Pipeline Repair Kit Ready in Gulf
It’s inevitable – hurricane season rattles and rolls through the Gulf Coast each June through November. Some years we escape with little activity, while others are unnerving. Now, thanks to some ingenuity, Williams is ready, whatever the season brings.
Our advantage: the Pipeline Emergency Repair Kit, or PERK.
Finalized in 2008, the PERK is equipped with supplies to make remote pipeline repairs at water depths of more than 8,500 feet.
“PERK works as an insurance policy,” says Russ of Williams’ Gulf operations team. “It’s ready to go when we need it, anytime during any incident.”
PERK is housed outside the danger zone in a 15,000-square-foot warehouse facility near Ragley, La. It includes a complete inventory of equipment needed for subsea pipeline repairs – even items that would normally take four months to a year to acquire.
During emergencies, having these items on hand is valuable to Williams and its customers.
The decision to create PERK evolved as a result of our company’s past experiences in the seldom-predictable conditions in the Gulf.
Beginning with Hurricane Ivan in 2004 – considered one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever – Williams experienced significant wind damage and flooding onshore and offshore.
“A number of employees lost homes in the Mobile, Ala., area, and our Devils Tower floating production platform sustained considerable topsides damage,” Russ says. “A drilling derrick dropped to the sea floor some 5,400 feet below.”
“Just when we thought things couldn’t get much worse, the 2005 season brought Katrina and Rita along with it,” Russ adds. “About 30 Williams employees and their families lost homes in the area. Midstream’s Cameron Meadows and Johnson Bayou processing trains and Transco’s adjacent Station 45 were also affected.”
Finally, in 2008, Hurricane Ike threatened Williams’ Larose processing plant in Louisiana, leaving an 18-inch offshore interconnecting pipeline mysteriously severed from a 30-inch gas transmission pipeline.
Though PERK was not around to help with any of these events, it has proven to be a significant asset during the past few years.
“PERK is much more than just for hurricanes,” Russ says. “Flow interruption and damage can occur anytime in a variety of different ways, including anchor drag, drilling units, foreign line, cable crossing or seismic events, which are more common in the Gulf Coast.”
PERK’s effectiveness is mainly associated with those operating it.
“PERK’s deepwater repair capabilities, combined with the skilled individuals who maintain and operate the equipment, provide Williams with a huge competitive advantage both to our company and our customers over the long haul,” Russ says.
“Think about it this way. If you are an oil and gas producer flowing 50,000-75,000 barrels of oil per day from the depths of the Gulf – given that oil is currently trading at around $100 per barrel – one of your main objectives is likely to be safe, reliable operations,” he adds.
With PERK on hand, Williams is able to reduce downtime for an incident by weeks – even months – which can make a significant difference to any company’s bottom line.
“PERK makes us more reliable,” Russ says. “It gives our customers ‘peace of mind’ as producers and pipeline operators like us go farther and deeper offshore in the Gulf to meet energy needs and – in many cases – to pull off some of the most technologically advanced projects ever seen in the energy industry.”