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OTC 5886

Field Experience and Design Evolution of the Diverless Lay-Away


Flowline Subsea Tree
by D.M. Underwood, FMC Corp., and M. da Costa, CBV Industria Mecanica SA

Copyright 1989, Offshore Technology Conference

This paper was presented at the 21st Annual OTC in Houston, Texas, May 1-4, 1989.

This paper was selected for presentation by the OTC Program Committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper,
as presented, have not been reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect
any position of the Offshore Technology Conference or its officers. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The
abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented.

presents the rrodifications that resulted and the


design insight gained during this evaluation
Extensive field experience and design insight have process.
been gained in the manufacture and installation in
Brazilian waters of six (6) diverless lay-away CCM'OOENr REVIEW lIND mDIFICATICN
flowline type subsea trees. This knowledge has led
to the evaluation and overall inprovernent of evexy Each conp:>nent of the diverless lay-away flowline
phase of the tree design. These iItprovem:m.ts, ained type subsea tree was reviewed as part of the
at sinplifying manufacture, field installation and evaluation process. In many cases, no changes ~e
subsequent tree manipulation, have been :incorporated made to cx:nponents. The following details the
into a secorxi generation diverless lay-away flowline changes that occw:red as a result of this study.
tree system. Lay-Away Flowline Connector System
IN'l'OODUC1'ICN Introduced in 1986, the lay-away flowline connector
system permits the flowline connection with the tree
Developed in 1985, and initially installed in to be made in one of bro ways.
January, 1987, the 4" x 2" 5,000 PSI diverless
lay-away flowline type subsea tree utilizes the In Option 1, the Universal Guide Base or UGB is
flexibility of the flowline to make the connection first run and locked to the subsea wellhead (see
between the flowlines and the subsea tree at the Figure 3). '!he UGB establishes a tubing head,
surface, prior to installation of the tree on the thereby providing positive space out and nfM,
wellhead. '!his feature eliminates subsea flowline unused seal surfaces for the tubing hanger and
connections and permits the pressure testing of tree. Then the tree, with the flowline hub and
these connections in the rooon pool. Further, the flowline bundle, is run using the lay-away flowline
tree (see Figure 1) was designed to be canpletely process. This method ccmpletely eliminates the
diverless during installation, production and necessity of making a subsea flowline connection.
workover IOOdes. A total of six (6) of these trees q;,erationally, this has proven an effective means of
have been installed to date (see Table 1). eliminating subsea leaks at the flowline interface.

