Two weeks ago, I attended the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston. Monday—traditionally the slowest day of the show—was quiet, especially as the rain was only starting to taper off in Houston after a weekend of steady rain. But things picked up Tuesday and while most fluid power exhibitors I spoke with said numbers were down from previous years, many did say the show had most appearances of being a success.
The key to success in a changing market like oil and gas, most agreed, is to evolve with it and develop products that could help the industry operate successfully in lean times. That’s why new product introductions at the show honed in on diagnostics and integrating technologies to increase efficiency and productivity.
For example, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions was highlighting a variety of technologies aimed at increasing efficiency while decreasing costs. The company was awarded E&P Magazine’s Special Meritorious Awards for Engineering Innovation (MEA) for its SealWelding Technology in the category of Marine Construction.
The SealWelding Technology is a way to repair large diameter—10 to 15 ft—seals, said Eric Bucci, Oil and Gas Americas Segment Manager for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. It allows seals to be welded on a FPSO platform, eliminating the need for it to disconnect and return to shore. Manufactured from Trelleborg’s well-established seal materials, this technology reduces the downtime and associated costs that come from maintaining an FPSO swivel stack.
“Now, you can fix the seal on site, and rebuild it. The ship will be operational in a week or so. This will save millions of dollars,” Bucci said. “It’s becoming a proven maintenance and overhaul option, revolutionizing offshore equipment.”
This is just one example from Trelleborg, which also featured an artist and think tank concept at the event to interact and engage with users to find out where they are in the industry. By discovering their needs and ideas at OTC, these users are helping to give a voice of industry while hopefully reducing costs. “Low barrel prices are transforming the industry. Eventually, the oil industry will emerge as a totally different monster,” Bucci said. “We are trying to capture that.”
Trelleborg was also highlighting its sealing materials for use with HFC (Water glycol hydraulic fluids), which have been tested and proven over 25 years to withstand the harsh environment HFC fluids are used in. Because of their high ignition temperature, they are being used more often. Trelleborg conducted “extensive testing on these materials to ensure they resist the wear of these fluids,” Bucci said. “They now have 25-year lives—a fit and forgot it service—that we can back up with real world data over the past 25 years of testing.”
Stay tuned for more product technology innovations from The Offshore Technology Conference and more in-depth looks at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions’ innovations.