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Subsea Connector Specialist SECC Delivers Disconnect System to Repsol

16 September 2011

Subsea connector specialist SECC Oil & Gas has delivered a "weak link” pipeline disconnect system to Repsol designed to protect subsea infrastructure and the marine environment.

The connector system has been customised to meet Repsol’s specific requirements for the Spanish Casablanca field to reduce the risk of pollution should the pipeline be damaged by either trawling or seismic activity. The connector will be permanently installed subsea on the Lubina tie-back.

The weak link is — like all SECC connector products — full-pressure balanced, has a full bore and is fully piggable. It both protects subsea equipment from damage and reduces the risk of an oil spill by separating when a pre-determined load is placed on the connector and then closing each end of the pipe, hose, umbilical, or down line.

The preset parting load is customised to be lower than that required to pose a risk to other equipment. The bore self-seals, so avoiding damage and preventing pollution. The system has no pressure separation forces and being mechanical does not rely on hydraulics or electric power means it is extremely reliable.

What further distinguishes the connector is its capability for reconnection under pressure subsea at depths of up to 10,000ft or greater via ROV and without the need to de-pressurise or de-water the line. These operations are performed in an emergency or for scheduled operational connection and disconnection.

The SECC technology will be installed by Technip on the 3.5km pipeline linking the Montanazo D-5 and Lubina-1 wells in a 4.5” flowline a short distance from the Lubina well. The Casablanca field is around 45 kilometres offshore Tarragona and the project is worth a total of €200 million.

Repsol approached SECC Oil & Gas because of their unique technology. After seeing the SECC system demonstrated at OTC, Repsol was highly impressed with what it could offer in terms of environmental protection and efficiency. Repsol is a very environmentally aware organisation and is always looking for products that can help reduce the chances of accidental discharge. Using the SECC Breakaway Coupling on this project adds an extra safeguard not common in the offshore industry.

Justin Marshall, business development manager of SECC, which is based in Northwich, Cheshire, said: "We were approached to provide a connector system to address the particular challenges presented by the Casablanca field and have worked closely with Repsol and Technip to ensure we have matched all their key requirements.”