Early in 1988, a second order was received, this In ~tion 2, the OOB is run with the flowline hub
time for four (4) of the diverless lay-away flowline am flowline bmdle (see Figure 4). The tree is
type trees. '1b i.rtProve tree function and simplify then run. This option will require one additicoal
manufacture, it was decided to evaluate each feature subsea connection, in this case a vertical
of the tree design. A study was subsequently connection similar to the tree connector, connecting
conducted and the second generation diverless the flowlines and the tree. Although never used
lay-away flowline tree system (see Figure 2) was with the initial six (6) trees, this option was
developed. In February, 1989, the first of these retained because of the operational flexibility it
second generation trees was installed, in Brazilian offers in scheduliIxJ the lay vessel. It may be of
waters, at depths aH;)roaching 500 meters (1,640 future advantage to lay the flowlines independent of
feet) of sea water. the .tree to permit the lay vessel to continue
operations elsewhere.
'!his paper, based on extensive field experience,
During installation, it was noted that the fixed
References and illustrations at end of paper. flowlines extending fran the tree at a 200 angle
51
2 FIErD EXPERIENCE AND DESIGN EVOLUl'ICN OF THE DIVERLESS IAY-AWKY :E'UmLINE SUBSFA TREE arc 5886
placed constraints on the miniIm.m dinYensions of the drill pipe or carpletion riser.
vessel noon pool. 'lb alleviate this problem and to
elilninate the bendin;r load inposed on the flowline Re-Entry Guide Posts
hub structure during installation, a swivel was Both tree designs provide re-entry guide posts as a
incorporated into the flowline cormection. This neans of guidin;r the tree installation tool over the
swivel pennits the flowline to hang vertically while tree during w::>rkover operations. Typically" for the
in the noon pool. Further, it ..as decided that an first generation of trees, this ..as accarpl1shed by
elastareric seal was unacceptable at this critical re-establishin;r two og;lOsi.n;r guide lines to the
interface and that a netal seal ..as nore desirable. drillinJ systan guide posts and using the tm re-
Therefore, the netal sealing lay-away flowline entry posts solely for alignm:mt. During field
swivel (see Figure 5) ..as developed for use in the operations, it was noted that difficulties were
second generation trees. often encountered re-establishing guide lines to
these drillinJ system guide posts. Primarily this
The netal sealing swivel is designed to function in difficulty was due to the crO'lded conditions
two positions. In the IOClOn pool, the swivel arms of encountered by the PDil at the base of the tree while
both the 4" and 2" flowlines are manually locked trying to access these post tops. Shearing the
into the vertical position fur pressure testing of guide cables flush to the drilling guide post, a
the flowline cormections. '!he netal seal is then difficult operation, was nonnally required.
energized.
In an effort to eliminate this difficulty, this
Flowline cormection pressure tests are then system has been modified. The second generation
conducted. TOO swivel nechanism is then unlocked tree design incorporates two identical re-entry
and left free to swivel while the tree descends. guide posts that feature drillinJ system top
Once the tree ha.s been lowered through the noon profiles pennitti.n;r the use of guide post oversmt
pool, the flexible flowline can, at any tille, be cormectors to re-establish the guide lines directly
lifted to c~use the flowline to achieve the second to the upper tree frame. capable of being renotely
position, 20 fran mrizontal. At this point, the attached and released by an FDIT, these connectors
flowline swivel will autanatically lock into place. will eliminate the necessity of shearing the guide
cable prior to mJ:kover.
UGB and Tree Comectors
Hydraulic cormectors are used to rm:)tely lock. the SIZE AND WEIGH!' SAVINGS
UGB (the UGB is the guide base that establishes a
tubing head and a structural support for the Another aspect of the design that received intense
flowline cormection system) to the drillinJ wellhead focus was the overall size and weight of the tree.
and to lock the tree to the tubing head on the UGB. several carponents were evaluated for reduction in
The initial six (6) trees featured both hydraulic size and weight, resulting in a weight reduction of
and manual secondary release mechanisms in approximately 4 tons. Major reductions involved the
conjunction with these armular piston connectors. following conponents: valve block, adapter spool,
The secoOOary hydraulic release IlEChani.sm was made and tree frame.
up of a structural plate, bolted to the manual
release rods, that could be activated by independent Valve Block
hydraulic pistons. The manual release nechanism Like the first generation lay-away flowline tree
involved pullinJ up on these sane release rods. valve blocks, the second generation valve block
While neither of these secondal:y systans has yet incorporates 4" lower master, uwer master and ~
been utilized, it was deerred necessary fran a as well as 2" master and swab. Both tree verSJ.Ons
reliability standpoint to retain these options. have separate 2" and 4" winJ valves and a 2"
crossover valve. All valves features sprinJ return
For the second generation trees, the independent hydraulic actuators. Furthenrore, both tree designs
pistons and activation plate were replaced by a include tm separate 1" .12,000 PSI gate val-yes ,for
secondaty armular piston integral to the connector. SCSSV access and product~on bore pressure IOOn~torJ.ng.
This piston, which remains stationcuy during primary TOO SCSSV isolation valve is fail-open and the
cormector function, is accessed through a separate pressure transducer valve is fail-close. The use of
control function. This irmovation penn.itted the this slightly larger, sturdier gate valve, rather
reduction of both stack-up height and weight fran than a quarter turn ball valve, is justified based
the tree. on the increased reliability it affords.
Corrosion cap The evaluation effort did, however, offer the
The first generation diverless lay-away flowline opporttmity to enploy inproved valve and actuator
tree design required four basic tools to run (see designs, resulting in a sma.ller block valve. A
Table 2). '!hose were 1) the tmiversal guide base newly inplemanted netal to netal sealinJ gate valve
running tool typically run on drill pipe for option was introduced in both the production and annulus
one, 2) the tubinJ hanger running tool, 3) the tree runs. This new design, while considered nore
installation tool used to run the tree and the tree reliable than it's forerunner, eliminated the need
cap with the cx:npletion riser, and 4) the corrosion for a "balanced stem" closure on the backside of the
cap running tool run on drill pipe. valve block. '!his enabled the block itself to
shrink in size as conponents could now be spaced
During the evaluation process, it was noted that IOOre closely. lIdditionally, all valves (with the
this number could be reduced. Thus, the corrosion exception of tm 2" valves) could now be pointed in
cap has been designed for the second generation of the same direction, away fran the flowline connector.
trees and can now be run on the same tool (the tree
installation tool) that runs the tree and tree cap. This nore evenly distributed tree weight and
TOO tree installation tool has adapters to run on lessened the requirement for counterweight necessary
52
arc5886 UNDEm:lOD AND DA COSTA 3
to achieve tre= balance. The imp1eIrentation of both position in the m:xm pool. This feature
the new gate valve and a conpact actuator played a eliminates minimum lOOOn p:x>l size constraints.
role in further size reductions.
UGB/Tree Connectors
Adapter Spool
2. It was decided to utilize an internal annular
As part of the first generation lay-away flowline secondary release piston in both the tree
tree system, an adapter spool provided the cormector and the universal guide base
adaptation between the top of the tree connector and connector. This eliminated th3 cost, stack-up
the ICMar flange of the block valve. This spool was height and weight of the large external
necessaxy to provide an attachIrent location for the secondary release hydraulic jacks and release
I" 12,000 PSI gate valve that isolated the scssv plate fran the tree design.
function. The spool also contained the 4"
production and 2" annulus tree seal stabs that mate Running am Retrieval Tools
to the tubing hanger. With the introduction of the
new compact gate valves, spacing neM pennitted this 3. It was deem3d desirable to reduce the number of
tools required to run the eatq?lete system.
isolation valve to be JOOunted directly to the valve
nus was accarplished by redesigning the tree
block. Further, space was available to accamodate
the seal stabs. 'Ihus, the adapter spool was corrosion cap to run with the same tool that
runs the tree and tree cap.
eliminated, creating a savings in \'\eight and height.
Tree Frane Tree Re-Entry System

