Thermoplastic Control Umbilicals, as shown in Figure 1, have been deployed subsea for decades globally. Typically, these have been installed in harsh dynamic environments such as the North Sea, very cold environments such as the North Atlantic and very warm environments such as the coastal waters of Middle East and Asia Pacific. The inherent fatigue and corrosion resistance of the functional components can offer significant operational advantages while umbilical make-up and manufacturing process can offer significant cost and schedule advantages.
As the industry has moved into deeper warmer water regions since the late 1990’s, such as the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa, some of the limitations of conventional thermoplastic umbilicals, such as inherent collapse resistance or design working pressures became barriers for the adoption of the technology.
In recent years there have been many new polymer materials developed that provide increased tenacity and temperature stability which subsequently have enabled an evolution in thermoplastic hose technology. This has facilitated the development of the next generation of high temperature, high pressure, collapse resistant hoses that can be deployed in deep water.
This paper defines the testing carried out on the constituent parts of the composite hose primarily focusing on the liner and details typical modes of degradation associated with high temperature, pressure or tension. The new material technologies will be benchmarked against conventional materials traditionally used in less aggressive environments.
This paper will detail the results of the development program aimed at optimising the hose design process and implementing the cutting edge materials in order to qualify a robust series of hose designs qualified to the stringent requirements of ISO 13628-5 .
The paper will also detail the development of the new termination coupling which has been developed in parallel with the next generation hose and which provides a reliable and robust method of coupling the hose to the subsea control system or joining two lengths of hose together.
The paper will conclude with a case study comparing a typical deep water installation of a steel tube umbilical with an equivalent thermoplastic umbilical, highlighting the benefits of the new thermoplastic umbilical designs.