Title of Invention

"SYSTEM FOR TRANSFERRING A FLUID PRODUCT"

Abstract System for transferring a fluid product, in particular a liquefied natural gas, comprising a very long transport vessel and an installation receiving or supplying this product of the type comprising a mooring berth (5) for the vessel, which comprises a structure resting on the seabed comprising one upper part emerging from the water, such as an offshore structure, particularly in the form of a column, a boom (8) supporting transfer pipework (10) fitted on the structure"s part above the surface (5), which rotates around a vertical axis, a collapsible transfer device (11) suspended by one end at one end of the boom and connected to its pipework (10), whereas the other end comprises means of connection to the vessel"s manifold device (15) and means for mooring the vessel to the emergent structure, with the transfer device (10), which is collapsible between a stored state and a deployed state being movable between a storage position and a position for connection to the manifold of the vessel in which it is deployed, with the end of the boom in its transfer position being situated near the manifold, characterised in that it comprises a mooring device for the vessel extending between one of its ends and a mooring point linked to the emergent structure (5) and which can rotate freely around this structure"s central axis in such a manner that the vessel can turn according to the wind, the current and the waves with its end being kept close to mooring point, in that, in order to allow a transfer of the fluid product between a very long vessel, such as a methane tanker, whose manifold is placed in the centre of the vessel, the boom (8) is a very long boom such that its end may be placed by the manifold of such a vessel when it is moored to the emergent structure, and in that the collapsible transfer device (11) is movable between the storage position and it position for connection to the vessel"s manifold, by pivoting around a vertical axis provided level with its mounting on the boom and in that in its transfer position the boom can rotate freely around the aforesaid vertical axis, with the pivoting of the transfer device and the tree rotation of the boom in its transfer position constituting the means for avoiding torsion strain in the boom. FIG. I
Full Text The present invention relates to system for transferring a fluid product. The invention relates to a system for transfer of a fluid product, particularly a liquefied
natural gas, between a transport vehicle such as a ship and an installation for receving this
product or supplying the ship with this product, of the type which has a device for transferring the product between the ship and the installation that is supported at one end by a support structure and whose other end can be connected to a manifold device of the vehicle.
Known transfer systems of this type for the transfer of liquefied natural gas are not suitable for use under severe environmental conditions.
The present invention aims to offer a system that eliminates the above-mentioned disadvantage of known systems.
To attain this aim, the transfer system according to the invention is characterized by the fact that the support structure has a carrier boom for a rigid transfer pipe that is mounted on the mooring post, rotating around a vertical axis above the transport vehicle, and a deformable transfer device one end of which is connected to the fixed pipe, while the other end can be moved between a storage position near the boom and a position of connection to the manifold device of the ship.
According to one characteristic of the invention, the deformable transfer device is connected to the fixed transfer pipe at the free end of the boom, and the connection of the deformable transfer device to the fixed transfer pipe forms the means by which the deformable transfer device is suspended from the boom.
According to another characteristic of the invention, the mooring post is of the single mooring point type, and the vehicle can turn freely about the mooring post in order to orient itself in the direction of the elements (swell, wind, current).
According to another characteristic of the invention, the boom is carried along by the ship by the intermediary of the deformable transfer device when this device is connected to the manifold device of the ship.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, when the deformable transfer device is not connected to the manifold device, the boom is free to orient itself in the direction of the wind in order to resist storms under survival conditions.
* [Editor's note: Several obvious errors in the original have been corrected, and editor's notes have been added to draw attention to the changes.]
