Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20060201679 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/075,555
Publication dateSep 14, 2006
Filing dateMar 9, 2005
Priority dateMar 9, 2005
Publication number075555, 11075555, US 2006/0201679 A1, US 2006/201679 A1, US 20060201679 A1, US 20060201679A1, US 2006201679 A1, US 2006201679A1, US-A1-20060201679, US-A1-2006201679, US2006/0201679A1, US2006/201679A1, US20060201679 A1, US20060201679A1, US2006201679 A1, US2006201679A1
InventorsMichael Williams
Original AssigneeWilliams Michael R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Support member for subsea jumper installation, and methods of using same
US 20060201679 A1
Abstract
The present invention is directed to a support member for subsea jumper installation, and methods of using same. In one illustrative embodiment, the device includes a subsea jumper and at least one adjustable support member coupled between portions of the subsea jumper, the adjustable support member comprising at least one hydraulic cylinder, wherein a length of the adjustable support member may be adjusted by actuation of at least one hydraulic cylinder. A method of installing a subsea jumper is also disclosed which includes coupling at least one hydraulically adjustable support member between portions of the subsea jumper, lowering the at least one adjustable support member and the subsea jumper into a body of water and operatively coupling the subsea jumper to a plurality of subsea connections.
Images(9)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(42)
1. A device, comprising:
a subsea jumper; and
at least one adjustable support member coupled between portions of said subsea jumper, said adjustable support member comprising at least one hydraulic cylinder, wherein a length of said adjustable support member may be adjusted by actuation of said at least one hydraulic cylinder.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein said at least one adjustable support member is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper.
3. The device of claim 2, wherein said at least one adjustable support member is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper by a plurality of releasable, pinned connections.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein said at least one adjustable support member is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper by a plurality of ROV actuatable pins.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein said at least one adjustable support member comprises a support structure that is coupled to said at least one hydraulic cylinder.
6. The device of claim 5, wherein said support structure comprises a lattice-framework.
7. The device of claim 5, wherein said support structure comprises a plurality of modular sections that are releasably coupled to one another.
8. The device of claim 5, wherein said support structure comprises a tubular member.
9. The device of claim 1, wherein said at least one adjustable support member is releasably coupled between two upstanding legs of said subsea jumper.
10. The device of claim 1, wherein said at least one adjustable support member is releasably coupled between an outer leg of said subsea jumper and another portion of said subsea jumper.
11. The device of claim 1, wherein a plurality of said adjustable support members are releasably coupled to said subsea jumper.
12. The device of claim 1, wherein said length of said adjustable support member may be adjusted to increase or decrease a dimension between centerlines of a plurality of jumper connections provided on said subsea jumper.
13. The device of claim 1, wherein said length of said adjustable support member may be adjusted to reduce bending of said subsea jumper.
14. The device of claim 1, wherein said at least one adjustable support member is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper by a plurality of pin and socket connections.
15. The device of claim 1, wherein said at least one adjustable support member is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper by a plurality of pin-in-saddle connections.
16. A device, comprising:
a subsea jumper; and
a plurality of adjustable support members coupled to portions of said subsea jumper, each of said adjustable support members comprising at least one hydraulic cylinder, wherein a length of each of said adjustable support members may be adjusted by actuation of said at least one hydraulic cylinder.
17. The device of claim 16, wherein at least one of said plurality of adjustable support members is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper.
18. The device of claim 16, wherein each of said plurality of adjustable support members comprises a support structure that is coupled to said at least one hydraulic cylinder.
19. The device of claim 18, wherein said support structure comprises a lattice-framework.
20. The device of claim 18, wherein said support structure comprises a plurality of modular sections that are releasably coupled to one another.
21. The device of claim 18, wherein said support structure comprises a tubular member.
22. The device of claim 16, wherein at least one of said plurality of adjustable support members is releasably coupled between two upstanding legs of said subsea jumper.
23. The device of claim 16, wherein at least one of said plurality of adjustable support members is releasably coupled between an outer leg of said subsea jumper and another portion of said subsea jumper.
24. The device of claim 16, wherein said plurality of adjustable support members are releasably coupled to said subsea jumper.
25. A device, comprising:
a subsea jumper; and
at least one adjustable support member coupled between portions of said subsea jumper, said adjustable support member comprising at least one hydraulic cylinder and a modular support structure comprised of a plurality of modular sections that may be coupled/decoupled from one another, wherein a length of said adjustable support member may be adjusted by actuation of said at least one hydraulic cylinder.
26. The device of claim 25, wherein said at least one adjustable support member is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper.
27. The device of claim 25, wherein said modular sections are coupled to one another by a plurality of fasteners.
28. The device of claim 25, wherein said modular sections comprises a lattice-framework.
29. A device, comprising:
a subsea jumper having a plurality of upstanding legs extending vertically from a horizontal section of said subsea jumper; and
a lifting support member operatively coupled to said upstanding legs of said subsea jumper;
30. The device of claim 29, further comprising at least one vertical support member that is coupled to said lifting support member and said horizontal section of said subsea jumper.
31. The device of claim 29, wherein said vertical support member comprises a hydraulic cylinder operatively coupled to said lifting support member and said horizontal section of said subsea jumper.
32. The device of claim 29, wherein said vertical support member comprises at least one of a rigid support and a lifting sling.
33. The device of claim 29, wherein at least a portion of said lifting support member is positioned within a substantially U-shaped area defined by said upstanding legs and said horizontal section of said subsea jumper.
34. The device of claim 29, wherein the entirety of said support member is positioned within a substantially U-shaped area defined by said upstanding legs and said horizontal section of said subsea jumper.
35. The device of claim 29, wherein said lifting support member is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper.
36. The device of claim 29, wherein said lifting support member is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper by a plurality of releasable, pinned connections.
37. The device of claim 29, wherein said at least one vertical support member is releasably coupled to said subsea jumper by a plurality of ROV actuatable pins.
38. The device of claim 29, wherein said lifting support structure comprises a lattice-framework.
39. The device of claim 29, wherein said lifting support structure comprises a plurality of modular sections that are releasably coupled to one another.
40. The device of claim 29, wherein said lifting support structure comprises a tubular member.
41. The device of claim 29, wherein a longitudinal axis of said lifting support member is substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the said horizontal section.
42. The device of claim 41, wherein at least a portion of said lifting support member is positioned between said upstanding legs of said subsea jumper.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is generally directed to the field of subsea oil and gas production, and, more particularly, to a support member for subsea jumper installation, and methods of using same.

