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T O U C H B R I E F I N G S 2 0 0 9

For nearly 30 years, Subsea 7 one of the worlds leading subsea

engineering and construction companies and its predecessor
companies have successfully been designing, fabricating and
installing unique pipeline bundle solutions that neatly incorporate all
structures, valve work, pipelines and control systems necessary to
operate a field in one single product.
Installation of the 60th Bundle
The company marked a significant milestone in late 2008, when it
successfully launched and installed a bundle pipeline for BPs North
Sea Machar field (part of the Eastern Trough Area Project [ETAP])
its 60th bundle project to date. This relatively typical US$22 million
bundle project was awarded in April 2008, and was one of
the companys fastest completed projects of this nature, with the
bundle launched on 8 December 2008 and offshore operations
completed on 17 December only nine months after the contract
was awarded (see Figure 1).
The bundle incorporated a 12-inch sleeve system containing a dry-
insulated eight-inch lined production pipeline, six-inch plastic-lined
water injection flowline (the first plastic-lined pipe within a bundle),
a three-inch gas-lift line, electrical power and signal cables and
hydraulic and chemical controls tubing. The scope included
structural design of the towhead, piping design within the towhead
and design of the bundle system.
Subsea 7 was also commended on this project for the innovative
method of pre-flooding the water injection and production
flowlines, which saves precious offshore time on a winter schedule.
The Jura Development Project
Although the BP Machar bundle project is a good example of Subsea
7s bundle capabilities, in many ways the pipeline bundle project
that preceded BP Machar was more significant; this was the
companys 59th bundle installation, for Total E&P UK in the Jura field
in the North Sea.
Similar to the BP Machar project, Total Jura was a fast-track (14 months
from award to completion of offshore testing) North Sea project that
involved the design, fabrication and installation of a 3km-long pipeline
bundle system using controlled-depth tow methodology (CDTM),
which tied back Totals Jura 1 and Jura 2 wells to the Forvie subsea
manifold. The pipeline bundle consisted of an 8-inch super-duplex dry-
insulated pipeflow line with full electrical/hydraulic/fibre optic control
lines all contained within a 27-inch carrier pipe. However, the factor
that made this project especially notable was that it was the largest
ever towhead tow-out of its nature (see Figure 2).
At 500 tonnes, the Jura towhead, which also incorporated the
production manifold, was more than 150 tonnes heavier than any of
the towheads in the previous 58 bundles built by Subsea 7 and its
predecessors. The Jura towhead manifold structure comprised two
retrievable process modules for the Jura 1 and Jura 2 wells, and
the manifold structure also contained a single subsea distribution
unit (SDU), a chemical injection metering unit (CIMU) and the
facility, in the future, to tie in a third well. With a cross-section of
8x8m and over 40m in length, the fabrication of the main towhead
structure, with its retrievable modules, demonstrated a noteworthy
engineering achievement.
As part of the design engineering for the Total Jura development,
Subsea 7 produced a fully detailed 3D model of each towhead
structure, which allowed the main structure, process pipework,
process valves, control system equipment, flexible jumpers and all
tie-in points to be viewed from any angle and in great detail. This
facility provided the project engineering teams at Subsea 7, Total and
the main towhead fabricator with a very accurate simulation of the
complete towhead prior to the start of manufacture.
The 3D modelling package was also used to great effect in the briefing
of dive teams and remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) crews
who were required to work in the structure once it was on location and
in 120m water depth.
As with all Subsea 7s bundle projects, fabrication took place at
Subsea 7s Wester site near Wick (the Jura manifold and Forvie
towhead were manufactured and assembled at IMMs Nigg Yard
facilities, also in Northern Scotland). In previous bundle projects, the
towheads were delivered to Wester by a coaster into Wick harbour,
and then by specialised road transport through the town to the site;
however, owing to the size of the towhead on this occasion it was
not possible.
