Advanced Insulation wins its fourth Queen's Award
PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:39 03 May 2017
Gloucester-based Advanced Insulation is delighted to win its fourth Queen's Award, obtaining the 'Innovation' award for the second time in four years
As a global supplier of insulation, passive fire protection, buoyancy and cable protection systems, Advanced Insulation has been recognised for its syntactic silicone subsea insulation, named ContraTherm C25.
ContraTherm C25 is a subsea insulation system that provides flow assurance of the produced oil from the seabed to the rig above the surface of the water.
Pete Mellersh, Technical Support Specialist, who has worked for Advanced Insulation for 14 years, commented: “The business of keeping the oil flowing is called ‘flow assurance’. It is necessary to keep the produced oil warm, as it passes through a range of subsea equipment, because if the oil cools below a certain temperature it begins to solidify into waxes, hydrates and overtime the pipeline could become blocked.
“An oilfield looks like a small village when you look at the seabed. When extracted, oil comes out of the ground at about 200°C and, in comparison - sea water at about a mile deep is approximately, 4°C. If the hot oil was to hit the cold sea water, then the pipes would become chilled, the oil would thicken, pipes would fur up and the flow would reduce and the pipe potentially blocked - costing a vast amount of money. The insulation provided by ContraTherm C25 is all about keeping the oil flowing.”
Advanced Insulation identified a gap in the market for subsea insulation applications – where existing insulation systems are rigid, and are limited to the strains that they can be subjected to during load out and installation. ContraTherm C25 was developed to compliment the company’s rigid phenolic based insulation product, ContraTherm C55, for flexible applications, such as piping known as jumpers or umbilical lines.
ContraTherm C25 has been used by fifteen different oil companies and is in service on thirty-two oilfields. These include Total’s Kaombo field offshore Angola, ExxonMobil’s Erha North field offshore Nigeria, Chevron’s Jack St. Malo field in the Gulf of Mexico and BP’s Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea, offshore Azerbaijan.
Alastair Boyes Technical Support Engineer at Advanced Insulation commented: “We started development of the ContraTherm C25 system nearly five years ago with a set of very challenging requirements including, the required flexibility, tolerant application, 30-year life span and temperature rating above 150°C. Advanced Insulation are the only company to have engineered a solution to meet all of them!”
Andrew Bennion, Managing Director, added: “At Advanced Insulation, we acknowledge that research and development is essential to staying competitive in the global marketplace and invest up to 10% of revenue each year. This award recognises our ContraTherm C25 product, in which we invested over £5 million to bring it to market. We are always looking to innovate and improve our product range, and I believe this has been key to our growth and the continued recognition we have received from her Majesty over the last five years.”
In five years, company turnover has grown by 250%, with the product share growing to 20% of sales. Advanced Insulation products are qualified in a range of industries including oil and gas (offshore and onshore), LNG, industrial process plants, marine, nuclear and offshore wind.
Richard Graham, Conservative MP for Gloucester said, “Advanced Insulation is a wonderful example of an innovative, research and development led British manufacturer in the oil and gas sector. They have five times the number of employees as ten years ago and create jobs in the local supply chain. We need lots of Glosterpreneurs like Advanced Insulation for Global Britain to thrive.”
The company has won three previous Queens’ Awards, in International Trade and Innovation.