Platelet™ technology is a new and novel method of sealing and locating leaks in pressurised pipelines. It is based on the remote injection of small mechanical objects into the line. These are then conveyed to the leak site by fluid forces and once there act in such a way so as to form a seal, thereby stemming the flow through the leak. Platelets™ also have the capacity to enable leak location by the use of tracers added to the platelets™ prior to injection.

This paper describes the first ever deployment of platelet™ technology in the field. The application took place in a 10" water injection line in BP's Foinaven Field, West of Shetland during the autumn of 2004. The outstanding success of this operation rested on the detailed preparatory work which encompassed flow loop testing, hazard analysis, numerical and analytical modeling, materials analysis and pressure vessel testing. Crucially the number of platelets™ used was sufficiently small so that any threat to the reservoir was deemed to be negligible.

As this was the first use of platelet™ technology in field conditions, the deployment of the platelets™ was undertaken during dye injection so that progress could be monitored by ROV. Sudden and complete cessation of the dye stream from the leak confirmed that a seal had been effected. A pressure fall-off test immediately after the platelet™ operation showed a significant improvement over the previous test conducted before the operation. The seal allowed BP to increase water injection from 141,000 to 154,000 bbl/day with an immediate affect on reservoir production.

The outstanding success of the operation has introduced a new tool to provide a means of rapid top-side response to further failure in winter months when sub-sea intervention and DSV availability is less than certain.

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