In January 2015, oil prices plummeted to an all-time low of US$46 over the past five-and-a-half years*, This drop triggered the industry to quickly re-evaluate its processes and budgets, redirecting its primary focus to cutting costs, adding value and increasing efficiency. Trelleborg continually monitors industry trends and according to its market analysis, similar trends in oil prices occur approximately every five to seven years. Based on involvement in past projects when oil prices have been low, Trelleborg emphasises that it is better to consider reducing total cost and improving efficiency than buying low-cost and potentially poorer quality product.
Fredrik Meuller, BA President Trelleborg Offshore & Construction, says: “The natural reaction when the barrel price falls is for operators to cut costs wherever possible. However, given the cyclical nature of the marketplace, it is vital that operators save in the right areas and resist the temptation to simply buy cheap. It remains important to invest in solutions which will continuously deliver high performance over a long lifecycle, to protect projects in the long term, even in tough times.”
In light of these challenges, events like the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) are central to sharing knowledge. At this year’s show, Trelleborg’s on-stand experts will demonstrate just some of the innovative key solutions, which can help operators’ bridge the gap between cost and performance. Looking ahead to May, Trelleborg will also highlight some of the ways in which the market can lower project costs, optimise productivity and retain competitiveness as barrel prices recover. Visit stand 5541 for demonstrations and further discussion.
Alan McBride, Vice President Drilling and Syntactic Products within Trelleborg’s offshore operation, says: “As drilling goes to deeper water, mechanical stresses placed on a rig’s hoisting system become greater, increasing risk of damage or failure to the drill pipe or hoist. To avoid this, we strategically partnered with Landing Strings Solutions LLC to develop the world’s first buoyancy module system deployed on a drill pipe landing string.
“The system is designed to offset the landing string weight by up to 80% in some cases. By reducing the overall hook load, the mechanical stresses are lessened and the rig’s load landing capabilities are increased. In addition to reducing risk, this means that smaller inexpensive rigs may be used, resulting in significant financial savings.”
Downtime caused by failure or maintenance often yields a considerable cost that can be avoided. Henk-Willem Sanders, FPSO Focus Group Leader at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions says: “Our innovative SealWelding™ technology allows seals to be welded in-situ on an FPSO platform, eliminating the need for the platform to disconnect and return to shore. Facilities will no longer need to shut down operations for weeks at a time, causing significant loss of earnings from production. Solutions such as ours not only add value, but save a significant amount of time and naturally, costs too.”
While drilling offshore spans to new, far-off locations, conventional means for installing offshore oil rigs are cost-prohibitive. Julian Wee, Managing Director within Trelleborg’s engineered products operation, says: “With topsides now often weighing more than 30 000 tons, floatover operations are a cost-effective alternative to conventional installation methods. However, installation windows are small and the mating process between the topside and the jacket legs must be controlled and executed precisely, to avoid damage and downtime.
“During the topside lowering process, the barge may undergo significant heave and other motions due to wave and current actions. Our leg mating units (LMUs) and deck support units (DSUs) are designed to take shock impacts. This is one of the ways our solutions prevent damage during floatover. We also test our LMUs to the actual specified loads in order to confidently validate design requirements.”
There is a growth in the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) market to lower storage and transportation costs as it takes up 1/600th the volume of natural gas. However it is more difficult to handle, stimulating the need for safe economic offloading methods.
Vincent Lagarrigue, Marketing and Proposal Manager within Trelleborg’s oil and marine hoses operation, says: “There was an absence of offloading solutions in the market, so we teamed up with Saipem to design a cryogenic floating hose. It can operate in sea states with wave heights of up to three and half meters at connection and four meters during transfer and disconnection – even with non collinear wind or current directions. Our design enables transfer between the LNGC and FLNG terminal to be increased from a standard five meters to 150 - 250 m, significantly limiting the risk of collision.”
Trelleborg will exhibit its range of innovative offshore solutions at OTC Houston 2015 in hall A at stand 5541. Products are designed with quality, performance and efficiency front of mind and include high performance pipeline protection and insulation, buoyancy, floatover technology, seals and hoses.
Adapted from a press release by David Bizley