The phone rings. You pick it up and a potential client asks you if your company can make something that no one has made before, to be used in conditions so extreme that no one has been able to make a product that can stand up to the challenge. Quick… what do you say? David Puddy of United Flexible’s UK subsidiary AmniTec said: “We’ll give it a try.”
This story begins on the opposite side of the world from David Puddy’s desk in AmniTec Limited’s manufacturing facility in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. The potential customer, Kutting UK was supplying large bore composite deep sea hose for the Jangkrik Complex oil and gas field between the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi in Indonesia. But Kutting could not supply a hose that could transport the corrosive drilling fluid at extreme depths without being eaten from the inside out and crushed from the outside in.
The Jangkrik Complex Development involves the joint development of the Jangkrik and Jangkrik North-East fields located within the Muara Bakau block, approximately 70km off the coast of Makassar Strait, Indonesia, at water depths of 200m-500m.
However, as Puddy explains, the supersaturated chloride solution the customer’s hose needed to transport “eats stainless steel hose for breakfast.” And while most hose has to contain internal pressure, every square inch of this particular hose had to resist up to 1,400 pounds of external pressure crushing it as it worked as deep as 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface.
Challenging? Yes. But AmniTec Limited specializes in providing high-performance flexible metal hose and composite hose products engineered for the transfer of fluids and gases in demanding environments. The United Flexible subsidiary has a long history of creating innovative flexible hose products for extreme applications. Its large bore composite offshore hose is used in oil production fields around the world while its small diameter metal hose is flying above the world in critical applications on the International Space Station.
Enter Inconel Expertise
It was AmniTec‘s expertise using the iron/nickel/chromium alloy Inconel in specialty hoses that led Kutting to call. While it is a challenge to manufacture making it as Puddy said: “darned expensive stuff,” its toughness, strength, and resistance to salt corrosion make it the material of choice to create a hose that can go where no hose has gone before!
Amnitec Limited’s UK facility is located in a historic industrial town. Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil cast the cannonballs for Admiral Nelson’s warships, the world’s first steam locomotive, and the rails that carried it and the thousands of trains that followed across England and the United States.
The forty-year-old AmniTec factory in this old industrial town makes an old product; strip wound metal hose has been around since 1885. And subsea hose is nothing new either. But when faced with the extreme requirements demanded by the Jangkrik job, AmniTec Limited came up with a cutting edge solution.
The Jangkrik project’s Phase One called for 3,000 meters of this high tech hose. Beginning in 2016, United Flexible will supply another 7,000 meters for Phase Two.
Opening New Fields, Opening New Markets
The extreme drilling and well conditions found in the Jangkrik oilfield made parts of this and other oilfields beyond the reach of current technology. AmniTec Limited’s willingness to take on a difficult project and come up with an innovative solution created the opportunity to open new markets for United Flexible. And it opens new areas of oil and gas production around our energy hungry world.
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