Breaking the Steel Tradition

700 tonnes of weight saved

An offshore BP Clair Ridge rig sporting fiberglass handrails

BP’s Clair Ridge platform is the second development phase of the Clair Field, the largest undeveloped hydrocarbon resource in the UK continental shelf.

BP worked with NOV to provide Bondstrand™ glass-reinforced epoxy (GRE) pipe, which is much lighter than metallic pipe and has superior corrosion-resistance properties. More than 26,247 ft (8000 m) of GRE pipe system were installed throughout the platform, reducing weight by up to 50%. Following this, almost 29,538 ft (9000 m) of phenolic fiberglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) grating were installed across the platform to further reduce weight.

An offshore BP Clair rig

BP’s Clair Ridge facility is the second development phase of the Clair Field.

The success of this phase prompted further weight-reduction solutions throughout the platform, with NOV suggesting a redesign of handrails as the next step. Approximately 2.6 miles (4.2 km) of the NORSOK-compliant MARRS® OFFSHORE handrail system, developed by engineers in NOV's Pipex px® group, were designed for the platform. In addition to meeting the required strength, toughness, and fire-resistance performance and safety standards for offshore oil and gas installations as dictated by NORSOK, the nature of phenolic FRP materials enabled weight reductions over standard steel railing systems.

A series of Pipex PX pipes

Composite pressure vessels were designed, qualified, fabricated, tested, and delivered to BP in an extremely short time frame.

With an extremely limited time frame, NOV also designed, qualified, fabricated, tested, and delivered 290 composite pressure vessels to BP. Two unique computer numerical control (CNC) machines, built from the ground up in a dedicated facility, assisted engineers in meeting the tight schedule by automatically performing various manufacturing-related tasks. More than 700 tonnes of weight were saved throughout the Clair Ridge platform as a result of installing the various composite systems, and BP was given confidence that the materials would not corrode for the entire life cycle of the development.

A graphic image comparing a seven hundred tonne weight to six blue whales

With Fiber Glass Systems' materials, BP Clair Ridge was able to shave off 700 tonnes of weight, equivalent to the weight of six blue whales.

The sheer scope of offshore structures has necessitated a change in how the industry thinks about weight control, with the issue being so critical that design philosophies around offshore engineering and construction have shifted. NOV brought together products from Pipex px, part of the Fiber Glass Systems business unit, and technical engineering services to develop a complete turnkey solution on BP’s Clair Ridge platform, proving that breaking tradition can lead to immense successes.


Bill Murphy

Vice President, Sales and Marketing

A photo of Bill Murphy, Vice President of Sales and Marketing in Fiber Glass Systems Pipex
Bill Murphy began his career with Pipex/NOV in 1987 as an unofficial apprentice. He completed his further education by day release, culminating in a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering. Over a 30-year time span, he has held a diverse range of positions and responsibilities in operations, sales, and leadership roles, and he has an extensive working knowledge of advanced composite and thermoplastic product design and manufacture. He is now the vice president of sales and marketing for NOV's Fiber Glass Systems business unit, specifically representing Pipex px™ throughout Europe, Russia, C.I.S., and Africa.

Grace Bull

Business Development and Customer Support Manager

An image of Grace Bull, Business Development and Customer Support Manager for Fiber Glass Systems

Grace Bull started her career with Pipex px™ in 2011 as an advanced business and administration apprentice supporting the company’s marketing team. She then became manager of the marketing team and was responsible for showcasing the company’s innovative design and manufacturing solutions through a range of traditional and digital sales and marketing techniques. Grace has taken leadership and management courses with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, combining these skills with her product and service knowledge to support global sales and business initiatives.