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, some suitable braking means hi the boom rotational system are provided in order to avoid an excessive number of small movements.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the boom and deformable transfer device 11 are configured such that the resultant of the stresses exerted on the boom passes through its neutral axis so that the boom is subjected only to simple bending.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the deformable transfer device is realized to produce a filtering of the ship movements so that small movements of the ship around its average position do not generate sufficient lateral stress to lead to rotation of the boom, and the device is thus capable of absorbing the high frequency movements and avoiding stress peaks.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the deformable transfer device is stored under the boom while oriented parallel to the axis of the latter, and is connected to the fixed pipe by a rotating joint that makes possible a rotation into a position perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of ship during establishment of a connection to the manifold device of the ship.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the deformable transfer device has, at its free end, a device for connection to the manifold device of the ship.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the connection device and the manifold device of the ship have means for centering during the dynamic connection of the transfer device to the manifold device.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the deformable transfer device has a number of pairs of transfer arms, the free ends of the inner arms are connected to a shared part connected to the fixed pipe by the aforementioned rotating joint, and each outer arm carries a connector.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the deformable transfer device has at least one pair of tubular arms which are articulated to one another, namely an inner arm connected to the fixed pipe and an outer arm that carries a connector at its free end.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the deformable transfer device has at least one cryogenic hose that is connected to an end of the fixed transfer pipe and whose other end carries a connecting device.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the cryogenic hose hi its storage position is suspended under the boom at its end that carries the connector and extends in the manner of a chain.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, some means in the form of a stand-off arm are associated with the cryogenic hose for maintaining a predetermined separation between the ship and the boom during the transfer of fluid and/or a predetermined radius of curvature of the hose in the intermediate phases of connection/disconnection.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the means in the form of a standoff arm are connected to the manifold device of the ship during a transfer of fluid.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the deformable transfer device has a number of cryogenic hoses joined at their ends that are connected to the fixed pipe, and each of which carries a connector at its free end.
According to yet another characteristic of the invention, the stand-off arm means are suspended under the boom by a connecting component such as a cable or a connecting rod in such a way as to form a balance beam that ensures that a predetermined distance between the ship and the boom is maintained during a transfer of fluid and that reduces or cancels the stresses exerted on the connectors or manifolds during establishment of a connection and during transfer.
The invention will be better understood, and other aims, characteristics, details and advantages of it will appear more clearly in the following explanatory description given with reference to the appended diagrammatic drawings, given only as examples, illustrating several embodiments of the invention, and in which:
- Figure 1 is an oblique view of a system for transfer of a fluid according to the invention;
- Figure 2 is a diagrammatic top view of the system according to Figure 1;
- Figure 3 A is a view, partially cut-away, on a larger scale, in the direction of arrow III
of Figure 2, and illustrates a first embodiment of a deformable transfer device, in its storage
position under the support boom;
- Figure 3 B shows the transfer device according to Figure 3 A in its position of
connection to the manifold of the ship;
- Figure 3 C is a partial view in the direction of arrow III of Figure 3 B;
- Each of Figures 3 D to I illustrates an essential step in the process of connection of the
transfer device according to Figure 3 A to the manifold of the ship.
- Figure 4 A is a view in the direction of arrow III [A] of Figure 2 of a second
embodiment of the deformable transfer device according to the invention, in its storage position
under the boom;
- Figure 4 B shows the transfer pipe device according to Figure 4 A in its position of
connection to the ship;
- Figure 4 C is a view in the direction of arrow IV C of Figure 4 B;
- Figure 4 D is a view in the direction of arrow IV D of Figure 4 B;
- Figure 4 E is a partial view in the direction of arrow IV E of Figure 4 D;
- Each of Figures 4 F to 4 L illustrates a phase in the process of connection of the transfer
device according to Figure 4 A to the ship;
- Each of Figures 4 M to 4 P illustrates a step in the process of disconnection of the
transfer device according to Figure 4 A from the ship;
- Figures 5 A and 5 B are views similar to -the views 4 B and 4 C of another version of
realization of the transfer device according to Figure 4 A;
- Figure 6 A is a diagrammatic view of a third embodiment of the deformable transfer
device according to the invention, in its position of connection to the ship;
- Figures 6 B and 6 C, respectively, are views in the directions of arrows VIB and VI C
of Figure 6 A;
- Figure 7 is a view similar to that of Figure 6 A of a variant of realization of the transfer
pipe device according to this figure;
- Figure 8 A is a view in the direction of arrow III A of Figure 2 of another embodiment
of the transfer pipe device according to the invention;
- Figure 8 B illustrates the transfer pipe device according to Figure 8 A in an intermediate
position during its connection to the ship.
- Figure 8 C shows the transfer pipe device according to Figure 8 A in its position of
connection to the manifold of the ship;
- Figures 9 A to 9 C are diagrammatic views for illustrating the process in which the
boom is carried along by the ship.
