SBM Offshore wins OTC 2015 award for ARCA Chain Connector

SBM Offshore has been awarded a “Spotlight on New Technology” award at the 2015 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, for their ARCA chain connector, the company announced.

SBM Offshore is a Dutch-based group of companies with focus on floating production and mooring systems for the oil and gas industry that has been exhibiting at this years OTC. “Spotlight on New Technology Awards” is OTC’s exclusive program for exhibitors and it showcases the latest and most advanced technologies that are beneficial for the industry.

On this year’s OTC awards program, SBM’s Articulated Rod Connecting Arm (ARCA) chain connector was recognized as technology with improved functionality, enhanced safety features and with cost savings possibilities, the company says.

The company explains that ARCA is a design of chain connector attaching mooring lines to floating units. The ARCA technology is used for chain connectors to improve the integrity of mooring lines. The chain connector enables easier installation, inspection and repair of mooring lines. Placing the chain articulation in the mooring line allows them to be recovered for inspection and maintenance.

Benefits of ARCA technology

According to SBM, the features of the ARCA chain connector technology offer safety, CAPEX benefits, asset integrity and construction benefits.

Safety is improved as connection and disconnection of mooring chains on floating production units does not require the use divers.

SBM says that the ARCA can enable a significant cost reduction for turret mooring systems. As the articulations are removed from the turret chaintable, the turret diameter can potentially be reduced, allowing for optimisation and cost savings.

The placement of the articulations in the removable section of the connector, allowing them to be brought back to the surface for inspection and replacement if necessary, thereby improves the reliability of the system and reduces the probability of mooring leg failure, the company says.

Explaining the construction benefit of using ARCA technology, SBM says that during integration at the shipyard, only the guide tube of the ARCA is integrated into the turret chaintable, and does not protrude below the chaintable in the manner of a standard chainstopper. This removes restrictions on the clearance needed below the FPSO’s keel, when in dry dock or at quayside.

“Design life of mooring systems increases”

Accepting the Spotlight on New Technology award, SBM Offshore’s Technology Director Andrew Newport, who is responsible for the team which developed and qualified the ARCA, commented: “The technology will have a significant impact as it provides a solution to several industry concerns. It allows the inspection and change-out of the articulations that form a key element of chain connectors. This feature becomes fundamental as design life of mooring systems increases above 20 years, with systems now being designed for lives of 40 and 50 years. In addition ensuring the good condition of the articulations is a necessary prerequisite to avoiding Out-of-Plane Bending (OPB) fatigue failure of the chain links.”

SBM Offshore’s Group Technology Director Mike Wyllie added “We are delighted to be honored with this award, our fifth in five years, and we thank OTC for recognising SBM Offshore. We are particularly proud of the fact that the ARCA offers a significant safety advantage as a fully diverless system, yet also provides a significant cost reduction opportunity to the industry.”

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