2. Description of the Related Art

Flowline jumpers are used in the field of subsea oil and gas production to provide fluid communication between two items of subsea equipment. For example, a flowline jumper may be used to connect the production outlet of a Christmas tree to the end of a subsea pipeline that terminates near the Christmas tree. Thus, a flowline jumper usually comprises a length of conduit and two fluid couplings or connections, one located at each end of the conduit, which are adapted to mate with corresponding hubs connected to the subsea equipment. To facilitate installing the flowline jumper from a surface vessel, the hubs connected to the subsea equipment are typically oriented vertically upward and the flowline jumper is constructed so that the conduit and the fluid couplings lie in a single plane with the fluid couplings oriented in the same direction. In this manner, the flowline jumper may be lowered vertically from the surface vessel and the fluid couplings on the subsea jumper are landed on the hubs.

One illustrative example of an installation technique for a subsea jumper 10 will now be described with reference to FIG. 1. As shown therein, the subsea jumper 10 comprises a plurality of jumper connections 12 that are adapted to mate or connect with a hub 13 of a subsea device 15, e.g., a manifold, a subsea pipeline, etc. As shown in FIG. 1, a spreader bar 14 and a plurality of slings 16 are coupled to the jumper 10. A bridle 18 comprised of a plurality of slings 20 is coupled to a line 22 from a crane (not shown). The size of the illustrative spreader bar 14 may vary depending upon the size of the subsea jumper 10 to be installed. Typically, a spreader bar 14 is a massive structure that may have a weight of approximately 20,000-40,000 pounds. As indicated in FIG. 1, depending upon the size of the jumper 10, the distance 24 between the bottom of the jumper 10 and the spreader bar 14 may be approximately 15-20 feet. The distance 26 between the spreader bar 14 and the crane line 22 may be on the order of approximately 60 feet.

