Stainless connectors speed offshore hook-up

Stainless-steel connectors from Hawke International are being used by BP to facilitate the offshore hook-up of the BP Clair deck to drilling and accommodation modules. Hawke supplied over 200 BASEEFA certified ATEX IP66 EExd IIC T5 connectors made in grade 316 stainless steel, a material proven to withstand the affects of the harshest environments. Until this new development, the Clair reservoir’s difficult geology of fractured sandstone meant the costs of recovery made the field unviable. However, a review by Mustang Engineering revealed that Phase 1 of the field could be made an economic proposition. This could be achieved by applying best North Sea practices and Gulf of Mexico packaging methods. The Clair project reviewed the scope of work involved in making the cable connections required to connect modules to deck once the heavy lift vessel had completed installation. Traditionally, topside modules are hard-wired and spliced using terminal boxes and long cable runs. This work is normally done offshore by large teams of electricians. The project sought an alternative approach using robust hazardous area connectors. Wellhead Electrical of Aberdeen was asked to produce a specification for the connector. This called for connectors suitable for both control and power cabling and fit for purpose over the 25-year design life of the platform. The Hawke connectors were assembled onto the cabling, tested and certified. As a result of using these connectors, most of the cable connections in the offshore hook-up became simply "plug-and-operate" – saving a great deal of time.

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