You are on page 1of 6

Bonded Flexible Pipe

Val M. Northcutt
Manuli Oil & Marine (U.S.A.), Inc. 2755 East Oakland Park Blvd. Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33306


This paper presents an overview of bonded flexible pipe improvements primarily driven by environmental safety as applied t o offshore development using mobile production systems. Bonded pipe is a flexible pipe where the steel reinforcement is integrated and bonded to a vulcanized elastomeric material. Textile material is included in the structure to obtain additional structural reinforcement o r to separate elastomeric layers. The applications addressed by this paper a r e sweet service production, including well stream product and stabilized crude export. Production products include gas, water and injection chemicals. The bonded flexible pipe is used as static flowline and dynamic risers and loading and discharge marine hose. A new application for bonded flexible pipe t h a t did not require much in the way of new technological development is offshore mobile production systems. Until 1989 there had been very little new development in bonded flexible pipe but with the introduction of offshore mobile production systems (MOPS) this changed. The mobile offshore production systems considered is the MOPS used on the Gombe Beta Field, Gabon, West Africa and the MOPS used on the Tchatamba Field, also offshore Gabon, West Africa. The MOPS is accepted in the oil industry as a means to collect reservoir data through extended well tests, to provide early cash flow from major fields and to produce marginal fields. I will focus on bonded flexible risers, bonded flexible pipelines and bonded floating export hose t h a t comprise the three critical bonded flexible pipe applications. All three a r e used to convey crude between the production unit, storage tanker and export tanker. Zero pollution is the goal especially in the remote offshore areas where equipment for pollution control response is either limited o r difficult to mobilize. Strict environmental regulations govern the use of bonded flexible pipe in remote offshore areas where mobile production systems operate. Contingency planning for emergencies such as well blow-outs and oil spills r a n k high among operator requirements. Operators carry out baseline environmental studies in cooperation with the local government to make sure all components, including the bonded flexible riser, flowline and floating export hose used on the mobile production system meet o r exceed the environmental requirements. Bonded flexible pipe must provide a safe passage through which the oil can be transferred. It is exposed to continual wave and current motion a n d is always under stress.


a pattern is the use of bonded flexible pipe for offshore loading, dynamic riser and flowline applications. Bonded flexible pipe is categorized in two designs


bonded flexible flowlines and risers and bonded flexible marine hose.

Bonded flexible marine hose for offshore loading was first used offshore Miri, Sarawak, in 1959. Bonded flexible flowlines and risers were first installed in 1988 in the British sector of the North Sea. This paper will discuss how bonded flexible pipe is used as part of a mobile offshore production system to convey crude oil from the mobile offshore production unit to the FSO (Floating Storage Offshore) or FPSO (Floating Production Storage Offshore) and to the export tanker. The three products discussed will be bonded flexible pipe risers, bonded flexible pipe flowlines, and bonded flexible pipe marine hose.


The fabrication of bonded flexible pipe requires careful selection of chemical materials, precise control of elastomeric formulations and processing, together with rigid quality control. It is designed and manufactured under a quality system in accordance with I S 0 9001 (Model for Quality Assurance Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing). Third party verification; e.g., American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Det Norske Veritas (DNV) or Rontgen Technische Dienst (RTD), is standard industry practice during the design, manufacture and testing of bonded flexible flowline and risers.
A. Manufacture of Bonded Flexible Pipe

Bonded flexible flowline and risers are rapidly becoming the pipe of choice in remote offshore areas of the oil and gas industry. Composed of helically wound, steel loadbearing wires that are captured in an elastomeric matrix, bonded flexible pipe is lightweight, compliant and durable. Fig. 1 shows the smooth inner tube, 6-ply wire reinforcement and the outer neoprene cover.
1) Liner: The material that makes up the liner or tube of the pipe is fabricated to resist processed crude oil, aromatic blended fuels, and diesel fuels. The liner is also fabricated

There are many instances in industrial technology of old ideas being revisited and exploited to their full potential many years after initial invention. A good example of such