Figure 1 illustrates by way of example a system 1 for transfer of a fluid, in the example a liquefied natural gas (LNG), between transport ship 2 and an installation, for example, a fixed installation for which only submerged cryogenic transfer lines 3 are represented. The transfer system essentially entails mooring post 5, for example, at a coastal site open to the sea, if applicable an off-shore site, in the form of a column that rests at 6 on the ocean bottom, and a long horizontal boom 8 mounted on upper emerging part 9 of post 5 to be rotatable around its vertical axis well above ship 2, as well as a deformable tubular device for the transfer of fluid 11, which is connected at one end, indicated by 12, to fixed pipe 10 that extends along boom 8 and through the mooring post in order to be connected to submerged lines 3 by the intermediary of a rotating fluid joint with a vertical axis. The other end 13 of the deformable transfer device can be moved between a storage position at 14 under boom 8 and a position of connection to manifold device 15 of ship 2 located near the longitudinal center of this ship, as in the case of standard liquid natural gas tankers.
Ship 2 is moored by mooring cable 17 to single mooring point 18 of ring 19 which rotates freely around the axis of the mooring post in the form of column 5, cable 17 being attached at front part 20 of the ship.
Figure 1 moreover shows that boom 8 is in addition suspended by support cables 22 from part 23 at the summit of rotating mooring column 9. The static equilibrium of the boom can be obtained by means of counterweight 7 at the end of the "counter" part of the boom that is supported, like the boom, by cables 22; that is to say, the arm of the boom opposite that carrying
the transfer device. All this generally has the advantageous effect of not imparting any fixed end moment to the device for guiding boom 8 in rotation about a vertical axis, which would otherwise appear because of its large overhang.
Boom 8 is motorized so that it can be maneuvered, but it is capable of rotating freely, which allows it to orient itself in the direction of the wind in the storage position. In transfer configuration, it follows ship 2 in its changes of average position that depend in particular on the direction of the wind, of the current, and of the waves. During a transfer of liquefied natural gas between ship 2 and the fixed installation, boom 8 is carried along by the ship via the intermediary of deformable transfer device 11. By making the resultant of the stresses exerted on the boom pass through the neutral axis of the boom, the boom is subjected only to simple bending stress and not to torsional stress. As will be described hereafter, deformable transfer device 11 is realized in such a way as to produce a filtering of the movements of the ship. The small movements of the latter around its average position do not generate sufficient lateral stress to lead to rotation of the boom. Only the changes of average position of the ship lead to rotation. The device "absorbs" the small movements of the ship. Furthermore, the device is capable of absorbing the stress peaks.
With reference to Figure 9, the principle of entrainment of the boom, constituting an important characteristic of the invention, will be described. This figure diagrammatically shows a counterweight, such as counterweight 108 for example, at the end of stand-off arm 103 according to Figure 7, suspended from the end of a cable such as cable 68 of this figure, under the end of boom 8. The suspension is done at the site of the neutral axis. When there is a relative lateral movement between the stand-off arm, and thus the counterweight, with respect to the boom, the counterweight, because of its weight P, induces at the site of suspension from the boom by cable 68 a force T that resolves into vertical component P and horizontal component F. In the hypothetical case of negligible friction during rotation of the boom, force component F will move the boom to the point at which this component becomes zero, as seen in Figure 9 C.
A first embodiment of fluid transfer device 11 according to the invention will now be described with reference to Figures 3 A to 3 I. According to this embodiment, the device has three pairs of articulated arms, which are connected in parallel to fixed pipe 10 supported by boom 8, each pair having inner arm 25 and outer arm 26. The two arms are connected to one another by articulation 28 of the type with two rotating joints with perpendicular axes, thus forming a universal joint. The upper end of each inner arm 25 is connected by rotating joint 29 to a limb of E-shaped part 30, whose base is connected by rotating joint 31 to fixed pipe 10. The axes of rotation of the two joints 29 and 31 are perpendicular. The free end of each outer arm 26 carries connector 33 allowing connection of the arm to manifold 15 of the ship. The connector is joined to the arm by means of two rotating joints 35 with perpendicular axes. Rigidly associated
with the connector is centering rod 36, popularly called a "spindle," which is configured to be received in complementary centering funnel 37 which, in the embodiment which is represented, is part of connecting module 38 intended to be interposed, or integral with the ship, between manifold 15 of the ship and connector 33 of outer transfer arm 26. Connecting module 38 carries, for each arm, winch 39 around which a cable 40 will be wound that passes through funnel 37 and is attached at the end of centering spindle 36. The module is also provided with a device for support on the manifold platform of the ship.
