Subsea umbilical systems developed for deep offshore applications become more and more demanding regarding injection capacity, number of functionalities and water depth. Some applications, such as subsea boosting, subsea separation or gas lift are even more severe, leading to tube temperature, which can exceed, in some cases 70°C.
These operating conditions and requirements are significantly impacting the performance of the main umbilical. The most common solution, to avoid such issues, is to design thicker tubes to improve the strength of the umbilical cross section. The positive effect of the wall thickness increase has to be opposed to major drawbacks, such as weight increase and fatigue performance degradation generating more issues than providing solutions.
To face these challenges, Vallourec Umbilicals, with the technical support of TOTAL SA headquarter Technology Division, has developed a new manufacturing process for seam welded stainless steel tubes (SAF 2507), with higher mechanical properties and tighter wall thickness tolerances. The benefit of this innovation is to provide for a given application (i. e. pressure, water depth and temperature) thinner tubes able to meet severe operating conditions without impacting performances of the umbilical structure.
This paper, after a description of the manufacturing process and product qualification protocol (that led to a Type Approval Certificate from Bureau Veritas in October 2012), presents the technical advantages brought by seam welded solution, compared to seamless super duplex tubes.