0-7803-655 1-S/OO/$lO.OO 02000 IEEE


030kg m' 92 *c -29 P C 21 d s -29'C 21 m/s 111. 3 ) Cover: The cover compounds must be formulated and processed to have optimum resistance to abrasion.2 mm 23. The elastomeric pipe stretches under axial loads and like synthetic line. and became the frst company to use bonded flexible pipe for offshore loading applications. the permanent stretch is less than 2 percent of the original length. Shell installed the first SPM offshore Miri. It also has a high degree of torsional resistance when pressurized with either air or liquid. 1408 . provided the safe working load is not exceeded.85) -7. twist will increase as additional load is applied. TABLE 1 shows a typical specification for bonded flexible flowline and risers. Proper compounding of the liner protects it against the long-term effects of aging.4 kg/m 1220 psi Weight in Air Empty Buoyancy in Seawater Emply Buoyancy in Seawater Full of Oil (Sp. The construction of the pipe results in it acting very much like nylon three-strand line or hawser. in which a reinforcing ply makes a complete spiral or turn about the pipe. 0. as well as its overall torsional resistance. TABLE 1 Bonded Flexible Flowline and Riser Specifications Item Bore Size Outside Diameter 152. it will tend to elongate. 1. Then as the wires begin to carry the higher tensile load.Ox1V kg 3800 psi No Requirement Axial Load at Break (Theoretical) 70.000 kg 1.6 kg/m 7.24 kg/m -8. The pipe is extremely flexible.6 k g h 8. Burst Pressure Electrical Continuity 3800 psi No Requirement 50. The spiral wire reinforcement is laid at optimum angles for maximum efficiency of pressure containment and elongation. It also twists about its longitudinal axis similar to a three-strand nylon hawser line or wire rope. The pipe acts as a coreless line until pressure is applied. The four plies of spiral-wire work together to provide component integrity. That same year. the working and handling procedures are similar and the pipe's reaction to applied loads and handling techniques are similar to that of the synthetic line. it loses diameter at high axial tensions. The length of the wire lays in the conduit is that distance measured parallel to the tube axis. oil. As the pressure increases.oOO kg m2 92 'C 40. 2 ) Wire: Wire reinforcing bias wraps allow the pipe to elongate under tension. be resilient to natural gas and most chemicals found in crude oil.0xlV kg 500 kg m2 50 kg m1 40.030kg ~ x i a i ~ t i f f n e ats Design pressure s Bend Stiffness Torsional Stiffness at Dcsign Pressure hfaximuni Fluid Tempemtun: Minimum Environment Tempera" Maximum Flow V l c t eoiy 1. a small portion of the load-induced elongation is permanent and irreversible. is n approximately the same as a lay length at nominal loads. It will also reduce i diameter. the pipe will rotate (twist) about its tube axis. As increasing axial tension is applied to the pipe. or centerline.4 mm 198. Because the pipe is elastic. Bonded Flexible Pipe Buoyancy in Sawaler Full of Seawater Dwign Pressure (Max) B. Malaysia. As such.Gr. These tension characteristics make for a very hardy and forgiving system. the pipe takes on the appearance of having a core. The frequency of roll. As it elongates. and weathering. Abrasion resistance is provided by reinforcement in those areas where cyclic loading or chaffing may occur. BONDED FLEXIBLE MARINE HOSE The initial concept of bonded flexible marine hose used as floating and submarine hose systems as applied to single point mooring (SPM) terminals was pioneered by Uniroyal Scotland in 1959.4 mm 211. This permanent stretch is small and is not progressive with successive loadings. or twist.0 mm 28. and its resilience to twist. Under safe working conditions.28 kglm -11.0 kg/m 152. Characteristicsof Bonded Flexible Pipe Bonded flexible pipe is complex composed of multiple layers designed and manufactured to bear a very definitive relationship to one another.7 kglm 1220 psi Fig.5 kglm -10.

