Cabot Corporation's Aerogel (NYSE: CBT) business today announced that its patented and patent-pending Nanogel(R) aerogel Compression Pack(TM) product has been selected by Pipeline Technique, Ltd. (PTL) and Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC), to insulate a 39-km subsea pipeline in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline will be part of the Cascade-Chinook development project in Walker Ridge Block #425 of the Gulf of Mexico, operated by Petrobras America Inc, a subsidiary of Petrobras.
The project marks the second to be delivered from Cabot's new assembly facility, located in Billerica, MA. The 7,800-sq ft facility began production in April 2008 and has the capacity to produce up to 3,000 Compression Pack units per day, enough to insulate over 1,000-kilometers of pipeline per year.
The 9-inch in 14-inch pipe-in-pipe tieback will utilize Nanogel aerogel insulation in a J-lay application. The flowlines will be fabricated by PTL in their Mobile, AL, yard and installed by HMC's DVC Balder vessel in water depths ranging from 2440 to 2680 meters (8000-8800 feet). The Balder features a state-of-the-art J-lay tower with a hoisting capacity of 1,050 metric tons that can handle up to six 40-foot pipe joints at a time.
"Cabot is proud to support this important project to bring more Gulf of Mexico oil to the North American market, and we are pleased that our product was the one chosen for the task," said Bart Kalkstein, General Manager of Cabot Aerogel.
The Nanogel aerogel Compression Packs that will insulate the Chinook project pipe-in-pipe system consist of packs of compressed Nanogel with an integrated protective outer layer to provide durability and consistency of form. These packs are applied to sections of inner pipe, (80-foot double joints for this project), and then expanded to their precise final forms prior to insertion of the insulated inner pipes into outer pipes.
The ultra-low conductivity of Nanogel aerogel is a key enabler of the pipe-in-pipe system design, which has a low U-value of 0.22 BTU/hr.ft2· degrees F (1.25 W/m2·K) while maintaining a 14- inch outer jacket pipe. Additionally, the rugged design of the Nanogel Compression Pack packaging system makes it well-suited for pipe-in-pipe applications where weld slag, scale, and other factors can pose significant challenges or create delays for systems using less durable products.
Another feature of the Cabot Nanogel aerogel Compression Pack solution is the integrated indexing of each panel. This enables field personnel to install the insulation precisely without needs for special tools or equipment.
What is Nanogel(R) aerogel?
Sometimes called "frozen smoke", aerogel is the lightest and best insulating solid in the world. Nanogel, Cabot's branded aerogel, is a hydrophobic aerogel produced as particles. Each particle consists largely of air (~95%) contained in nano-sized pores that severely inhibit heat transfer through the material. Nanogel particles can be contained in various ways to facilitate incorporation into a wide range of systems including pipe-in-pipe systems, LNG & cryogenic gas transportation and storage systems, insulative coatings, daylighting panels, sporting equipment, clothing, and others. Cabot produces Nanogel in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility located near Frankfurt, Germany where it began commercial production in 2003.