Paradigm Flushes Out Subsea Chemical Disposal Problem
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Rob Bain, managing director of Paradigm Flow Services

Paradigm Flow Services, the blockage removal experts for the oil and gas sector, has developed a Subsea Umbilical Flushing Unit (SUFU) which eliminates environmental issues and reduces cost for operators. The technology has recently been deployed in mature UKCS fields in pilot projects worth more than £1 million.

SUFU can be used to safely and efficiently flush chemical or hydraulic subsea umbilical cores using an innovative containment system, to allow onshore disposal and compliance with environmental regulation.

With a bespoke twin-skinned bladder, SUFU is designed to withstand all subsea production chemicals, including solvents and methanol. It is secured within a within a DNV 2.7.1 container with an innovative inner skin installed for safe deployment and retrieval from subsea.

The SUFU bladder is connected to a simple manifold assembly allowing valve configuration for subsea umbilical connection by diver or ROV. Once operational, the SUFU can be safely left in position on the seabed, removing the need for a vessel to be used throughout the umbilical flushing process.

Rob Bain, managing director of Paradigm Flow Services, said, “Conventional approaches to subsea umbilical flushing demand that a dive support vessel is on location for days. The SUFU eliminates this need, saving operators in the region of £1 million per flushing operation based on average vessel rates.

“The other alternative would be discharging into the sea, which poses major environmental issues. We developed this technology to provide a financially and environmentally viable option for oil and gas companies.”

Connected to any part of the umbilical distribution system or tie-in points, SUFU also incorporates a non-return valve to eliminate migration of flushed fluids and debris back into the cleared line. The manifold features a ‘sample whip’ which can be used to contain a sample of the clean fluids to confirm the line has been successfully cleared post-flushing.

Following offshore operations using SUFU, the disposal process ensures that clients meet environmental consents. Samples can also be retrieved from the waste tank for analysis to identify the root cause of the blockage or restriction.

The technology can be used in any size of project. Bladder volume can be designed up to 20 m³, and this can be scaled up by using several units in a modular arrangement dependant on client requirements.

The Aberdeenshire-based company, which detects, remediates and prevents subsea and topside blockages for the oil and gas industry, is launching this new technology at the Subsea Expo which takes place from February 5-7 at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. Paradigm Flow Services will also be delivering a presentation at the event at 3.30pm on Thursday on ‘A unique and non-intrusive technology for the removal of subsea pipeline and umbilical blockages’.

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