Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited is undertaking a multi-year design development and component prototype testing programme at a cost of €4 M to €5 M pounds sterling. The objective of the programme, known as the Esso Deepwater Integrated Production System (EDIPS) development programme is to ensure that Esso has the production technology available for commercial development of potential deepwater discoveries in the UK. The paper, after providing a brief overview of the total project, focuses on the description of innovative designs for the diverless maintenance of valves and control pods on subsea installations.

While diverless maintenance capability is a must in deep water, simple systems that can be deployed using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) can be cost effective in all water depths ranging from a few hundred to several thousand feet. This paper describes such ROV transportable systems being developed by Furness Underwater Engineering Limited and Wharton Williams Limited under contract to Esso. The work is being done under the technical stewardship and coordination of Esso's research affiliate, Exxon Production Research Company, and draws on Esso's prior expertise on diverless maintenance system design.

The objective of the work described is to develop detailed designs for the tool packages and undertake in-water prototype testing, if required, to gain confidence in the technology for commercial application. Cost effectiveness of the system is improved by the use of commercially available ROV systems and by designing the valve and pod replacement tool packages to handle a range of valve and pod sizes, respectively.

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