Scottish company ThinJack is celebrating successful completion of its first contract in Angola thanks to innovative, time and money saving technology.
The business is headed by Guy Bromby and Alastair MacDonald and is based at Arnhall Business Park, Westhill, Aberdeenshire. ThinJack employs five people at Westhill plus additional trained field technicians at its overseas bases at Melbourne in Australia, Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia and Luling in Louisiana, USA.
After 450 man hours organising visas, logistics and contracts with help from ThinJack staff, the local MP, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, the British Embassy in Angola and the Angolan Embassy in London, Guy Bromby recently travelled to Luanda to perform the company’s first ever assignment in Angola.
The revolutionary ThinJack technology was used to separate a seized 11” 5k flange on one of Angola’s most productive offshore oil wells which, at 25 years old, is still producing approximately 5,000 barrels per day.
The platform is operated by Sonangol and it is estimated that the use of ThinJack saved three days of lost production compared with using conventional methods such as cutting bolts and then tediously removing the remaining part of the studs from the bolt holes.
ThinJack is a hollow steel envelope made of two precision-cut grade 316 L steel plates, sealed and bonded by TIG welding. It is typically just 2mm thick and is routinely manufactured in radial form to address flanges listed in the AP16A specifications, such as the Angolan one, or can be custom designed to meet the needs of a specific job. Design and manufacture takes place after an initial site survey to ascertain dimensions and the forces required to separate the seized well flanges.
The ThinJack operates on the basis of the F=PxA (Force=Pressure x Area) formula and is inflated with up to 2,500 bar (36,250psi) of hydraulic pressure to exert a force of 1kg per cm for every bar of pressure. The result: hundreds of tonnes of force separate the well flange, overcoming the seizing effect of the rusted studs inside the bolt holes and sometimes the friction from seals on the tubing hanger neck.
Working in conjunction with the ThinJack is a matching set of ThinShims, used to fill any flange gap before initial pressurising of the ThinJacks and for preserving the gap created after pressurising. The third part of the system is ThinFlate, a high pressure energising and fluid distribution system specifically developed for ThinJack.
Guy Bromby said: “Some offshore platforms try to use the drill string and the draw works in a futile attempt to overcome hundreds of tonnes of force binding the seized well flanges together, believing that the drill string is infinitely powerful. Whilst the headline pull of the drill string may be hundreds of thousands of pounds, the connection to the seized flange is often rated to a lower order of magnitude, which significantly reduces the safe pulling power.
“Conversely, ThinJacks supply the highest possible levels of controlled force, precisely where it is needed. This enables the customer’s often recently refurbished and multi million dollar rig to continue drilling wells rather than separating seized flanges.”
Guy continued: “The Angola contract came about through a referral from an existing client in the North Sea and arranging the contract, logistics and visas took months of hard work, as this was our first experience of working there. However, we are pleased to have had the opportunity to provide our flange separation and consultancy services in this market and we are confident that this contract will be a stepping stone to further opportunities in Angola – indeed the client has already asked that the service is available for future use.”
For further information, visit www.thinjack.co.uk or call (01224) 330645.