates and higher productivity;
- High productivity: the ability to weld quickly, driving down overall operational requirements, and therefore, costs;
- Versatility: the ability to weld a large range of different materials (carbon steels, corrosion-resistant alloys) and pipeline dimensions, in different positions and on pipes subject to varying levels of criticity (flowlines, steel catenary risers/fatigue-sensitive lines, offshore offloading lines…).
- Reliability: on the critical path of pipelay operations offshore, welding equipment should fail as seldom as possible in order not to incur a cost premium;
- Customized solutions: the ability to deliver operational support and expertise for seamless project execution.
We use technology case studies to show how Serimax has transferred technology and offshore innovations or project service models to the more unpredictable onshore pipeline construction market, adapting top-of-the-range welding equipment, solutions and project management approach, while overcoming challenges set by onshore pipeline construction.
Examples of innovation transfer include:
- The Serimax in-house developed field-proven Saturnax bug and band welding system was initially designed to achieve repeatable weld quality and high productivity for S-Lay welding offshore; this technology has been adapted to the onshore pipeline market in more recent years, delivering an equipment solution where fewer welding stations and a more compact welding spread can achieve record production levels and high-quality welds;
- For the welding of offshore offloading lines (OOL), it was essential to develop a powerful internal pipe alignment and clamping tool in order to minimize high-low. This technology was adapted to onshore pipeline welding with the specifically-designed Maxiluc re-rounding pneumatic internal line-up clamp.
- Beyond welding equipment and procedure development, project services and management processes have been developed based on offshore practices.