Subsea reeled-tubing systems

Subsea coiled/reeled-tubing systems are similar to subsea wireline systems in that they also involve the use of subsea pressure-control equipment (including a lubricator), attached directly to the top of the subsea tree, while the reel is mounted on the intervention vessel.

The configuration of a subsea reeled-tubing system is very similar to that for a subsea wireline system, and in fact one system could be configured to be able to handle both reeled tubing and wireline operations.

A typical subsea reeled-tubing system consists of the following major components: a tree connector; a lower lubricator assembly, consisting of a series of various blind/shear and pipe BOPs for pressure control of the well in the event of an emergency disconnect; an upper lubricator assembly, consisting of a connector, crossover spool (to accommodate the length of the various downhole tools), tubing ram BOP, tubing stuffing box (to retain well pressure), injector assembly (to control movement of the tubing in and out of the well), tubing stripper (to prevent seawater entering the injector assembly), tubing cutter/crimper (to cut and crimp the tubing in an emergency disconnect situation) and a flexible tubing guide (to ensure the tubing is not accidentally crimped at the point where it enters the injection assembly); a surface-mounted tubing reel; a control system, similar to a WOCS as described in A.11.2.3, for controlling the subsea tree and downhole safety valves as well as all the valves and functions contained within the subsea reeled-tubing equipment; a handling system, for deployment and retrieval of the subsea equipment (usually with guidewires); a supporting ROV spread, for observation and operation manual overrides, etc., as required.

Unlike a subsea wireline system, which requires motion compensation of the wire in order to maintain accurate depth control of the downhole tools, the reeled-tubing system controls the depth of the tools using the subsea injector assembly and therefore this control is decoupled from the motion of the intervention vessel, i.e. motion compensation of the tubing is not required.

Source: API RP 17A, Design and Operation of Subsea Production Systems—General Requirements and Recommendations, Fourth Edition, Reaffirmed 2011. Global Standards


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