Connecting module 38 which, as seen in the figures, constitutes an extension of the manifolds of the ship, is stored on either the ship or the transfer system. In the latter case, in order for it to be positioned on the manifolds during fluid transfer, the module will be transported to the ship by a service vehicle, for example, or be lowered by a winch from the end of the boom onto the ship.
It should also be noted that, according to the explanations given on the subject of the entrainment of the boom during a fluid transfer, the masses are as much as possible brought to the bottom of the inner arm. In order to find an optimum, it will be possible to provide a counterweight at this location as indicated at 41 in Figure 3 B. In order to avoid excessively increasing the counterweight in order to counteract the possible effects of an unfavorable wind, it will be possible to provide the counter-boom with flaps or panels (not represented) that can be adjusted or concealed during transfer for the purpose of balancing the wind loads on the boom and counter-boom (a system neutral with respect to the general axis of vertical rotation).
The means making it possible to maneuver deformable transfer device 11 essentially comprise maneuvering cable 42 which can be wound around winch 43 mounted under boom 8, and whose free end is attached to transfer device 11 at the site of joint 28 between the two arms. This control makes it possible to lower the two arms in their position folded on one another. Another maneuvering cable 45 is provided for unfolding the two arms, it being windable on or unwindable from winch 46 mounted high on inner arm 25, and its other end being attached at 47 to arm 26 near the free end of the latter. The winches can be controlled, in particular remote-controlled, in any appropriate known manner. The rotation of transfer device 11 formed by the three pairs of arms can be controlled, for example, by means of a hydraulic actuator or hydraulic motor, which is not represented. This rotation can also be affected by winching from a service ship.
The process for connection of transfer device 11 to manifolds 15 of ship 2 will be described hereafter with reference to Figures 3 D to 3 G. In the resting state or hi survival conditions, the device is stored in the folded state under boom 8, maneuvering cables 42 and 45 being wound, respectively, on winches 43 and 46. To make a fluid transfer, transfer device 11 is first lowered by unwinding cable 42 from winch 43. The device then pivots around joints 29,
according to Figure 3 D, until it is in its essentially vertical position. Device 11 is then rotated around joint 31 by an angle of 90° into the position represented in Figure 3 E, wherein the axes of rotation of joints 29 are oriented essentially parallel to the neutral axis.* Unwinding cable 45 from winch 46 allows arms 25 and 26 to unfold, as seen in Figure 3 F, to the position illustrated in Figure 3 G. Then, after connecting module 38 has been previously mounted or integrated to manifold device 15 of the ship, if applicable, cable 40 attached to the end of the tip of spindle 36 is connected to winch 39 of the connecting module. Given that the cable passes through funnel 37 of the module, by winding the cable on the winch, necessarily brings connector 33 to its module connection position, brought about by funnel 37 receiving centering rod 36 even in "dynamic" [mode].
Figures 3 H and 3 I illustrate the process for disconnection of transfer device 11 from connecting module 38, this module remaining on the ship or being brought in any appropriate manner to the transfer system. Unwinding cable 40 from winch 39 enables the separation of connector 33 from the module to the point that cable 40 is unwound and falls in the water. During this disconnection phase (survival or emergency phase), a set torque value for separation of boom 8 from the ship will be given to the system for hydraulic maneuvering of boom 8. Then the folding of arm 26 on arm 25 of deformable transfer device 11; is effected by actuating winch 46, and rotation of the latter around its joint 31 and rising of the folded device to its storage position according to Figure 3 A is effected by winding cable 42 on winch 43.
A second embodiment of the fluid transfer system according to the invention will be described hereafter with reference to Figures 4 A to 4 P. This embodiment has the particularity, with respect to the embodiment just described, that the deformable transfer device has cryogenic hoses bearing the reference 50. As seen in Figures 4 A to 4 E, the device represented as an example has three hoses 50, mounted in parallel, that are connected to an end of an E-shaped part of the type of part 30 and are connected to fixed pipe 10 by the intermediary of two rotating joints 31 with perpendicular axes. The cryogenic hoses could be hoses such as those as developed, for example, by the company Cpflexip Stena Offshore. The other end of each cryogenic hose carries connector 33, which is provided with a centering rod called a "spindle" 36, and which is intended for mounting on manifold device 15 of the ship, if applicable, via the intermediary of connecting module 38.