Michael Fish, the Subsea 7 Senior Project Manager on the Total Jura
Bundle Project, commented: Getting the towhead structure to the
beach was a considerable challenge. At 500 tonnes, its vast scale
necessitated the use of new and innovative specialist equipment during
fabrication and transportation, especially as its size stopped us from
taking the usual route between the fabrication site and the launch site
Willie Watt is a Pipeline Construction Manager at
Subsea 7, with responsibity for the construction of
bundle pipeline products and for supporting the
companys spool bases worldwide. He also manages the
workforce at Subsea 7s Wester Bundle Pipeline
fabrication site, where he is based. Mr Watt is Chairman
of Wick Harbour Authority, and was instrumental in
setting up the Caithness Engineering Consortium.
Subsea Pipeline Bundle Technology
Still Delivering Value for North Sea Operators
a report by
Wi l l i e Watt
Pipeline Construction Manager, Subsea 7


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through the town of Wick. A unique landing craft transported the two
towheads (the leading production manifold towhead and the trailing
towhead) from the fabrication site to the launch site. A temporary
roadway was built on the beach to receive this vessel and multiwheel
self-propelled modular trailers were used to move the structure from
the barge/beach to the bundle fabrication site.
Before launch the pipeline and associated equipment located within
the structures were also subjected to a full and thorough site
integration testing programme to ensure that the many interfaces
between the control equipment and valves operated as per project
and client requirements. During this phase, the offshore control
room equipment was set up on-site to facilitate full testing on both
hardware and software. The Jura bundle was successfully launched
in April 2008, with offshore tie-ins and testing completed in
May 2008 (see Figure 3).
Bundle Technology
The Subsea 7 pipeline bundle product integrates the required flow
lines, water injection, gas lift, chemical injection and control systems
necessary for any subsea development and assembles them within a
steel carrier pipe. At each end of the pipeline, the towhead structures,
incorporating equipment and valves, designed specifically to the
requirements of the field, are attached. The system, which has been
fully function-tested onshore, is then launched and transported to its
offshore location using CDTM (see Figure 4).
The CDTM was pioneered and developed by Subsea 7 and it involves
the transportation of pre-fabricated and fully tested pipelines, control
Subsea Pipeline Bundle Technology Still Delivering Value for North Sea Operators
Figure 1: The BP Machar Bundle Figure 2: The Total Jura Bundle Cross-section
29.5-inch carrier pipe
Control tubing and
electrical cabling cores
20mm LDPUF
8-inch 22Cr production pipe
Main spacer
13.5-inch sleeve pipe
TEL: +47 51 83 66 60 - FAX: +47 51 83 66 66 - I OS@I OS. NO - WWW. I OS. NO
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Subsea Pipeline Bundle Technology Still Delivering Value for North Sea Operators
E X P L O R A T I O N & P R O D U C T I O N V O L U ME 7 I S S U E 1
lines and umbilicals in a bundle configuration suspended between two
tugs. Once launched from the onshore site, the bundle is transported
to its offshore location at a controlled depth below the surface. On
arrival at the field, the bundle is lowered to the seabed and
manoeuvred into location, and the carrier pipe is flooded to stabilise
the bundle in its final position.
Bundles are fabricated at Subsea 7s Wester site. This pipeline bundle
fabrication facility was custom-built in 1979 and is utilised exclusively
for the fabrication, testing and launch of pipeline bundles in the North
Sea. The site is located six miles north of the town of Wick and extends
from the shoreline at Sinclairs Bay landward for 7.8km in an
eastwest orientation. The site, which has received substantial capital
expenditure (CAPEX) investment, is fully equipped with three
fabrication shops, offices, stores, maintenance workshops, pipe-
storage areas with overhead cranes and four construction tracks, two
of which run for 7.6km (see Figure 5).
A subsea pipeline bundle can incorporate a combination of the
following features:
highly efficient thermal insulation pipe in pipe systems;
corrosion-resistant alloy materials;
active heating of product lines;
carbon steel pipe with corrosion-resistant alloy or plastic liners;
manifold systems integral to the flowlines;
heat transfer between adjacent pipes;
hydraulic control tubing within bundle direct to manifold;
controls signal and electrical cables;
through-flowline well servicing;
inert environment in the carrier pipe annulus;
fibre optic control system; and
interconnecting towheads/bundles.
