Compositionally, bi-directional valves on manifold systems are strictly hydro-mechanical, as opposed to being electrically driven. Furthermore, setting the pressure and flow valves on manifold systems via their cartridges are performed manually on the surface. Thus, if flow or pressure adjustments need to be made, an ROV must travel to the surface, which leads to downtime.
Because of the hydro-mechanical design of manifold systems, shifting the bi-directional valves requires external hydraulic pilot lines operated by a valve pack. In a non-intense intervention, this setup is fit for purpose. However, when an ROV must engage multiple external kits, this approach is limited. This is because a four station manifold system requires eight lines since each bi-directional valve employs two pilot lines from a valve pack for actuation (one for each direction). Thus, a manifold system with multiple stations necessitates many external pilot lines. As opposed to transducers that register on a GUI, manifold systems typically use analog gauges that require an ROV camera(s) during operations to monitor that the proper pressure is delivered to points of interest.
From a GUI standpoint, when new ROVs leave production facilities, their auxiliary valve packs cannot meet the global needs of ongoing and future intervention projects. However, agnostic as well as intervention companies with proprietary valve packs are better positioned for this because of their predisposition for such projects. Agnostic valve packs have a greater degree of applicability due to their general market neutrality. Furthermore, valve packs can be outfitted with additional marinized hubs/components that give live feedback – on a GUI – of the components attached to it, such as switches, turns counters, cameras, linear sensors, flow meters, etc.
Moreover, highly complex GUIs are largely designed as a digital extension and representation of the equipment being engaged to facilitate understanding the functionality of a kit at depth. For this reason, an ROV is not required to interpret gauges, as is the case with a manifold system, since all pressure readings register on the topside unit. In addition, GUIs can include a matching flow schematic to further mirror the equipment being employed. This is paramount when remediating blocked pipelines, for example, as it prevents improper valve placement during remediation operations. This, in turn, ensures that a pipeline is not flooded by sea water during operations, which would gravely compound a hydrate.
The success of intensive subsea interventions projects rests on three big elements: a work-class ROV, external kits, and the linking component between them -- valve packs. Therefore, as deepwater projects continue to increase and intervention projects increase in complexity, the need to source valve packs will rise. Agnostic valve packs can continue to benefit current and future projects in these circumstances because they are universally applicable.