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New STATS subsea launcher enables flangeless pipe connections

Pipeline technology company STATS Group has introduced a flangeless subsea launcher (FSL) which offers greater flexibility and can be positioned at any given position in depths of up to 2,220m.

Currently, temporary subsea launchers are designed for flanged pipe connections to allow maintenance pigs and isolation plugs to be deployed and recovered for pipeline maintenance or repair operations.

But flanged connections limit the location of where a subsea launcher can be attached.

The STATS-designed flangeless solution can be efficiently lowered to the seabed and introduced to an open pipe end without the need for hyperbaric welding.

“Demand for this technology is growing and we have seen global enquiry levels increase in recent months,” STATS Group director of EPRS and subsea services Dale Millward said.

The company is currently designing and manufacturing an ROV-compatible launcher as part of an intervention and repair project on a damaged subsea pipeline for a major operator in the South China Sea.

Once the ROV-operated launcher is lowered to the seabed at location and introduced to the open pipe end, a manipulator clamp mounted at the front of the launcher is positioned and secured onto the pipe and retracted towards the launcher, pulling the launcher centrally on to the open end of the pipe until fully installed.

The launcher housing incorporates the lock and seal, module which when actuated provides a secure connection to and seal against the outside diameter of the pipe.

Once actuated, the locks prevent movement of the pipe during pigging operations and the seal provides a leak-proof barrier.

The Aberdeenshire-based company has recently supplied an FSL with a total of six 32” Remote Tecno Plug isolation tools for a project in the Black Sea.

The equipment will enable pipeline flood prevention and wet buckle recovery solutions during pipe laying operations, providing contingency equipment to isolate the pipeline in the event of a wet buckle.