Based on an absence of problems in the field and the 4. It was deem3d necessazy to simplify tree re-
new reduced size conponents, it was deemed entry by providing easier attachn'ent of guide
awropriate to decrease the size of the tree lines. This operation was simplified by
structure itself, in particular the upper tree providing the re-entry posts on top of the tree
frame. Previously, the 1.cM3r and upper tree frames with drilling post top profiles permitting the
~e structurally joined togeth3r. Now, the upper use of a standard oversoot tool.
tree frame is structurally attached only to the tree
Reduction of Size and weight
manifold directly above the block valve.
1. Reducing the size and \'\eight of the valve block
ADDITICNS 'ID IMPIDVE FUNcrICN has simplified both manufacturing and tree
handling. This was accarplished by introducing
In addition to inproving the functions of existing new eatpact gate valves and actuators.
carponents, some features ~e added to the second
generation diverless lay-away fleMline tree to 2. The redesign effort of the block valve resulted
inprove the function of the tree in the field. The also in the elimination of an adapter spool.
JOOst :i.Irq;lortant addition of this nature was the PJ:N This further reduced the overall size of the
back-up panel. tree.
ROl Panel 3. With a shorter stack-up and based on an absence
of field problems, the tree structure was
To increase tree reliability a manifold of valves
extensively simplified.
was added between th3 control unbilical and the tree
manifold. 'Ihese b.u position/three way manual ball
Addition to the Design
valves, with tee han:Ues for FOil c:peration, provide
F!JV control of the following functions: 1) SCSSV An RrN override panel was added to the tree design
isolation valve, 2) l~r and upper production to simplify th3 subsea manipulation and to increase
masters simultaneously, 3) pressure transducer reliability.
isolation valve, 4) production wing, 5) annulus
master, 6) annulus wing, 7) crossover, and 8) a NCNMENCIATtJRE
spare. The manifold also features a "rot stab"
which gives the F!JV hydraulic access to these RDV' - Renote Operated Vehicle
functicns. Finally, FOil docking ports \'\ere situated SCSSV - surface Controlled SUbsurface Safety Valve
below the rov panel to provide a convenient rrethod
of stationing th3 RrN in front of the panel. ACKNCMLEOOEMENTS
Docking ports consisted of ordinary 4" x 2" pipe
reducers welded into th3 tree structure. The authors wish to thank Mario Paulino and the
subsea service staff at ON Industria ~canica for
CCNCWSICNS their valuable assistance during both the design of
the second generation lay-away tree and the
Based on this study praopted by the experience of preparation of this report. Further, the authors
delivering and installing six (6) first generation wish to express their gratitude to Petrobras!DEI?RO
lay-away flowline subsea trees, it was concluded for their important contributions to the developreIl.t
that the following roodifications ~e necesSaJ:y to of both first and second generation lay-away
improve the fabrication and function of the tree. flowline trees.

