Global oil and gas consumption is rising and the need for reliable, cost-efficient energy production is growing. But many of the easier to access oil and gas plays have already been developed.

Increasing demand means the industry must explore and produce hydrocarbons from ever more difficult locations. That means greater depths with higher pressures. Meeting these new challenges requires equipment that’s lighter, stronger, and able to resist corrosion in the most demanding environments.

Umbilicals are a critical component in subsea systems and must be strong enough to overcome these advanced challenges. They carry power, fluids, and communications between topsides facilities and the subsea infrastructure.

Pioneering and leading umbilical steel tubing since the 1990s

For 30 years, Alleima has pioneered and led the market in advancing subsea umbilical steel tubing through SAF 2507. This highly reliable super-duplex (austenitic ferritic) stainless steel set the standard for the absolute best in materials technology and reliability for subsea umbilicals. The sale of more than 525 million meters to date confirms its quality and popularity.

But as projects have become bigger, with longer tiebacks, deeper wells, and pressures pushing to 20ksi, umbilicals have become longer, and tubing walls have had to become thicker. That increases weight, requirements for strengthening materials, welding challenges, and overall project costs.

To answer these problems, the industry needed a new, strong but lighter-weight umbilical solution, with thinner walls so using less material. A solution that, if possible, would have an even better fatigue life than SAF™ 2507 while also handling the highest pressures, reducing reel sizes, and lowering installation costs. It was time for Alleima to move forward with the next advance in our duplex evolution.

SAF™ 3007 – the next generation in super-duplex material for umbilicals

SAF™ 3007 is the result of eight years of research and development and represents the next step for umbilical tubing. We aimed to build on the performance of SAF™ 2507, which meant going back to the chemical composition and fine-tuning it. As a result, SAF™ 3007 features additional chromium at 30%, reduced molybdenum at 1% and, for the first time, we have introduced tungsten at 3.4% to our duplex family of tube alloys. The inclusion of tungsten in favor of molybdenum maintains corrosion resistance after welding. Combined into one advanced material, these properties are ideal for both static & dynamic umbilicals in challenging subsea conditions.

Initial test results for SAF™ 3007 tubing show yield strength is at least 13% higher than for SAF™ 2507 due mainly to the addition of extra nitrogen, while the corrosion and welding properties are similar for both materials. The extra strength of SAF™ 3007 allows thinner walls, lower weight, and easier installation.

SAF™ 3007 isn’t restricted to deep water applications. Thinner walls reduce weight and materials for all subsea stainless steel umbilicals, including umbilicals for lower pressure, shallow water systems too.

When we advance, so do our partners

We introduced SAF™ 3007 at the Subsea Tieback Forum and Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas, in February. Visitors to our booth were excited to find out more about the alloy and identified future projects that would benefit from using it.

The event was well attended and provided the opportunity for us to connect with many old customers while meeting lots of new people, showing them how we are advancing materials technology. Subsea Tieback is one of the main events in the global subsea sector, where visitors can keep up to date with new technologies and industry trends. It was the right location to launch such an important product that will move the industry forward.

SAF™ 3007 will enable the development of more high-pressure subsea systems. It’s preparing the industry for the future. While the widespread development of 20ksi systems may be a few years away, it will happen. In the meantime, there are many 15ksi systems in design today that could enjoy measurable performance and opex benefits from adopting our new material.

SAF™ 3007 will reduce the overall weight of the offshore umbilical. By doing so, our latest alloy will provide a pathway to new opportunities and further advances in the global subsea industry.