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A unit of Williams' midstream energy business has successfully completed the testing phase on equipment it is developing to perform deepwater pipeline connections.
The company has patented the Deep Tap process, which uses remotely operated vehicles designed to interconnect gathering pipelines in water depths up to and beyond 8,000 feet.
Guy Suffridge, Williams' project developer, commented, "Deep Tap goes where divers cannot. Our prototype has been engineered, fabricated and tested. All the parts, pieces and procedures came together like they were supposed to during the integration test. Now we're ready to work offshore."
The systems integration test was administered in Houston during the past few months at the headquarters of Oceaneering International, Inc. one of Williams' partners. Other partners in the project dubbed Deep Tap include T.D. Williamson and Oil States HydroTech Systems, Inc.
The technology can be applied on pipes up to 20 inches in diameter, allowing pipeline operators, including Williams, to aggregate volumes and offer economies of scale to deepwater producers and associated gathering systems.
"Deepwater producers likely stand to gain the most from this technology," Suffridge explained. "Discoveries are often considered uneconomic when the reserves don't justify the expense of building dedicated infrastructure back to shallow-water facilities. Now, those reserves could become commercially viable because Deep Tap could tie the production to existing gathering lines in deepwater."
The first commercial application of Deep Tap is planned for a Williams 12-inch diameter gathering pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico this summer.