In South America, the recent fields discovered in the pre-salt area are located more than 300km away from the coast, which makes exploring and especially the transportation of associated gas a major challenge in the coming years. Several issues are related to this problem:
• distance to shore (more than 300 km) and ultra-deepwater (more than 2000 m);
• vessel time and capacity (reduced number of boats/offshore units with capacity to install pipelines in deepwater);
• increasing demand for these vessels worldwide;
• flaring restrictions in accordance with Brazilian National Petroleum Agency (ANP).
Deepwater pipelines have traditionally been built using very thick pipe walls, requiring large quantities of steel and special equipment for milling and pipe laying.
This paper presents an innovative gas transportation concept for long distance in ultra-deep waters (X-Stream Pipeline Concept). A way to potentially reduce the required wall thickness of deep water pipelines by controlling in the differential pressure across the pipe wall (and thus allowing for a reduction in the pipeline wall thickness).
This concept is also applicable in other deepwater exploratory frontiers, for instance: Gulf of Mexico and West Africa.