Although it has a complex geometry and loading defies accurate calculations of design margins. smaller. static flow lines and for conveying petroleum products from sub-sea pipelines to ships or temporary floating storage facilities. Bonded Flexible Marine Hose (Fully Floated) A seamless tube is applied to a carefully prepared mandrel by means of a continuous extrusion of hot uncured rubber compound. 1409 . The tube. Safety and the time-cost of money dictate the selection and use of high reliability. 2. less viable fields are favoring the use of smaller pipeline systems to interconnect the production facilities. Due to the accuracy on the lay of the steel cord. As offshore production technology has developed. Bonded flexible pipe is economically competitive in applications where there are significant repetitive motions. a high tension steel wire helix embedded in the rubber. or inner lining. Bonded flexible pipe is the pipe of choice to connect these facilities. is very important to the successful working life of the hose. empirical design methods and experimental validations. TABLE 2 Bonded Flexible Marine Hose Specification for 20" x 10m Floating Marine Hose I Hose Size and Type I 20" x 10m Fully Floated I Mainline Marine Hose 1V. 1.Offshore loading is particularly feasible and cost effective for smaller fields which have a limited production life. rubber compound.Bonded flexible marine hose is basically a tube which is reinforced in such a way that it can survive in its working environment. The rubber compound of the tube is constantly exposed to crude oil therefore it must be completely leak free to insure proper adhesion between the tube and the adjacent components. seawater. hostile and remote offshore environments and where simple and reliable installation is required. Size of field and field life . For instance the tail hose is in constant contact with the side of the tanker and must be protected from abrasion by applying a PU (polyurethane) coating to the outer cover to give maximum resistance to abrasion. FIELD DEVELOPMENT USING BONDED FLEXIBLE PIPE Bonded flexible pipe has a long history of successful use in the marine environment. oil and abrasion resistant. The resistance to abrasion on the outer cover often plays a major role in the working life of the hose. Bonded flexible marine hose marked as complying with the OCIMF guidelines must be designed and manufactured under a quality system in accordance with IS0 9001. The extrusion is applied as a spiral at constant pitch and tension overlapping to give a solid lining tightly fitted around the mandrel. and an external cover to make it weather. pressure. It is reinforced with layers of steel tire cord applied at the optimum angle to give maximum efficiency on pressurp retention and stability. The standard tube compound is capable of handling aromatic content up to 60%. Its primary use is for dynamic flexible risers. low risk equipment. Fig. Fig. 2 shows a typical fully floated bonded flexible marine hose. TABLE 2 shows the specification for a 20" x 10m floating marine hose. There are four factors that are of prime importance in deciding whether to use less expensive technology to develop a field. The capital costs for this type of development are relatively low and much of the equipment can be reused upon abandonment. The carcass of the hose contains the pressure and controls the movement of the hose under stress. it has proven to be highly reliable in service due to the use of conservative. The tube lining and carcass of the hose is protected from its working environment with reinforcing layers of textile cord. temporary elongation of up to 1% at test ' Users are increasingly concerned with the ruggedness and cost effectiveness of hoses designed to meet the challenges of future applications. with zero twist and zero permanent elongation is achieved. The cost penalties associated with spills having environmental impact have also escalated.

