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Exploration and production in the deeper waters of Brazil

As the Oil & Gas industry reaches new frontiers of exploration and production in the deeper waters of Brazil, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico, the challenges faced by the ropes used to lower subsea equipment are increasing. Lowering a load of up to 400 tonnes more than 4,000 metres to the sea bed from a moving platform requires a highly engineered rope.

Wire ropes used to lower these massive loads are made of hundreds of high strength steel wires helically twisted into strands, which are in turn twisted to form a rope. When a load is placed on the end of the rope, the rope’s wires exert a turning force as they elongate and straighten. This necessitates a complex multi-strand design in which alternate ropes strands are laid in opposing directions, enabling loads to be safely carried 4 kilometres below the surface of the sea.

In November 2012, Bridon opened a £30 million factory in the UK that will manufacture the largest and most complex ropes ever made, in package weights of up to 650 tonnes. Soon after, in February 2013, the company launched the Bridon Technology Centre, one of the world’s most advanced facilities for the development and testing of offshore ropes. These investments give Bridon the capacity to produce highly engineered ropes boasting enhanced breaking loads, optimised bend fatigue performance, effective lubrication, and minimal rotation under load - marking the company out as the global technology leader in the offshore rope market.

For operators working in some of the most challenging environments on earth, it is critical that installation and maintenance of these engineered performance ropes is carried out to the highest possible standard. To support customers in achieving this, Bridon has significantly developed its global service offering, investing in purpose built testing equipment to evaluate ropes’ suitability for use in the most punishing conditions they might be exposed to: assessing their strength under extreme loads; their resistance to the strains of frequent bending; the degree to which they rotate when carrying heavy weights; and their response to repeated layering on smaller, more economical spools.

Jeferson Leite, South America Sales Director for Bridon International, said:

“Following the launch of Bridon Neptune Quay and the Bridon Technology Centre, Bridon now operates the world’s most advanced rope development and manufacturing facilities – enabling us to produce the largest and most complex ropes ever made and giving us an unrivalled offer to offshore operators working in some of the deepest, most challenging environments on earth”.