As indicated previously, installation of a subsea jumper 10 using a large, heavy spreader bar 14 and rigging requires the use of large offshore installation vessels and cranes to achieve the required hook height and lifting capacity. Handling of one or more of these large spreader bars and the associated rigging, particularly in rough weather when vessel motions are significant, can be problematic. As indicated in FIG. 1, the jumper 10 is suspended below the spreader bar 14 by a number of slings 20. The rigging arrangement depicted in FIG. 1 typically requires a crane with a hook height on the order of approximately 100 feet or more which rules out the use of many types of offshore vessels. Additionally, the spreader bar 14 and the rigging must be stowed on the transportation vessel for delivery of the jumper 10 to the offshore installation vessel that has a lifting crane of sufficient size. The spreader bar 14 takes up significant space on the transport vessel, limiting the number of jumpers 10 that can be transported at a single time.

Using such a traditional method, when the jumper 10 is lifted off the transport vessel, particularly in rough weather, motion of the spreader bar 14 and its related rigging can be difficult to control. Moreover, even after the spreader bar 14 is positioned subsea, the ends of the spreader bar 14 may be positioned near other subsea equipment, such as subsea trees and manifolds, thereby creating a potential situation where the spreader bar 14 hits or damages such subsea equipment. Even after the jumper 10 is installed using the traditional method depicted in FIG. 1, landing the spreader bar 14 back onto the transport vessel can also be problematic due to its size and weight. The time and effort employed to recover the large spreader bar 14 and its associated rigging, and transporting such equipment back to shore further adds to the costs of subsea jumper installation.

The present invention is directed to various devices and methods for solving, or at least reducing the effects of, some or all of the aforementioned problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The following presents a simplified summary of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the invention. This summary is not an exhaustive overview of the invention. It is not intended to identify key or critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is discussed later.

The present invention is directed to a support member for subsea jumper installation, and methods of using same. In one illustrative embodiment, the present invention is directed to an adjustable support member employed in connection with the installation of subsea jumpers, and methods of using same. In one illustrative embodiment, the device comprises a subsea jumper and at least one adjustable support member coupled between portions of the subsea jumper, the adjustable support member comprising at least one hydraulic cylinder, wherein a length of the adjustable support member may be adjusted by actuation of the at least one hydraulic cylinder.

In another illustrative embodiment, the device comprises a subsea jumper and a plurality of adjustable support members coupled to portions of the subsea jumper, each of the adjustable support members comprising at least one hydraulic cylinder, wherein a length of each of the adjustable support members may be adjusted by actuation of the at least one hydraulic cylinder.

In yet another illustrative embodiment, the device comprises a subsea jumper and at least one adjustable support member coupled between portions of the subsea jumper, the adjustable support member comprising at least one hydraulic cylinder and a modular support structure comprised of a plurality of modular sections that may be coupled/decoupled from one another, wherein a length of the adjustable support member may be adjusted by actuation of the at least one hydraulic cylinder.

A method of installing a subsea jumper is also disclosed. In one illustrative embodiment, the method comprises coupling at least one hydraulically adjustable support member between portions of the subsea jumper, lowering at least one adjustable support member and the subsea jumper into a body of water and operatively coupling the subsea jumper to a plurality of subsea connections.

In another illustrative embodiment, the method comprises coupling a plurality of hydraulically adjustable support members between portions of the subsea jumper, lowering the plurality of adjustable support members and the subsea jumper into a body of water and operatively coupling the subsea jumper to a plurality of subsea connections.

In yet another illustrative embodiment, the method comprises assembling a hydraulically adjustable support member by coupling a plurality of modular sections to one another to form at least a portion of a modular support structure and operatively coupling at least one hydraulic cylinder to the modular support structure. The method further comprises coupling the hydraulically adjustable support member between portions of the subsea jumper, lowering the adjustable support member and the subsea jumper into a body of water and operatively coupling the subsea jumper to a plurality of subsea connections.