In certain areas pipeline options may not be an option. basically consisting of two export risers supported in hang-off clamp assemblies. and in 1) Riser and Flowline: The operator chose a field-proven riser and flowline system to support equipment to permit crude oil to be transported approximately 820 feet from the wellhead platform. and approximately 1.g. flowline and riser systems. West Africa. Field development using the MOPS has become an accepted practice in the offshore oil industry. It offers a means to collect reservoir data through extended well tests. the availability of existing facilities may be limited. /TL i l X l l O h % PJlT ____A' MX -FIl. Pipeline Options . response to the combined action of wind. 3 shows a typical mobile offshore production system field layout.2L A -. 0 a bonded flexible pipeline and riser to connect the production rig to the FSO or FPSO via a submarine pipeline. Economics and political instability play a major part in determining what type of production facilities are to be installed. L / / V . . Fig. 4.. 3 .In mature areas. 4 Gombe-Beta Field Wellhead Platform Fig. 5.Water depth influences many of the components. existing platforms and pipeline networks provide convenient routes for export. through two 6" I.D.. Fig. The cost of reaching those that do exist may therefore be prohibitive.000bblsfday of crude oil. type of drilling and production rig to be used. MOPS Gombe Beta Field The Gombe Beta Field is located in 55 feet of water fifteen miles offshore Gabon. mooring systems for FSO or FPSO. In new provinces or areas where fields occur only occasionally..U7 Fig.Existing export systems . The sub-sea riser and flowline system is simplistic in design. 2 ) Export System: A string of bonded floating marine hose 16" I.L. and a 0 bonded flexible floating marine hose string to offload the oil to the export shuttle tanker.00Obbls/day and experienced a significant drop in production two months later to 2. Mobile Offshore Production System (MOPS) The MOPS delivers processed crude oil to the moored FSO or FPSO by way of a subsea bonded flexible riser and flowline system. w l Ir ? L . V. In 1991. Water depth . 1410 . provides early cash flow from the field and is used to produce marginal fields. one on the MOPS and one on the FSO or FPSO. e. It was a marginal production field that at startup had a production of 12. 0 FSO or FPSO for storage of the oil and for export to a shuttle tanker. The crude oil is transferred from the FSO or FPSO to the export tanker via a floating bonded marine hose string.. 3. the operator determined the only economically sound way to produce this field was to use a MOPS. The bonded flexible riser and flowline system is designed to provide an efficient means to transfer processed crude oil from the mobile offshore production system to the FSO or FPSO for storage. .D. All of the above listed mobile offshore production system components play an integral part in the overall development of the field. and a flexible flowline in between. current and waves. combination bonded flexible flowline and risers connected the production riser to the FPSO. Fig. MOBILE OFFSHORE PRODUCTION SYSTEMS (MOPS) A. In many cases out of sight means out of harms way. The export tanker is moored to the FSO or FPSO from its bow to a single point allowing it to swing freely about the FSO or FPSO stern without fouling. The FSO or FPSO stores the transferred crude oil for the purpose of offloading to a candidate export tanker. L. The MOPS is made-up of the following components: production rig.000 feet long connected the FPSO to the export tanker.

[Tokyo]. a bonded marine hose floating hose string to transfer product from the FSO to the export tanker. [Ascoli Piceno]. [Ascoli Piceno]. CONCLUSION Fig.014 foot long section with low profile sub+. makes up the interface between the FSO and the export tanker. is located in 154 feet of water twenty miles offshore Gabon and consists of a mobile offshore production rig. MOPS TchatambaField The Tchatamba Field. MOPS success using bonded flexible pipe for offshore loading. 1992. REFERENCES Amazon Wire Cord Marine Hose. 7 TchatambaField Bonded Flexible Marine Hose Export System VI. Fig. however.a. length and construction. a bonded flexible riser and flowline system to transfer processed crude from the production rig to the FSO. 1993. 2) Flowline: The bonded flexible flowline consists of one 1. Italy: Manuli Rubber Industries. Gombe-Beta Field Production Risers and FPSO B. Fig. Flowline. 6 .p.6-ply wire float-sink bonded flexible pipe. It is also constructed of 6-inch intemal diameter My appreciation to R. Jumper. Japan: Bridgestone Corporation. the other end female).ea couplings fitted on each end (one end male.. Fig. a FSO. It is constructed of 6-inch intemal diameter x 6-ply wire float-sink bonded flexible pipe. and a low profile female subsea coupling on the other end. Bonded Elastomeric Conduit for Dynamic Riser. dynamic riser and flowline applications has demonstrated that industrial technology of old ideas can be revisited and exploited to their full potential many years after their initial invention. 4) Floating Hose System: The floating hose system. provide chaffing protection and provide bend restriction as required. The system is a single floating hose string (16-inch diameter x 760 feet long) comprised of 20 sections of various styles of bonded floating marine hose. 7. International Products Department. It is also fitted with a Grayloc weld-neck hub and special riser bearing and clamp assembly on one end. Tchatamba Field Production Rig and Export Riser Mobile offshore production systems have been used effectively to exploit resources that would otherwise be considered uneconomical. Bridgestone Marine Hose. The other end is equipped with a low profile male sub-sea coupling. 1411 . The riser is fitted with a Grayloc weld-neck hub and special riser bearing and clamp assembly on one end.L. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 1) The Riser: The production rig riser. The flowline joins the two risers together. Italy: Manuli Rubber Industries s. it is not reinforced. The riser is reinforced on one end (approximately 295 feet) to add weight. 3 ) FSO Riser: The FSO riser is identical to the production rig riser in size. 5. Furness for his support during the preparation of this paper and my thanks to Don Johnson for his opinions and comments. 6. Fig. and Military Fuel Transfer. is 5 18 feet long and connects the discharge piping on the production rig to the flowline. 1998.

