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Vallourec successfully delivers full scope of line pipe products for LLOG’s Salamanca project

06/04/2024
Line Pipe

In 2022, Vallourec was chosen to provide line pipe to the Salamanca project, LLOG Exploration’s landmark deepwater development off the U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The Group’s Brazilian mills recently fulfilled the order, delivering 25,000 metric tons of premium quality line pipe within a year.


Built from a previously decommissioned production facility and based on a Floating Production Unit (FPU), LLOG Exploration’s Salamanca project represents a landmark development in the Gulf of Mexico. To operate in accordance with Section 232 of the United States Trade Expansion Act, LLOG looked to Vallourec to provide the full order. Vallourec delivered 170,000 feet of X70 heavy-wall pipe for in-field flowline and riser systems. To that tally, it added 365,000 feet of X65 pipes for oil export and gas export flowline and riser systems.


Along with Vallourec’s ability to meet Section 232 requirements, LLOG chose to partner with Vallourec for its pipes’ premium quality, which no other supplier in the region could match.

 

The confidence that LLOG has shown in us speaks volumes to the quality of the material we provide

Philippe Cyprès
North America Project Line Pipe Sales Director

 

We trusted Vallourec to safely manufacture and deliver this very large line pipe scope, including heavy wall thickness X70 grade, out of their state-of-the-art Brazilian mills with good quality and competitive lead time which was key to the success of our project execution plan”, says the Construction Project manager at LLOG.

Vallourec’s Jeceaba and Barreiro mills in Brazil benefit from a close time zone to the customer in the Gulf of Mexico. This proximity facilitated discussions between Vallourec line pipe specialists and LLOG representatives in Houston throughout the project.

Technical quality with a flexible approach

Vallourec’s entire production base in Minas Gerais, Brazil, was leveraged for manufacturing pipe for the Salamanca project, with its Jeceaba mill responsible for manufacturing, rolling, treating and finishing the line pipe products. Riser pipes subject to fatigue loading underwent pipe-end laser measurement and machining as well as very fine pipe-end calibration at Vallourec’s end-truing facility in Barreiro. This process involves measuring the pipe end and wall thickness using a laser, then using computer-numerical control equipment to machine the pipe, calibrating it for a very fine tolerance.


Infield flow line and riser pipeline are used in the field to transport oil and gas from the well to the FPU. These pipes have heavy and ultra-heavy walls, above 30 mm, and in X70 grade, representing one of Vallourec’s highest-end products in terms of the line pipe’s mechanical properties. The oil and gas export pipeline that will tie-in to the KC Connector (KCC) pipeline operated by Williams was also ordered in large quantities. This pushed the size of the total order to 25,000 metric tons.

Pipes will be installed by reel lay, one of the most demanding installation methodologies for subsea pipelines. In this process, long pipe segments are welded, tested and coated onshore and then spooled onto a large, vertically oriented pipe reel. Vallourec’s premium pipes are manufactured to withstand this laying method.


First production from the development is expected by May 2025 with a capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) and 40 million ft³ of natural gas per day.

Hitting targets in efficiency and quality

 

In addition to the solid technical properties of its pipes, Vallourec’s flexibility was of great importance to LLOG when choosing a supplier, particularly when it came to physical delivery. As the project progressed, Vallourec demonstrated its adaptability to accommodate the evolving needs of LLOG. This included ensuring timely delivery of a batch of pipes for early Welding Procedure Qualification Testing (WPQT) in the UK.


Salamanca was a top-priority project for Vallourec due to both its sheer size and logistical complexity working under Section 232 constraints. Successful delivery of the entirety of the order by the end of 2023 – Vallourec’s ambitious goal – required organization and preparation, including weekly meetings to ensure everything went smoothly. “There was a large amount of pipe to move between the mills in Brazil, on to the vessels, and then to the coating yards in Houston and Louisiana,” says Marcos Muniz, Line Pipe Project Manager. “Plus, at the port of Houston, some products had to go through the Foreign Trade Zone, thus increasing logistics complexity (such as truck loading rates).

Everyone worked together to ensure the logistics moved smoothly to meet the lead time requirements of LLOG.

Marcos Muniz
Line Pipe Project Manager

Despite a large volume of materials, multiple modes of transportation, and various logistical challenges, we delivered everything on time, and LLOG was very satisfied with the results,” Philippe says.


Moving forward, this project will play an important part in strengthening Vallourec’s position in the strategic Gulf of Mexico market, demonstrating the competitive abilities of its Brazilian base.