In yet another illustrative embodiment, the present invention is directed to a subsea jumper having a plurality of upstanding legs extending vertically from a horizontal section of the subsea jumper, and a lifting support member operatively coupled to said upstanding legs of the subsea jumper;

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 depicts an illustrative prior art subsea jumper installation apparatus and technique;

FIG. 2 depicts one illustrative embodiment of an adjustable support member for subsea jumper installation in accordance with one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 3 depicts another illustrative embodiment of an adjustable support member for a subsea jumper in accordance with one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 4 depicts yet another illustrative embodiment of an adjustable support member for a subsea jumper in accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 5 depicts one illustrative embodiment of how an adjustable support member of the present invention may be coupled to a subsea jumper;

FIG. 6 depicts another illustrative embodiment of how an adjustable support member of the present invention may be coupled to a subsea jumper;

FIG. 7 depicts another illustrative embodiment of a support member employed in subsea jumper installation; and

FIG. 8 depicts yet another illustrative embodiment of a support member employed in subsea jumper installation.

While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the description herein of specific embodiments is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described below. In the interest of clarity, not all features of an actual implementation are described in this specification. It will of course be appreciated that in the development of any such actual embodiment, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developers' specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which will vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.

The present invention will now be described with reference to the attached figures. The words and phrases used herein should be understood and interpreted to have a meaning consistent with the understanding of those words and phrases by those skilled in the relevant art. No special definition of a term or phrase, i.e., a definition that is different from the ordinary and customary meaning as understood by those skilled in the art, is intended to be implied by consistent usage of the term or phrase herein. To the extent that a term or phrase is intended to have a special meaning, i.e., a meaning other than that understood by skilled artisans, such a special definition will be expressly set forth in the specification in a definitional manner that directly and unequivocally provides the special definition for the term or phrase.

FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 depict illustrative embodiments of an adjustable support member 30 that may be employed in connection with the installation of a subsea jumper 10 in accordance with the present invention. As indicated in FIG. 2, the adjustable support member 30 may be releasably coupled to the subsea jumper 10 at a plurality of attachment areas 32, e.g., pad eyes. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, the adjustable support member 30 is comprised of a hydraulic cylinder 31 that is operatively coupled to a generally cylindrical structural member 33. Of course, the structural member 33 may be of any desired shape or configuration. Moreover, the adjustable support member 30 may be coupled to the subsea jumper in accordance with any of a variety of known techniques. In one illustrative embodiment, the adjustable support member 30 is releasably coupled to the subsea jumper 10. In other embodiments, the adjustable support member 30 may be fixedly coupled to the subsea jumper 10 and may remain attached to the subsea jumper 10 after the installation of the subsea jumper 10 is complete. Pressurized fluid may be supplied to the cylinder 31 via the schematically depicted fluid connection 31.

A bridle 34 comprised of a plurality of bridle slings 36 is releasably coupled to the subsea jumper 10 through a plurality of attachment mechanisms 32, e.g., pad eyes, in accordance with known techniques. These connections may be released by an ROV (remote operated vehicle) or by a diver. The bridle 34 is coupled to a crane line 38 that is operatively controlled by a crane (not shown) located on a surface vessel. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, through use of the adjustable support member 30, the total height 40 of the bridle rigging 34 and subsea jumper 10 may be on the order of approximately 40 feet. This is in contrast to traditional methods involving the use of a spreader bar 14 (as depicted in FIG. 1), where the total height from the bridle rigging 18 to the bottom of the subsea jumper 10 may be on the order of approximately 75-80 feet.

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3, the adjustable support member 30 comprises a hydraulic cylinder 31 and a lattice-type structural member 42. In one illustrative embodiment, the structural member 42 may be of modular construction in that various sections of the structural member 42 may be made of bolted modules coupled to one another by a plurality of fasteners, e.g., bolts 35, similar to lattice beam sections employed on large lifting cranes. If the structure member 42 comprises such modules, the modules may be added or removed to adjust the length of the adjustable support member 30. In this manner, one set of modules may be used to install subsea jumpers 10 that have a wide range of varying lengths. Currently, spreader bars 14 like that depicted in FIG. 1 are typically fabricated to match the length of a particular jumper 10 to be installed.

