Clyde Union® Pumps Keep The Oil Flowing On Offshore Drilling Platform

One of the most rugged workplaces in the world is located nearly 200 miles off the Newfoundland coast on the Hibernia oil production platform. To ensure the oil keeps flowing, Stainless Foundry and Engineering (SF&E) recently worked with the pump manufacturer Clyde Union Canada Ltd., to upgrade the platform’s three centrifugal pumps.


A partnership of major oil companies jointly owns the Hibernia – one of the world’s largest offshore oil drilling platforms – which runs with a crew of 260 that rotates every three weeks with a replacement crew.


About the size of a small island, Mother Nature throws hardballs at the structure, including rogue waves, icebergs, muscular hurricanes, and nor’easters. Through these demanding conditions, the Hibernia crew has worked to pump over one billion barrels of oil from the ocean bed 250 feet below the platform over the past 25 years of operation.


Three centrifugal pumps, which were manufactured by Clyde Union Canada, play a crucial role on the Hibernia, drawing oil to the surface 24/7. These pumps have been serving the platform since its first day of operation in 1997.


Clyde Union, over its 140 years, has played an instrumental role in securing the vital energy resources relied upon worldwide. The business’ superior engineered-to-order pumping technology provides pumps, parts, and services to applications globally and is part of the Celeros Flow Technology family of brands. Among the many styles of pumps Clyde Union produces for various industries, it manufactures units conforming to the API 610 standard for the petroleum industry.


“SF&E and Clyde Union have maintained a productive relationship for over 25 years,” said Lori Balloch, Senior Buyer for Clyde Union Canada Ltd. “SF&E produces high quality pump parts to the specifications that Clyde Union pumps require, in addition to producing many heritage parts for Clyde Union’s aftermarket customers.”

SF&E holds Clyde Union Canada sand casting patterns for parts ranging from 150 pounds to 2,000 pounds as well as a range of investment casting tools for parts ranging from <10 pounds to 100 pounds.


The pumps on board the Hibernia have been operating since the platform’s commissioning with the help of periodic retrofits and modifications. Recently, the Woods Group, Hibernia’s maintenance contractor, determined that they needed to perform a major update to the drilling platform’s pumps.


“The pumps needed to meet current standards and document requirements for API 610 pumps,” said Geoff Toman, Project Manager for Clyde Union Canada Ltd. “With working conditions extremely rough on the Hibernia, the spec requirements are very high.”


For the requirements of this project, SF&E poured ingot duplex 4A stainless steel.


“The purpose of the alloy is to have the corrosion resistance of 300 series austenitic stainless steel, while having the mechanical properties of 400 series martensitic steel,” said Mitch McCaffery, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Stainless Foundry & Engineering. “These alloys are typically used in oil and gas and petrochemical applications due to their high resistance against corrosion and their ability to possess great strength.”


Given their longstanding partnership, much of the working processes were already in place for the Hibernia project. SF&E worked with Clyde Union Canada on the part design and, after parts were poured, machined the pump casings to exact specifications to achieve their goal of being a drop-in replacement.


The Clyde Union Canada engineering team appreciated the constant flow of communication with the SF&E staff at all levels. With details being crucial for this kind of project, SF&E updated Clyde Union regularly.


“I was pleased that the SF&E engineers and technicians made it easy to keep us informed,” said Shakil Ahmed, Director of Manufacturing Operations for Clyde Union Canada Ltd. “Thanks to the turnaround, the communications, and the weld maps we got from the SF&E team, our customer was satisfied with the project.”


Once the pump casing and covers had cleared SF&E’s rigorous  QA/QC procedures, they shipped the parts to Clyde Union Canada who needed to run their own set of tests before shipping to the Hibernia platform. There, its owners expect the operation to drill deeper into the Jeanne d’Arc Basin to produce oil past the year 2040 with the help of their revamped centrifugal pumps.


If you are dealing with a casting that needs to withstand rugged conditions, reach out to our expert team. We are here to help. 

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