Offshore Equipment Repair Leaves Little Room for Error

There are two things in short supply on an offshore oil rig: space and time. Everything and everyone there has a purpose. So when outside contractors are brought in, it’s imperative to work with a company who understands these restrictions, and whose technicians can work safely and quickly in a setting that’s both tight and dangerous.

When the crew of Exxon Mobil’s gravity-based structure (GBS), Hibernia, needed someone who could perform maintenance under these conditions, they called Innovator Industrial Services.

When traditional fixes are too dangerous

“A piping spool had developed a leak and therefore needed to be replaced. This replacement required a temporary shutdown in that unit, so the new installation had to be completed and tested quickly,” Chris Coombs, Innovator’s Quality Manager, explains.

While installing a flange is a routine activity, the circumstances surrounding this repair were far from simple, and welding wasn’t an option.

“As much as hot work can be an issue on land, it’s much more critical offshore,” Coombs says. “The line in question contained hydrocarbons and even though it was shut down, there are always residual vapors left behind. The potential for an explosion or fire is extremely high and while there are process and procedures in place to perform hot work in these scenarios, there is a safer way.”

That’s where the Quickflange connection comes in.

Quickflange provides a weld-less connection eliminating hot work, plus they’re extremely fast to install. This connection performs in the same way with respect to structural integrity and leakage as the standard flange is it meant to replace. Not only is it a quick process on-site, but you also avoid the time-consuming welding and hot work approval process. It was the perfect combination for the work on Hibernia.

“In all, our technician installed six Quickflanges in 24 hours,” Coombs says.

Planning ahead pays off

While finishing a critical job quickly is an impressive feat, it wasn’t completely trouble-free. After installing one of the flanges, the technician noticed a problem; it wasn’t aligned properly, which could compromise its integrity and potentially result in a leaking connection.

In an offshore setting, waiting for spare parts is unrealistic.

“That’s why we always include contingency flanges,” Coombs says, “just in case of situations like this.”

Because the technician was prepared, he had extra materials on hand to ensure a correct, leak-free connection without needing to wait for extra parts. If we hadn’t planned ahead, it would have been an extremely costly and time-consuming setback.

It’s reassuring when planning ahead pays off, and this is a lesson that Innovator technicians can take with them to all of their jobs — whether they’re offshore or on land.

Putting extra thought into every detail of our work — from our cross-trained crews to extra supplies — is what the “Innovator Advantage” is all about. Thanks to our turnkey solutions, the Hibernia job was a success.


Did You Know?

Innovator has an entire library of pre-approved solutions aimed at eliminating your wait time for repairs. Our Quickflange leak repair engineered solutions currently have DNV, ABS, and Ontario TSSA CRN approvals.