Each connector 33 is suspended by a cable 56 which can be wound on winch 57 that is mounted on support cross piece 59, which is itself attached on an arm in the form of a bar 60 that is intended for maintenance of a minimum separation between the ship and boom 8. In effect, when the transfer hoses are arranged in the manner of chains between the end of boom 8 and
* [Editor's note: In the original, all references to angular degrees were mistakenly written as "°C."]
manifolds 15 as in the present case, the horizontal-components of the tensions tend to bring the boom toward the ship. Furthermore, bar 60 participates in putting boom 8 in rotation according to the principle described in the preceding. This bar carries, at its opposite end from that carrying cross piece 59, another cross piece 61 whose exterior longitudinal surface carries projecting elements 63 delimiting between one another three V-shaped seats 64, each intended to receive a hose 50. At each end, cross piece 61 has projecting lateral iugs 65 for keeping the hoses near their seat 64. Stand-off bar 60 is suspended st its front end by cable 67 and at its rear end by two cables 68 from transverse beam 70 that also carries E-shaped part 30 to which the three hoses are connected, each cable 68 extending between an end of beam 70 and an end of crosspiece 61. Each hose is moreover provided, in the part situated between cross piece 61 and part 70, with spacers 72. It is also observed that the front end of stand-off bar 60 carries spindle 74 that is mounted to pivot on 2 ball joint (three rotations) and is intended to cooperate with complementary funnel 75 mounted on connecting module 38, by means of cable 76 that can be wound up on a winch 77 also provided on the connecting module. Of course, this module carries winches for winding the cables for engagement and for maintaining the spindles of connectors 33 in their associated funnel, as in the case of the first embodiment.
Transfer device 11 formed by the set of hoses 50 can be maneuvered by means of two maneuvering cables attached to the front and rear ends of stand-off arm 60, namely front cable 80 that can be wound on winch 81 mounted under boom 8, and two cables 83 that can be wound on two winches 84 also arranged under the boom, the two winches 81 and 84 being separated from one another in the longitudinal direction of the boom. It is also important to note that arm 60 can be provided, at its rear end, with counterweight 86 according to the same principle as in the preceding. It is also possible to provide each hose 50 with curvature stiffeners 87 and 88 at, respectively, its upper end and at its intermediate curved part 88 [sic] intended to butt against cross piece 61 when the hoses are connected to the manifolds of the ship, as seen in Figure 4 B. It should be noted that depending on the nature and the characteristics of the hoses, they can be used instead of cables 68 as a structural link between beam 70 and cross piece 61, a device for fastening the cross piece to the hoses being provided in that case (not represented).
Figures 4 F to 4 L illustrate the process of connecting hoses 50 to manifold 15 of ship 2. In their rest position, as seen in Figure 4 A, stand-off bar 61 is held under boom 8 by cables 80 and 83 which are completely wound on their winches 81 and 84. The bar extends parallel to the boom. The hoses are suspended in the manner of chains.
In order to connect the hoses to the manifold of a ship, maneuvering cables 80 and 83 are unwound, as seen in Figures 4 F and 4 G. It can be seen that the curvature of the exterior part of the hoses is limited due to the fact that the hoses butt against cross piece 61 while being engaged in seats 64 provided for this purpose. The engagement ensures a well defined position of the
hoses during the rest of the connecting process and during the period of transfer and of later disconnection. Device 11, that is to say, the set of three hoses is then rotated by an angle of 90°, by means of rotating joint 31 or two superposed joints, to the position represented in Figure 4 H in which the hoses extend perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the ship. As seen in Figure 4 I, device 11 of hoses 50 is pulled, using cable 76 interconnected between the tip of spindle 74 associated with bar 60 and winch 77, towards the connecting module mounted beforehand on manifold 15 of the ship. The engagement of spindle 74 in funnel 75 ensures the correct positioning of transfer device 11. Then suspension cables 56 of connectors 33 of the hoses are unwound from their respective winches 57 and, as described on the occasion of the first embodiment of the transfer device, the connection between the hoses and the connecting modules is ensured. It is observed that bar 61, by being connected to an end of the ship and by holding the hoses at its other end, ensures a suitable separation between the boom and the ship .
According to Figures 4 M and 4 P, disconnection of the hoses takes place in a manner that is the reverse of the connection process just described: first of all by disconnecting the hoses from the connecting modules, then by winding suspension cables 56 of the connectors of the hoses on their winch 57 (Figure 4 M), then by disconnecting stand-off bar 60, effecting a rotation, and finally raising this bar by winding maneuvering cables 80 and 83 on their respective winches 81 and 84.
