GOM Pipeline Decommissioning: LiquiGel Technology & Pipeline Cleaning Systems Minimize Abandonment Costs

Gulf of Mexico pipeline decommissioning activities have no return on investment for offshore operators. Technical approaches to execution drive current operators to embrace new applications that can minimize the project’s budget and schedule in a safe manner. This need is particularly valuable during our current economy where operators are initiating cost saving measures in regard to the full life-cycle of production assets.

Understanding this void, our team embraced this challenge and made considerable investments into R&D decommissioning solutions. Now, four years later, BlueFin’s successful development and deployment of LiquiGel pig systems – when coupled with our expertise in chemical application systems and water filtration knowledge – significantly decreases the amount of pipeline flushing time typically required for offshore decommissioning schedules.

A leading project manager and Technical Advisor for BlueFin’s pipeline and process operations, Barrett Broussard, stated that “routine seawater flushing and filtration services are normal components affiliated with federal pipeline decommissioning permits. Although these mechanical applications have successfully proved to abandon subsea pipelines via BSEE permits, these industry-accepted norms do not take into account poor market conditions.” Mr. Broussard further explained that such routine mechanical flushing procedures are sometimes schedule unfriendly due to the fact that “flushing seawater alone through an oil pipeline does not take into account a clear interface of fluids, the risks of using mechanical pigs, or solid particle build up on the inner pipe walls. On a regular basis, these factors can and do have negative consequences on reaching a successful static sheen test in a timely manner. Considering that operators also have marine vessels and other service vendors on these types of decommissioning campaigns, schedule extensions equal increased project costs. BlueFin’s pipeline cleaning systems provide de-oiling capabilities and the LiquiGel pig carries those oil solids out of the pipeline. This single incorporation of technology greatly reduces the volume of seawater flushing required, thus achieving a successful static sheen test earlier.”