Effective pipeline design and regular maintenance can assist in prolonging the lifespan of subsea pipelines, however the presence of marine vessels can significantly increase the risk of pipeline damage from anchor hazards. As noted in the Health and Safety Executive – Guideline for Pipeline Operators on Pipeline Anchor Hazards 2009. “Anchor hazards can pose a significant threat to pipeline integrity. The consequences of damage to a pipeline could include loss of life, injury, fire, explosion, loss of buoyancy around a vessel and major pollution”.
This paper will describe state of the art pipeline isolation tooling that enables safe modification of pressurised subsea pipelines. Double Block and Bleed (DBB) isolation tools have been utilised to greatly reduce downtime, increase safety and maximise unplanned maintenance, providing cost-effective solutions to the end user. High integrity isolation methods, in compliance with international subsea system intervention and isolation guidelines (IMCA D 044 / IMCA D 006), that enable piggable and unpiggable pipeline systems to be isolated before any breaking of containment, will also be explained.
This paper will discuss subsea pipeline damage scenarios and repair options available to ensure a safe isolation of the pipeline and contents in the event of an incident DNV GL type approved isolation technology enables the installation of a fail-safe, DBB isolation in the event of a midline defect.
The paper will conclude with case studies highlighting challenging subsea pipeline repair scenarios successfully executed, without depressurising the entire pipeline system, and in some cases without shutting down or interrupting production.