China’s deep trenching technology breaks world records

A multifunctional modular seabed trencher developed by a Chinese company recently completed the construction of 100 kilometers of pipelines under Bangladesh’s first marine pipeline project, setting two world records for directional drilling and deep trenching.

The trencher was independently developed by the state-owned China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co. Ltd. (CPP), which is a professional enterprise specializing in the construction of oil and gas storage and transportation infrastructure, under the umbrella of China National Petroleum Corporation.

(Photo / China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co. Ltd.)

According to CPP, the installation of the marine pipeline project in Bangladesh, one of the key projects of the Belt and Road Initiative, requires carrying out six directional drillings and reaching a buried depth of 11 meters to avoid commercial and naval waterways, making the difficulties unprecedented in the history of world marine engineering.

Normal trenching depth in the offshore industry is 1.5 meters to 3 meters below the seabed, and reaching 5 meters is already a challenging project for the industry. To cope with the technical difficulties, CPP has carried out independent innovation and improved trenching machinery to reach the maximum digging depth of 11.9 meters, mastered the underwater mooring technology of single-point mooring offshore to the millimeter and adopted the original technique which ensured 100% success in point drilling.

After the commissioning of the project, tankers over 100,000 DWT will no longer be able to dock to offload oil at ports in Bangladesh, CPP said.

As a major oil and gas storage and transportation project in Bangladesh under the Belt and Road Initiative, the project was initiated because Bangladesh is not able to handle large vessels carrying imported crude and finished oil due to weak navigability of a key river channel and limited facilities, at the main seaport of Chittagong, Xinhua News Agency reported.

In December 2016, Bangladesh entered into an agreement with CPP for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning for the installation of a single berth with 220 kilometers long twin pipelines, including the construction of a 146 kilometer offshore pipeline and a 74 kilometer long onshore pipeline to transport imported oil from the sea to a refinery in the Chittagong district. The project is expected to have an annual unloading capacity of 9 million tonnes.

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