A new milestone for Vallourec Umbilicals
In 2016, TechnipFMC successfully assembled umbilicals using 130km of seam-welded super duplex tubes for Total’s Glenlivet project in the North Sea.
The Glenlivet project was the first real world trial for Vallourec’s welded tubes for umbilicals following a four-year qualification program by Total’s E&P Technology Department. Vallourec delivered 130km of tubes to TechnipFMC Umbilicals to be assembled to form the static Glenlivet umbilical. The innovative product is acknowledged to be a breakthrough for the SURF industry with excellent performance in all qualification tests: The tubes are lighter, with high performance mechanical characteristics that are particularly adapted to deep and ultra deep waters, with a high level of fatigue resistance.
Vallourec understood that subsea systems for deep and ultra-deep offshore projects were becoming more and more demanding and that applying the most common solution, using thicker tubes, was not an option due to the impact on price, weight and fatigue. By providing the client with laser welded umbilical tubes, seam welded along the entire longitudinal length, Vallourec Umbilicals was able to reduce the wall thickness, thus saving considerable weight. Supported by Serimax for the development and qualification of both longitudinal laser welding and butt weld orbital GTAW welding procedures ensured that Vallourec’s seam-welded super duplex tubes for umbilicals reached unprecedented quality.
Stringent qualification process
“The qualification process was extremely stringent, more than 11,000 tests were undertaken before qualification”, declared Stephan Chrobot, Managing Director of Vallourec Umbilicals. “As it is a totally new, innovative solution, there is no margin for error. Total needed to be 100% sure that the new product corresponded perfectly with their requirements”.
For Jean-Philippe Roques and Henri Romazzotti, engineers at Total, the choice of Vallourec Umbilicals was clear: “We wanted a technology that was more pertinent in terms of mechanical properties and capacities. These tubes go well beyond: the tubes are finer and less rigid. Furthermore, they provide an important benefit in terms of cost. It’s an excellent product that fulfils all our expectations.”
Today, Vallourec Umbilicals has two production lines and 20 employees, but a second project order placed this year calls for investment in a third production line and additional recruitments. “We have moved from the start-up to the growth phase of our development,” said Stephane Chrobot adding, “I am confident for the new orders and projects for the future”.
Vallourec tubes for umbilicals are specifically designed to withstand the toughest environments and operating conditions. Serimax welding engineers are supporting the second project order and providing the welding qualification procedures. In this way, Vallourec continues to offer innovative and cost-efficient solutions for all SURF markets.