FIG. 4 depicts yet another illustrative embodiment of the adjustable support member 30 of the present invention wherein a plurality of hydraulic cylinders 31, 37 are operatively coupled to a structural member of the adjustable support member 30. In the depicted embodiment, the first hydraulic cylinder 31 is adapted to increase or decrease the length of the adjustable support member 30 in the direction indicated by the arrows 39, whereas the second hydraulic cylinder 37 is adapted to reduce bowing or bending of the subsea jumper 10 by increasing or decreasing the distance 41 between the jumper 10 and the adjustable support member 30.

FIGS. 5 and 6 depict illustrative embodiments of how the adjustable support member 30 may be releasably coupled to the subsea jumper 10. As depicted in FIG. 5, the adjustable support member 30 is releasably coupled to the subsea jumper 10 by a plurality of pin/socket arrangements. More specifically, the subsea jumper 10 may be provided with a plurality of socket-type attachment mechanisms 45 having an opening 47 extending therethrough. The adjustable support member 30 may have projections 51 formed thereon with openings 53 formed therein. In some cases, one of the projections 51 may constitute a portion of a hydraulic cylinder rod 55. Through operation of the hydraulic cylinder 31, the adjustable support member 30 may be positioned such that the projections 51 are resident within the socket mechanisms 45 on the jumper 10. Thereafter, ROV (remote operated vehicle) releasable pins 49 with a detent type of retainer, which are known in the art, may be employed to operatively couple the adjustable support member 30 to the subsea jumper 10 by positioning the pins 49 through the openings 45 and 53.

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 6, the adjustable support member 30 is operatively coupled to the subsea jumper 10 by a plurality of tab-in-saddle type connections. More specifically, the adjustable support member 30 is comprised of plate-type attachment clips 61 having openings 63 formed therein on each end of the adjustable support member 30. In some cases, one of the attachment clips 61 may be coupled to a hydraulic cylinder rod 55. The plate-type clips 61 are adapted to be received in saddle joints 65 that are welded to the subsea jumper 10. The saddle joints 65 have an opening 67 defined therethrough. In operation, the adjustable support member 30 is releasably secured to the subsea jumper 10 through use of the illustrative ROV pins 49 once the plate clips 61 are positioned in the saddle joints 65 and the pins 49 are positioned through the openings 67, 63.

In operation, the adjustable support member 30 of the present invention may be coupled to the subsea jumper 10 prior to positioning the subsea jumper/adjustable support member combination on a transport vessel for transport to the local installation site. Alternatively, the subsea jumper 10 and the adjustable support member 30 may be transported separately on the transport vessel and assembled at the worksite. In the case where the adjustable support member 30 is comprised of a module type structural members, such as the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3, the necessary modular components may be assembled such that the adjustable support member 30 is of the desired length for the particular subsea jumper 10 to be installed. Once the adjustable support member 30 is coupled to the subsea jumper 10, the hydraulic cylinder (or multiple cylinders depending upon the particular application) may be energized (via schematically depicted connection 31A) to effectively establish a rigid support beam between the attachment points on the subsea jumper 10. Thereafter, the bridle 34 and its associated slings 36 may be coupled to the subsea jumper 10 in accordance with known techniques.

Once the adjustable support member 30 is coupled to the subsea jumper 10, and that assembly is rigged for lifting by crane, the combined assembly may be lowered to the subsea installation site using a crane (not shown). During the lifting and transporting of this combined assembly to the subsea floor, the adjustable support member 30 provides the necessary structural support to maintain the subsea jumper 10 in the desired orientation and to reduce or limit undesired bending of the subsea jumper 10.