Existing eatponents

Flowline Cormection System


1. Hopo.ns, B.C., Williams, M.R. and Skeels, H.B.:
1. It was necessary to add a matal sealing swivel "Diverless Lay-Away Flowline Connector system,"
to the flowline cormector to permit the paper OTC 5316 presented at the 1986 l8th
flexible flowlines to hang in the vertical Annual OTC, fbuston, May 5-8, 1986
53
TABLE 1
CHRONOLOGICAL LISTING OF THE INSTALLATION OF LAY-AWAY
FLOWLINE TREES IN OFFSHORE BRAZILIAN WATERS

WELL
RIG FIELD DEPTH DATE
3-RJS-294
..
SS-30 MARIMBA 411 m (1348 ft) 10 J~UARY 1987
3-RJS-293D SS-30 MARIMBA
410 m (1345 ft) 8 NARCH 1987
1-RJS-297 5s-20 ALBACORA 293 m (961 ft)
25 JULY 1987
3-RJS-334 SS-31 ALBACORA 329 m (1079 ft) 11 SEPTEMBER 1987
4-RJs-328 SS-31 ALBACORA 419 m (1375 ft) .s

II
13 NOVEMSER 1987
3-RJS-329A SS-20 ALBACO~ 287 m (942 ft) 84
12 DECEMBER 1987
.l#
*7-AB-6D-RJS SS-16 ALBACORA 437 m (1434 ft)
FEBRUARY 1989 .

* INITIAL SECOND GENERATION TREE xl

NO sCHEDULE AVAI: ABLE FOR T.HREE REMAINING SECOND m


GENERATION TREES u

.t4

TABLE 2
,.

TYPIcAL RIG TIMFS REQUIRED FOR VARIOUS


..
LAY-AWAY FLOWLINE TREE OPERATIONS
.,

.8
HoURS
.,
OPERATION MINIMuM MAXIMIJM AVERAGE
. .1 Uumau.
RON UGB ON DRILL PIPE 11.0 WIDE MSf
14.5 12.4 .,
pASS FLOWLINE HUB TO 7.0
RIG AND INSTALL IN 17.5 10.0 .4

DUMMY UGB .,

MOVE TREE To MooNpooL .,


1.0 5.0 2.6
,
LAND TREE CAP AND TEST
5.0 10.8
IN MOONPOOL 8.0 .,

OMUJMO
REMOVE TREE CAP AND ,
calm Buc
3.0 9.0
DUMMY UGB 4.3
.,

LAND TREE INSTALLATION


5.0 11.5 .,

TOOL AND TEST 8.5


.4

RUN TREE Oli COMPLETION


RISER
11.0 21.5 16.6 1,
suBSEA TREE TESTING 2.0 5.0 4.1 FIRST GENERATION
LAY AWAYT8EE
MTRIEVE TREE
3.0 6.5
INSTALLATION TOOL 4.4

RUM TREE CAP ON


COMPLETION RISER
6.5 12.5 8.8 FIGURE 1

RETRIEVE TREE
INSTALLATION TOOL 5.0 9.0 7.2

Rm CORROSION CAP
3.0 10.5 5.9
RETRIEVE CORROSION CAP
2.0 5.0
RUNNING TOOL 3.4

NOTE : THE ABOVE ITEMS ARE APPROXIMATE AND DO NOT INCLUDE RIG
DOWN TIME ASSOCIATED WITH O?HER EQUIPMENT (E.G. :
LEARs , ROV MALFUNCTIONS, ETC. ) . RISER

54
I
i!

55
I

i
J I

N VER TICAL
I
OUTLET
..
,

LAY - AWAY FLOWLINE HUB WITH METAL SEALING

SWIVEL
FIGURE s

56