Figures 5 A and 5 B illustrate a variant of the embodiment represented in Figures 4 A to 4 P. This variant relates to the execution of the stand-off arm, which now has the general shape of a rectangle, bearing the general reference 90, formed by two longitudinal bars 91 interconnected at the center and at their front and rear ends by respective cross pieces 92, 93 and 94, the cross pieces 93 and 94 respectively fulfilling the functions of cross pieces 59 and 61 of the embodiment according to Figures 4 A to 4 P. Hoses 50 now butt directly against rear cross piece 94, and bars 90 and 91 extend beyond cross piece 94 by part 95, bent towards the outside, which can be provided at its free end with counterweight 96.
Figures 6 A to 6 C illustrate another variant of the arrangement for supporting and holding the hoses which has the particularity that stand-off arm 98 is associated with each hose 50, each arm being formed essentially by two longitudinal bars 99 relatively close together and interconnected at the ends and in the middle by cross pieces 100. Each hose is engaged between the two bars 99 of its arm 98. Arm 98 is connected to the end of a hose by a hose end/stand-off arm ball joint connection. The rear end of each bar carries counterweight 101. As seen in Figure 6 B, each arm 99 is suspended from the transverse carrier beam of the shared E-shaped part, to
* [Editor's note: In the original there is the redundant phrase "is completely assured" at the end of this sentence.]
which the cables are connected, by front cable 67 and rear cable 68 extending, in the state of connection of the hoses to the ship, in front of the hoses.
Figure 7 illustrates another variant of execution of the transfer hose device, according to which the separation between ship 2 and boom 8 is maintained by bar 103 without intermediate support for hoses 50, and which is suspended under the boom as in the preceding by cables 67 and 68. The rear end of arm 103 carries counterweight 108. In this embodiment version, hoses 50 extend freely, in the manner of a chain, between rotating beam 106 and the front end of stand-off arm 103.
Figures 8 A to 8 C illustrate a version of execution of the transfer device 11, which is distinguished from the device according to Figure 7 essentially by the fact that the points of connection of hoses 50 and of support cables 68 of the stand-off arm are situated at the two ends of arm 110, which is rotatably mounted under boom 8 by means of rotating joint 31 or two superposed rotating joints. As shown in Figure 8 A, this arm 110 is oriented parallel to the axis of the boom when the transfer device occupies its rest position under the boom, arm 103 then also extending parallel to it.
It is observed that the suspension by cable 68 of arms 103 near its middle zone and the counterweight ensure a stable state of equilibrium and moreover make it possible to reduce the maneuvering stresses during connection to the manifolds of the ship, and the stresses on the manifolds or the manifold extensions. Of course, this effect is also produced in a more or less pronounced way in the other embodiments.
It emerges from the description of the invention that the invention offers a transfer system that, while having a simple structure is completely suitable for operation under severe environmental conditions. Thanks to the use of a boom, it can be of the type with a single mooring point while being applicable to ships whose manifolds extend perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the ship and in its middle (standard liquid natural gas tankers). Of course, these manifolds need not be arranged in the central part of the ship, as in the case which is represented. It should be noted that the transfer system according to the invention can be realized in the form of an off-shore station.
Of course, numerous modifications can be made to the embodiments described and represented without departing from the scope of the invention. Thus, the support of the boom could be installed on a floating support, such as a floating unit for storage or production of liquefied natural gas. In the preceding description, the LNG transfer lines alone were described. It is also possible, of course, to provide a circuit for the return of gas in the form of vapor. In this case, it will be advantageous to use rotating multi-passage fluid joints of the coaxial type in the axis of rotation of the boom in the mooring column. The same is true for joint 31 for connecting the deformable transfer device to the rigid pipe. Concerning joint 31, 360° rotation not being necessary, either rotating single-passage joints on the same axis, or hoses could advantageously be used. Such joints are known, and need not be described here.
In the embodiments described and represented, the deformable transfer devices are connected to the manifold device from below. It would of course be possible to provide transfer devices that are connected to the manifold from above, that is to say, by lowering. In this case, it is sufficient to make the connectors of the transfer device open, if applicable, towards the bottom and the connectors of the manifold device open towards the top, vertically, the spindle and the funnel extending correspondingly, parallel to the axes of the connectors.
In order to give some indications as to the dimensions of the system according to the invention, only as an example, the boom could advantageously have a length between 200 and 220 meters, and its height above the level of the water could be on the order of 50 meters.
