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Pipe dreams: The rise of technology in the oil and gas industry

Empty Subsea umbillical cable reels ready for reloading. Credit: makasanaphoto/bigstovkphoto.com
Empty Subsea umbillical cable reels ready for reloading. Credit: makasanaphoto/bigstovkphoto.com
The first flexible pipes were used in the offshore oil and gas industry in 1972. These early models were built and applied as a ‘kill and choke’ line and formed with a bonded type of material, usually vulcanised rubber and armouring. Since then, the demands for this technology have steadily grown and diversified.

Today, they are found in every major production basin worldwide and are used for everything from risers, flowlines, fluid transfer lines and jumpers, all designed to keep production flowing efficiently. The development of flexible pipe technology has accelerated in recent years. Of course, the clear trend across the oil and gas industry has been operators looking for operational efficiencies wherever possible.

Marginal gains in operational efficiency have become the order of the day. However, implementing this is trickier than it may sound, given that many new fields are located in some of the most challenging environments the industry has ever had to contend with.

Deeper water, higher temperatures, higher pressure, ageing infrastructure and complex chemistry all stack up to create ever more intense conditions for flexible...

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Empty Subsea umbillical cable reels ready for reloading. Credit: makasanaphoto/bigstovkphoto.com