FLOW ASSURANCE IMPORTANCE:
Ensuring the successful and economical flow of a hydrocarbon stream from reservoir to the point of sale, otherwise known as ‘flow assurance,’ is a critical task during deepwater energy production. High pressures, low temperatures (~4°C) and the potential for solid deposits to cause catastrophic blockages, increase the possibility of flow assurance failure. The financial loss from such production interruption can be astronomical. Traditionally, modern subsea insulation systems require the oil to be cooled prior to meeting with flow lines. At certain depths, flow challenges can occur due to the high temperature of the oil being recovered. There exists the potential for the quickly-cooled oil to crystallize and form hydrates, which may plug the pipeline and slow the speed of the hydrocarbon flow. As a result, operators have been searching for an insulation product that can endure up to 400°F (204°C) of high-velocity fluid and has the ability to mitigate the formation of hydrates in a highly unstable production environment.
MTE has designed, developed and deployed two insulation systems, known as ThermoTron 350 and ThermoTron XT. These systems are mechanically robust, flexible, high-temperature elastomeric compounds, which are applied to pipe exterior, jumpers, and other complex components, using a proprietary extrusion process. These systems are uniquely designed to extend the lifespan of subsea installations.
ThermoTron 350 and ThermoTron XT insulation systems consist of three layers:
• Corrosion resistant layer
• Bonding agent layer
• High-temperature, high-density elastomeric layer
ThermoTron XT is unique to the market, as it is the only elastomeric insulating material capable of operating at continuous temperatures exceeding 350°F and also capable of being deployed using the J-Lay, S-Lay and Reel-Lay methods.