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Cabot's Nanogel Selected to Insulate 50-Km Subsea Flowlines

Cabot Corporation's Aerogel business today announced that its patented and patent-pending Nanogel((R)) aerogel Compression Pack(TM) product has been selected by Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC), to insulate 50-km of subsea flowlines for the BP operated Block 31 NE - PVSM project located offshore Angola.

The project marks the third to be delivered from Cabot's year-old Compression Pack assembly facility, located in Billerica, MA. The 16,000-sq ft facility began production in April 2008 and has delivered 100-km of insulation for previous projects, including the Petrobras Chinook tieback which was also installed by HMC.

The current project includes eight pipe-in-pipe flowlines in both 10.75 x 14.75 inch and 12.75 x 16.75 inch configurations, all insulated with Cabot's Nanogel aerogel Compression Pack product. The flowlines will be installed by HMC's DVC Balder in water depths ranging from 1,800 to 2,000 meters (5,900-6600 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 delighted to be supporting HMC on another project and pleased that its Compression Pack system has been selected for this major development in Angola," said Bart Kalkstein, general manager of Cabot Aerogel.

The Nanogel aerogel Compression Packs that will insulate the Block 31 NE - PVSM project flowlines 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 integrated indexing of each panel enables field personnel to install the insulation quickly and precisely, without the need for special tools or equipment.

The ultra-low conductivity of Nanogel aerogel is a key enabler of the flowline designs, which have specified U-values of 1.50 W/m(2) K while maintaining relatively small outer jacket pipes. 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.

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.

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