Such bundles are utilised where:
seabed areas are congested;
existing structures impede access;
operations are in deepwater;
anchor patterns restrict the available seabed;
diverless operations are mandatory;
products are high-pressure/high-temperature and contain sour
robust flow assurance solutions are required; and
future developments will be hooked up into the bundle system.
Benefits of Bundles
The bundle concept is a major product offering of Subsea 7, providing
an economical, reliable and timely fast-track solution for its clients.
It has many benefits. The carrier pipe with two end bulkheads
provides containment that when filled with inhibited sea water after
installation gives a corrosion-free environment. This reduces or
avoids the need for individual corrosion coating of flowlines. The
carrier pipe also provides protection against external hazards, such
as dropped objects and trawl board impacts. There is no need for
trenching as the carrier gives protection as well as on-bottom
stability. Thermal insulation of the flowlines can easily be provided
and accommodated in the carrier design if necessary. Various
insulation systems are available, such as polyurethane foam, fibre
wool or filling the annulus with an insulating material, and are
selected for appropriate conditions.
Onshore fabrication conditions such as working in a climate-
controlled environment, rigorous inspection and full onshore
Figure 3: The Total Jura Bundle
Figure 4: Controlled-depth Tow Methodology
Leading tug Patrol/survey
Leading towhead
Trailing towhead
Trailing tug
Figure 5: Subsea 7s Wester Bundle Site in Wick, North Scotland
Figure 6: Selection of Bundle Cross-sections Designed, Fabricated and
Installed by Subsea 7
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testing and commissioning, contribute to a high level of confidence
and avoid expensive offshore delays. Simpler umbilical design is
achieved by laying the individual hoses and cables in the carrier
without armouring. Furthermore, there is no need to separately
install an umbilical offshore. Bundles reduce the pipeline corridor
width to a minimum and avoid unnecessary congestion, allowing
for future developments and minimising potential risk with
anchor handling.
The carrier pipe provides a secondary barrier against any leaking
product, thus minimising environmental pollution. Current carrier
designs can be made suitable for waters >700m deep.
The Future of Bundle Technology
As Subsea 7 marks its 60-bundle milestone, it looks forward to
the challenge of improving and supplementing existing systems,
and believes this will be accomplished by the same continued
investment into research, resources and expertise that brought
about the development of CDTM nearly 30 years ago. The fast-track
Jura project has advanced pipeline bundle technology through
new fabrication, transportation and integration techniques, and
sophisticated bundles and towheads of more than 500 tonnes
are now an established option alongside more traditional subsea
construction methods.
Subsea 7s aim is to launch a new generation of subsea
technological solutions through the development of ongoing in-
house projects, such as open and intelligent bundles, towed
structures and flowlines, active heated systems and various
alternative material and welding initiatives; in doing so, it will
strengthen its position as the subsea partner of choice.
Subsea Pipeline Bundle Technology Still Delivering Value for North Sea Operators
1980: first bundle project completed for Conocos Murchison
1988: first bundles for Norwegian sector of the North Sea
installed in Elf Aquitaines East Frigg field (diverless installation).
1992: first corrosion-resistant alloy flowline within a bundle for
Phillips Petroleum Companys Embla field.
1994: longest ever controlled-depth tow methodology tow and
deepest ever installation at 350m for Conocos Heidrun field.
1994: first carbonsteel corrosion-resistant alloy lined flowline
within a bundle for BPs Cyrus field.
1997: busiest ever year, with two 7km bundles and one 4.6km
bundle for the Shell Gannet field, a 1.8km bundle for Maersks
Dan field and a 3.8km bundle for Statoils Asgard field.
1997: second deepwater installation and first actively heated
bundle for Asgard field.
2000: largest bundle to date a 49-inch carrier for Statoils
Gullfaks field.
2003: first winter launch for Ventures Sycamore field.
2007: largest ever bundle towhead for Totals Jura 1 and
2 fields.
2008: 60th bundle launch and install for BPs Machar field the
second winter launch (see Figure 6).
Bundle Timeline Highlights
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