Remote connector developed for 42-in. pipeline repair

The world's largest remotely operated emergency pipeline repair connector for the main 42-in. Europipe II export line is being developed jointly by Statoil and Morgrip (Hydratight Sweeney).

The world's largest remotely operated emergency pipeline repair connector for the main 42-in. Europipe II export line is being developed jointly by Statoil and Morgrip (Hydratight Sweeney). Europipe II is beyond the current limits of diverless welding technology, so a remote connector was the only feasible answer for repair scenarios. - Shown is the world's largest remotely operated emergency pipeline repair connector - a 42-in. Morgrip 3000R, which will be available for the Europipe II export line.

Morgrip developed a remote coupling for Statoil's Halten pipe project in August 1996, which was the world's first diverless subsea pipeline connection on unprepared pipe. Europipe II connector development is based on developing a lighter weight, more compact connector than the Halten pipe unit. This is vital to scaling up an emergency repair operation for the larger 42-in. pipe. The 42-in. connector is going through final testing, and Statoil is developing an installation frame for it.

The unit's high strength grip is provided by ball bearings being swaged into the pipe's outer surface with a metal graphite sealing system assuring pressure containment. In the event of a repair, two such connectors would be used to replace the damaged pipeline with a new section. Activation of the coupling is straightforward.

The connector incorporates a multi-stud tensioner. When activated, it causes the ball bearings to grip the pipe and the seals to energize. Once tightened, hydraulically driven nuts mechanically lock the system. Finally, an external pressure test is performed to check the joint integrity. The coupling can be easily removed and reused by reversing the installation sequence.

The new Morgrip 3000R couplings are DNV-approved for pressure ratings up to 2,500 lb. The company is also developing a diverless tie-in connector to complement the Morgrip 3000R range.

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