Subsea Umbilical – Risks & Opportunities for Gains & Losses


SCM Daleel - Admin

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Design and procurement of subsea umbilical have its own risks and opportunities, that not only translate in financial losses or gains but also may result in performance issues. Here is our list of areas that could be of value:

  • Design & Specs Generally, umbilicals are bespoke and designed to suit a particular project. Hence, the lead times are long and range anywhere from 6 months to 24 months. One of the key elements that play a big role in managing the lead-time is design tolerance. Very often engineering is gold-plated and would include unjustifiably high safety margins, which result in higher-grade materials requirements, prototyping and approval of manufacturing procedures. All of this results in longer lead times and higher prices for end-users.
  • Length of umbilical. Generally, shorter length umbilicals result in high prices due to reconfigurations costs for short production runs.
  • Transportation Carrousel. Carousel on which umbilical is transported may be a very expensive item, hence rental of the carousel for shipping and then returning may save a significant amount of cash for buyers.
  • Installation Vessel.  The design of umbilicals should incorporate installation vessel features or be standardized, so there is no restriction on which lay-vessel to use when it comes to vessel tensioners and laying equipment. This primarily relevant to deepwater applications.
  • Document Management. Standardizing technical and admin procedures is a significant opportunity area for reducing costs when done for multiple purchases from the same supplier.
  • Material Selection. Steel tube materials tend to be a significant issue, Super Duplex Stainless Steel ( Cr25) is the ideal material to be used for tubes. Yet, it is expensive and with long lead times. 316L Stainless Steel could be used in some applications, with shorter field life ( less than 5 years), less than 3000 psi pressure and static service. The advantage of using 316L steel is lower cost and faster delivery.
  • Welding. Welding of smaller diameter (1”- 4") super duplex tubes represent a challenge and have resulted in many delays and cost overruns.

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