Ecosse Subsea’s Next Generation Pipelay System

April 2013, Vol. 240 No. 4

Ecosse Subsea System has unveiled what it considers game-changing pipelay technology. The subsea firm says it has developed and patented a rigid pipelay system which can be deployed from smaller, more readily available vessels and which will slash schedules and installation costs for pipe-laying projects.

Traditionally rigid pipelay projects rely on pipelay systems which are embedded into dedicated and sophisticated vessels which command hefty hire rates in the region of $250,000 plus per day. These large systems require extensive deck strengthening on the vessel and the systems usually take a minimum of 14 days to install, normally the major components have to be designed into the vessel from the outset.

Ecosse Subsea’s PREP (Plastic Reeled Elastic Pipelay) is a modular system designed to be used for the laying of reeled rigid pipe (on a project by project basis) from smaller vessels and can be installed within 48 hours.

PREP uses many of the same components as a conventional pipelay system but its component assembly avoids the need to be mounted on a specialized pipelay vessel while offering flexibility, mobility and reduced cost, both in terms of the pipelay system itself and also associated vessel costs.

The PREP system takes advantage of the underutilized elastic properties of steel pipe to be able to lay pipe from smaller vessels and the huge fleeting tower that is the dominant feature in conventional systems is not required.

PREP’s flexibility addresses a major barrier to entry into the conventional pipelay market – capital investment in suitable pipelay vessels, spool bases and global infrastructure.

Ecosse Subsea Systems managing director, Mike Wilson, said, “PREP is an enabling technology which will allow market entry for a wider range of participants, principally the Tier 2 contractors. The real value, however, is for operators who will have access to an expanded choice of contractors and control over installation schedules.

“The PREP system is not restricted to spending a full pipe-laying season within one geographic region in order to make any trip financially viable. It is easily transported, containerized, and can be deployed to various geographic locations within the same pipe-laying season, leading to significant cost savings for operators who would otherwise have to wait six months or more before their pipe-laying requirements can be met.

“A back log on the start up of projects is building up and we expect PREP to attract a lot of attention.”

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