In addition to providing this structural support during the handling and installation of the subsea jumper 10, the adjustable support member 30 may also be employed to facilitate the coupling of the subsea jumper 10 to the various subsea devices 15. That is, if necessary, the length of the adjustable support member 30 may be increased or decreased to facilitate alignment of the jumper connections 12 with the hubs 13 of the subsea devices 15. In the illustrative embodiment depicted in FIG. 4, the first hydraulic cylinder 31 may be actuated to adjust the length of the adjustable support member 30 in the direction indicated by the arrows 39 to thereby increase or decrease the spacing between the centerlines 12A of the jumper connection 12. Additionally, the second hydraulic cylinder 37 may be actuated so as to increase or decrease the dimension 41 in an effort to reduce the bending or bowing of the jumper assembly 10. In practice, the various hydraulic cylinders depicted herein may be energized through use of an ROV containing a hydraulic fluid supply. Alternatively, the hydraulic cylinders employed herein may be operatively coupled to hydraulic lines that extend to a surface supply of pressurized hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic cylinders described herein may be dual acting hydraulic cylinders that are well known in the industry.

After the subsea jumper 10 is properly positioned and secured to the hub 13 of the subsea device 15, the adjustable support member 30 may be removed or disengaged from the subsea jumper 10 and returned to the surface for use in installing additional subsea jumpers 10. As indicated in the illustrative embodiment depicted herein, this releasable attachment may be accomplished through use of the ROV releasable pins 49. Additionally, in the depicted embodiments, the adjustable support member 30 is depicted as being positioned between the upstanding legs 10A of the subsea jumper 10 (see FIG. 2). In practice, the adjustable support member 30 described herein may be operatively coupled to the subsea jumper 10 at any desired location.

Moreover, a plurality of such adjustable support members 30 may be operatively coupled to a subsea jumper 10 if desired. For example, FIG. 2 depicts the illustrative situation where a plurality of additional adjustable support members 30A are operatively coupled to the subsea jumper 10 between the outer legs 10B of the subsea jumper 10 (connected to the jumper connection 12) and the upstanding legs 10A of the subsea jumper 10. So as not to obscure the present invention, the adjustable support members 30A are depicted in phantom in FIG. 2. In this particular embodiment, the use of the adjustable support members 30A in lieu of or in addition to the adjustable support member 30 depicted therein may be desired so as to provide greater flexibility in adjusting the location of the subsea jumper connections 12 relative to the subsea hubs 13 on the subsea devices 15. If employed, the adjustable support members 30A would be of similar construction as that described above with respect to the adjustable support member 30.

Although the present invention has been disclosed in the context where a prior art spreader bar 14 (see FIG. 1) is not employed in installing the subsea jumper 10, the present invention may be employed even in those situations where a spreader bar 14 is employed. That is, due to the unique characteristics of the present invention enabling the adjustment of various lengths and positions of the subsea jumper 10, the use of such an adjustable support member 30 may be desirable even in the case where the prior art spreader bar 14 is employed as depicted and described in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 7 and 8 depict another illustrative embodiment of the present invention. As depicted therein, the subsea jumper 10 has a generally U-shaped configuration as defined by the upstanding legs 10A and the horizontal section 10C. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a lifting support member 70 is coupled to the upstanding legs 10A of the subsea jumper 10 via illustrative pad eyes 32. One purpose of the lifting support member 70 is to facilitate installation of the jumper 10 on various subsea connections. For example, through use of the lifting support member 70, various installations forces or reactions, such as bending or bowing of the horizontal section 10C may be reduced or eliminated during the installation process. The illustrative lifting support member 70 depicted in FIGS. 7 and 8 does not employ a hydraulic cylinder that would allow length-wise extension of the support member in the direction indicated by the arrow 39. In the depicted embodiment, at least a protion of the lifting support member 70 is positioned between the upstanding legs 10C of the jumper 10, and a longitudinal axis of the lifting support member 70 is substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the horizontal section 10C. These comments apply equally as well to the adjustable support member 30 disclosed previously in the application. Also note that, in one illustrative embodiment, the upper surface 75 of the lifting support member 70 is positioned below the upper surface 77 of the upper horizontal legs 10D of the subsea jumper 10. Stated another way, the upper surface 75 of the lifting support member 70 is positioned below the uppermost extension of the upstanding legs 10A.

