23 February 2012

Stork launches industry-first hot bolt clamp technology

Stork has launched an industry-first hot bolt clamp system that enables the safe removal and replacement of corroded bolts on live flanged connections that have eight bolts or less.

The system has been extensively field-tested and was successfully utilised by Stork operatives for a recent project on a Chevron North Sea Limited operated asset in the North Sea.

Fraser Coull, operations support director for Stork, said: “Corroded and substandard bolts can seriously impact on an asset’s integrity and lead to hydrocarbon releases. Our innovative hot bolt clamp system provides a safe, efficient and cost-effective method of rectifying this issue which can be delivered outwith a traditional shutdown period.”

The system hydraulically clamps pressurised bolted pipeline flanges together so that corroded stud bolts can be safely removed without exerting additional force to the gaskets. Once all of the bolts have been replaced, the hot bolt clamps are de-pressurised and removed. Change out of the bolts is achieved without taking the flanges out of operation, disruption to the standard line pressure or danger of hydrocarbon release.

The hot bolt clamp system removes the potentially time consuming activity from planned or unplanned shutdown programmes; thereby reducing downtime and minimising personnel required on-board when bed space is at a premium.

Most importantly, the clamp system improves the safety for offshore operatives and the asset as a whole by reducing the likelihood of hydrocarbon releases which can have a devastating impact offshore.

Coull continued: “We constantly strive to improve the safety and quality of our service delivery through innovation and the hot bolt clamp system is an excellent example of this. The system will deliver significant benefits to our customers and our recent project success with Chevron has led to wider interest from across the industry.”