Transfer of Welding Technologies from Offshore to Onshore Pipeline Construction
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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.
- 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.
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