The lifting support member 70 may be of any desired size, shape or configuration. Any type of structural members may be employed to manufacture the lifting support member, e.g., pipe, structural tubing, I-beams, angle iron, etc. In the illustrative embodiment depicted in FIG. 7, the lifting support member 70 is a section of pipe. In the illustrative embodiment depicted in FIG. 8, the lifting support member 70 is a modular lattice-type structure member comprised of a plurality of modular sections that may be assembled to any desired length, as discussed previously with respect to the illustrative embodiment depicted in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIGS. 7 and 8 further schematically depict a plurality of schematically depicted vertical support members 71 that may be coupled to the lifting support member 70 and the horizontal section 10C of the jumper 10 to reduce or prevent sagging. The vertical support member 71 may be any type of device or structure capable of providing the desired support of the horizontal sections 10C. For example, the support 71 may be a chain or sling, a rigid support member, e.g., angle iron or pipe, or may be an adjustable hydraulic cylinder like the illustrative hydraulic cylinder 37 depicted in FIG. 4. Of course, the manner in which the vertical support member 71 is operatively coupled to the lifting support member 70 may vary depending upon the particular application. For example, if the vertical support members 71 are lifting slings, the slings may simply be positioned around portions of one or both of the lifting support member 70 and/or the horizontal section 10C of the jumper 10. Of course, the illustrative support members 71 may also be employed with the various embodiments of the adjustable support member 30 depicted in the earlier drawings.

The lifting support member 70 will typically be coupled to the subsea jumper 10 on a surface vessel. The subsea jumper 10 has a generally U-shaped configuration defined by the upstanding legs 10A. The support members 30, 70 disclosed herein may be positioned at least partially within the U-shaped section. In the illustrative embodiment depicted in FIGS. 2 and 7, the entirety of the support members 30, 70 are positioned within this U-shaped section. In the embodiments depicted in FIGS. 3, 4 and 8, at least a portion of the support members 30, 70 is positioned within this U-shaped region. Since the lifting support member 70 is positioned at least partially within the U-shaped section of the subsea jumper 10, the total hook height required for the combination of the lifting support member 70 and the subsea jumper 10 is less as compared to prior art lifting systems like the one depicted in FIG. 1. This reduction in hook height allows the use of smaller, less expensive cranes for performing the subsea jumper installation. The comments regarding reduction in hook height apply equally as well to the various embodiments of the adjustable support member 30 disclosed herein. Additionally, the lifting support member 70 as well as the vertical support member 71 may be releasably coupled to the various components depicted herein as described previously with respect to the embodiments shown in FIGS. 5 and 6.

The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. For example, the process steps set forth above may be performed in a different order. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown, other than as described in the claims below. It is therefore evident that the particular embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the protection sought herein is as set forth in the claims below.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7635239Aug 22, 2008Dec 22, 2009Oceaneering International, Inc.Subsea suction pile crane system
US7845882Nov 5, 2009Dec 7, 2010Oceaneering International Inc.Subsea suction pile crane system
US8141643 *Jul 30, 2007Mar 27, 2012Subsea 7 LimitedMethod and frame
US8327943Nov 12, 2009Dec 11, 2012Vetco Gray Inc.Wellhead isolation protection sleeve
US8376048 *Jan 7, 2009Feb 19, 2013Schlumberger Technology CorporationOffshore installation attachment system
US8382457 *Nov 10, 2008Feb 26, 2013Schlumberger Technology CorporationSubsea pumping system
US20100119380 *Nov 10, 2008May 13, 2010Schlumberger Technology CorporationSubsea pumping system
WO2009029527A1 *Aug 22, 2008Mar 5, 2009Oceaneering Int IncSubsea suction pile crane system
Classifications
U.S. Classification166/344, 166/347
International ClassificationE21B33/037, E21B33/064
Cooperative ClassificationE21B33/038, E21B33/047
European ClassificationE21B33/038, E21B33/047
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 9, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: FMC TECHNOLOGIES, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WILLIAMS, MICHAEL R.;REEL/FRAME:016373/0340
Effective date: 20050307