" Ocean Industw (AprilMay 1991): 43-48. ---.p. ed. Norway: Ugland Engineering ak. [Milan]. Roy S. Exell. 1999. Italy: Uniroyal Manuli Rubber s.. TX: Southwest Research Institute. Oceaneering Production Svstems. 2. Ltd.: n. 1978. [Tokyo]. 1986.K. [Oslo]. London: Witherby & Co. U. [Milan]. Jr. Japan: The Yokohama Rubber Company. London: Witherby & Co. Flexible Hose Design A State-of-the-Art Literature Review.p. 1989. Houston: n. Edgar. Seaflex. Budapest: Hungarian Rubber Works. Galway. 4. - Yokohama Marine Hose. Proc... 1983. Oil Companies International Marine Forum. Sumitomo Marine Hose. R. 1989. 1988. Marginal Field Development of AMOCOs Gombe-Beta Field. Norway: Veritas Offshore Technology and Services ak. Ltd.p. "Offshore Development Using Mobile Production Systems. Guide to Purchasing* Manufacturing and Testing of Loading and Discharge Hoses for Offshore Moorings. R. Lighter Flexible Hoses to Solve Fluid Transfer Problems.. 1991. J. L. 1993. 1990. 1991. 1988.. MCS International. Longer. Japan: Sumitomo Rubber Industries.: Dunlop Oil & Marine ---.a. May 1988.Brightwell. [San Antonio]. Gabon Proiect (Tchatamba Marine Field) Sub-Sea RisedConduit and Floating Hose System Installations. Wright. Gabon. OTC 5751: An Offshore Petroleum Discharge System (OPDS) Application of Commercial Technology to Military Operational Requirements. TX: Unpublished.ITR SPA The Hose Business Unit.K.: Dunlop Oil & Marine. [Grimsby]. Bulverde. Dunlop Fuelflote Floater Hose. [Grimstad]. Hose Standards. Floater Hose. ed. 1997. Unpublished..p.. Italy: Uniroyal Manuli Rubber Co.. 1987..D. London: n. ---. First Article Testing of the Uniroyal Manuli Offshore Petroleum Distribution System Fuel Conduit... Ascoli Piceno. Division. Specification for Bonded Flexible Pipe 4"' Draft. 1412 . [Grimsby]. "Flexible Dynamic Risers State of The Art. n. of Offshore Technology Conf. Jones." The Wav Forward for Floating Production Systems Conference (1985).. Ltd. William B. U.. Jeffrey G. 1988. Christophe. 1993. 1985. Unpublished. 19931. Single Point Mooring Maintenance and Operations Guide. Pettenati-Aulziere. Offshore Hose Manual. Offshore Loading and Discharge Hose.. 1985. Fumess.We Go to Greater Lengths to Solve Hose Problems.p. West Africa. Offshore Bulk Fuel Svstem. [c.. The Manuli Conduit. Ireland: Marine Computation Services Ltd. M. ed. .Marlow. 1997. Teers.. Ken. Guidelines for Flexible Pipes. N. 1997. Michael L.. pokyo].p. 3. Taurus Flexible Pipes Technical Information. Italy: ITR Oil & Gas Division.