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Waterjet Modifications Help Stop BP Oil Leak

Waterjet Modifications Help Stop BP Oil Leak

Water jet technology from Jet Edge Inc. and Chukar Waterjet Inc. played a key role in helping BP stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. The companies provided ultra-high-pressure waterjet equipment and application expertise to blast away hydrate ice crystals that had formed inside a containment cap at the spill site, clogging the containment system.

Jet Edge custom engineered a 36,000 psi waterjet intensifier pump that was dropped 5,000 feet into the Gulf to power a robot-operated, waterjetting lance that blasted away the hydrates. To ensure the hydrate remediation project's success, Jet Edge utilized advanced filtration and ultra-high-pressure seal technology capable of withstanding the harsh undersea environment. The system was designed to blast with sea water or liquid gas.

Waterjet Modifications Help Stop BP Oil Leak

Continental Hydraulics, in partnership with Jet Edge and Chukar Waterjet, modified its valve used in the system to help retrofit the system. The company's DO8 valve is used to operate Jet Edge's waterjet pump enabling the jet stream to blast away the hydrate crystals.

Kivisto provided onsite application and engineering services throughout the project, recently returning from several weeks aboard a boat just 50 yards away from the Discoverer Enterprise. He says the solution appears to be working and will continually be monitored.

"This application required additional modifications to the standard valve to prevent the ingress of sea water," says Jeff Brandt, general manager for Continental Hydraulics. "Internally, there were places on the valve that required different sealing properties at that sea depth (2,300 psi) to make sure we didn't get any water inside the valve and the hydraulic system."

From the valve point of view, the core tube that provided override pins on the solenoid had to be modified to eliminate the override pins. Engineers decided the pins could potentially cause the valve not to shift properly, or allow water to leak internally into the valve. Continental Hydraulics worked with its vendor, and they quickly responded to provide a product to retrofit the valve by eliminating the machining for the manual override pin. The pins are normally used to actuate the valve manually by pushing in the pin with a welding rod or screwdriver. It was a simple conversion but it had to be done quickly.

Jet Edge's custom-engineered waterjet intensifier pump was dropped into the sea to power a robot-operated waterjetting lance that eliminated the hydrates. Kivisto says this equipment is the first-known waterjet system capable of operating in water depths in excess of 5,000 feet, opening a new frontier for waterjet technology.

Chukar Waterjet provided onsite applications engineering services throughout the project, working with a subsea technology company, an offshore logistics and supply company, an offshore transportation company, BP and an independent safety group to ensure successful completion of the project.

Click here for more information and a video about the application.

Waterjet Modifications Help Stop BP Oil Leak
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