The subsea production and transportation systems are expected to become more and more complex due to the challenges posed by future subsea fields. It is due to their characteristics and/or for the need of new development schemes allowing for cost reduction as the modularization approach, which consists in using basic function modules to connect and link each other as a sort of subsea Lego.

It is expected that the most challenging future subsea fields have to integrate in the development scheme subsea processing elements, thus increasing the number of subsea modules and the number of connections per module. This is due to the presence of active components and equipment that need maintenance and consequently require the use of vessels of opportunity that can manage only small modules easy retrievable and re-installable.

Consequently, it is expected that the new subsea production and processing systems will have completely different peculiarities with respect to the conventional production system. In particular, they will normally require an increased number of modules and relevant connections, with the necessity for these connection systems to be frequently operated during their life because of the retrieval activities for maintenance.

Saipem, during ongoing development activities relevant to the subsea processing systems for subsea water treatment and reinjection (SPRINGS) and for the subsea separation systems, have recognized the need to conceive new production and processing schemes and relevant subsea architectures. Moreover, considering that the currently market available connection systems does not allows for efficient, reliable and cost effective intervention procedures, Saipem decided to develop its own connection system conceived for module connection but that can be applied with significant benefits also in other scenarios like jumpers installation or pipeline repair.

This new connection system integrates a unique innovative telescopic joint with conventional clamp or collet connector to allow an efficient, compact and easy way to make-up subsea connections.

This paper compares the peculiarities and challenges of a complex subsea production and processing system with the conventional one, presents the connection system functional requirements and highlights the benefits of using the novel telescopic joint with respect to conventional connection systems currently available in the market.

The concept of the patented telescopic joint, its characteristics, the development status and Third Party qualification process are also presented.

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