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1st November 2019, Thornton Cleveleys

Using thermoplastic pipes in Brazil’s pre-salt region

Magma pipe spool. © Magma Global

Magma pipe spool. © Magma Global

The severe challenges of subsea operations in the ultra-deep water and highly corrosive Brazil’s pre-salt geological environments will be examined in a webinar on 5 November, co-hosted by Victrex and Smithers with guest presenters from TechnipFMC and Magma Global.

Subsea operations by the energy sector in extremely challenging locations, such as Brazil's pre-salt region, inevitably give rise to questions of material selection and engineering design. Steel-based pipe systems, including flexibles, invite the risk of additional corrosion, while extremes of water depth and production fluid chemistry severity require even greater design flexibility, the company explains.

Compelling alternative

Hybrid flexible pipes (HFP) offer the industry a compelling alternative solution, which could enable these challenges to be overcome by combining the performance of a thermoplastic composite pipe (TCP) with conventional flexible technology. The choice of polymeric materials in HFP and their qualification is of paramount importance to successful deployment.

Knowing that materials selection for HFP solutions differs from that for flexible solutions, Dr Geoff Small, Head of Technology, Energy, at Victrex, explains: “In flexibles, the loading on the polymeric components is low as it acts as an intermediate leak-proof sheath, while in HFP’s the role of the polymer is also to act as a protective liner/conduit, and most importantly as a matrix for the composite. To overcome technical challenges and assess solutions for deployment in Brazil’s pre-salt region, the composite materials selection needs thorough assessment.”

Pressing issues

An upcoming free webinar entitled Qualification of m-pipe and hybrid flexible pipe for deployment in Brazil’s pre-salt region: composite materials selection to overcome technical challenges, co-hosted by Victrex and Smithers, with presenters from TechnipFMC and Magma Global, will focus on pressing issues and solutions,  including:

  • m-pipe from Magma Global
  • Hybrid flexible pipe from TechnipFMC

The evolution, qualification and operational history of m-pipe will be examined since it is a pioneering product in the design and construction of HFP, based on carbon fibre reinforced Victrex PEEK polymer. From the outset, m-pipe demonstrated that composites could operate at impressive depths and under great pressure, without the risk of corrosion that inevitably concerns investments in steel piping.

Environmental conditions

The webinar will discuss the environmental conditions found in the Brazil pre-salt fields and examine the general chemical resistance of all candidate polymers at these temperatures, and vitally will examine the impact of the presence of SCCO2 (super-critical CO2) on design loads and lifetimes.

These and other insights will be provided by three industry experts: Dr Geoff Small, Head of Technology, Energy, Victrex; Mick Mullan, Analysis & Qualification Manager, Magma Global; and Thomas Epsztein, Composite Materials Project Manager, TechnipFMC.

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