In August 2022, while performing scheduled maintenance on two of the three single point moorings operated by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium’s Marine Terminal, SPM-1 and SPM-2, divers discovered cracks in subsea hose attachments to buoyancy tanks (a buoyancy tank is a hollow air-filled vessel designed to keep subsea hoses in a necessary configuration), CPC said in a statement.
According to CPC, there is no threat to the flora and fauna of the Black Sea and the integrity of the equipment remains intact.
A crack was found on a joining plate connecting some subsea hose piping on a buoyancy tank of SPM-1. Another crack was found on an identical joining plate on a buoyancy tank of SPM-2. A swivel joint was found to be displaced at the location of a crack.
Due to the damage discovered on subsea equipment, CPC immediately contacted the SPM manufacturer, IMODCO, and the organization that supervises safe operation of equipment, the ABS classification society, for consultations whether the equipment could continue to be operated, providing comprehensive information about the defects found.
Both strongly recommended that the operation of the SPMs should be suspended until the buoyancy tanks are replaced. The ABS, in particular, stressed that exceptionally adverse weather conditions were observed during the 2021-2022 winter season, which could have caused the damage discovered. As a reminder, it was the abnormal storms that caused the damage to several sections of floating hoses in March 2022.
The shareholders of the company were notified about the defects on the buoyancy tanks 1 and 2 on August 5 and 17 respectively. The CPC Marine Terminal is temporarily loading crude oil by using only SPM-3.
The use of the single SPM will allow of meeting shippers’ nominations with reduced volumes.
CPC takes an uncompromising position on environmental protection and industrial safety while operating its Marine Terminal in the Black Sea as well as prevention of oil spills.
‘We consider it necessary to stress that the above-mentioned damage did not lead to any incident or accident associated with oil spill. There is no threat to the public or the environment. The company has taken action to prevent any such risks on the equipment,’ CPC said.
CPC has developed a corresponding task order and intends to replace the tanks with new ones from inventory. A pre-qualification selection of bidders for the job is in progress.