It should be noted that an essential characteristic of the invention lies in the fact that during the sensitive phases of connection/disconnection of the deformable transfer device, a single cable executes the functions of support/hoisting of the mobile end of this deformable system and of guiding, in particular laterally. This single cable is arranged along the axis of the main movements of the ship (heaving).










WE CLAIM:
1. System for transferring a fluid product, in particular a liquefied natural gas, comprising a very long transport vessel and an installation receiving or supplying this product of the type comprising a mooring berth (5) for the vessel, which comprises a structure resting on the seabed comprising one upper part emerging from the water, such as an offshore structure, particularly in the form of a column, a boom (8) supporting transfer pipework (10) fitted on the structure's part above the surface (5), which rotates around a vertical axis, a collapsible transfer device (11) suspended by one end at one end of the boom and connected to its pipework (10), whereas the other end comprises means of connection to the vessel's manifold device (15) and means for mooring the vessel to the emergent structure, with the transfer device (10), which is collapsible between a stored state and a deployed state being movable between a storage position and a position for connection to the manifold of the vessel in which it is deployed, with the end of the boom in its transfer position being situated near the manifold, characterised in that it comprises a mooring device for the vessel extending between one of its ends and a mooring point linked to the emergent structure (5) and which can rotate freely around this structure's central axis in such a manner that the vessel can turn according to the wind, the current and the waves with its end being kept close to mooring point, in that, in order to allow a transfer of the fluid product between a very long vessel, such as a methane tanker, whose manifold is placed in the centre of the vessel, the boom (8) is a very long boom such that its end may be placed by the manifold of such a vessel when it is moored to the emergent structure, and in that the collapsible transfer device (II) is movable between the storage position and it position for connection to the vessel's manifold, by pivoting around a vertical axis provided level with its mounting on the boom and in that in its transfer position the boom can rotate freely around the aforesaid vertical
axis, with the pivoting of the transfer device and the tree rotation of the boom in its transfer position constituting the means for avoiding torsion strain in the boom.
2. Transfer system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the collapsible transfer device (11) is connected to the transfer pipework (10) at the free end of the boom (8) and in that the connection of the collapsible transfer device (11) to the fixed transfer pipework (10) forms the means by which the collapsible transfer device (11) is suspended beneath the boom (8).
3. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims 1 or 2, wherein the boom (8) may turn freely around the mooring berth to lie in the direction of the wind and to be carried along by the vessel through the medium of the collapsible transfer device (11) when this device is connected to the manifold device (15) of the vessel for a fluid transfer.
4. Transfer system as claimed in claim 3, wherein the boom (8) and the collapsible transfer device (11) are configured in such a manner that the result of the stresses acting on the boom (8) passes through its neutral axis in such a manner that the very long boom is only stressed by simple flexing.
5. Transfer system as claimed in claim 4. wherein the collapsible transfer device (11) is produced so as to bring about a filtering of the movements of the vessel so that the small movements of the vessel around its average position do not give rise to a lateral stress sufficient to involve the rotation of the boom and the device is therefore able to absorb high frequency movements and avoid peaks of stress.
6. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims 1 to 5. wherein the collapsible transfer device (11) is stowed beneath the boom (8) and is connected to the fixed pipework by a device with rotary joints (31) allowing the above-mentioned pivoting
into a position, where appropriate, roughly at right angles to the longitudinal axis of the vessel when a connection to the manifold device (15) of a vessel (2) is established.
7. Transfer system as claimed in claim 6, wherein the collapsible transfer device (11) has at its free end a device (33) for connecting to the manifold device (15) of the vessel.
8. Transfer system as claimed in claim 7, wherein the connection device (33) and the manifold device (15) of the vessel comprise means for centring when the transfer device is connected to the manifold device.
9. Transfer system as claimed in claim 8, wherein the collapsible transfer device (11) comprises at least one pair of tubular articulated arms, i.e. an internal arm (25) connected to the pipe-work (10) and an external arm (26) which has a connector (33) at its free end.
10. Transfer system as claimed in claim 9, wherein the connector (33) is fitted with a centring rod (36) intended to be accommodated in a centring adapter (37) linked to the vessel's manifold device (15), with the engagement of the rod (36) in the adapter (37) being effected through the medium of a cable interconnecting the tip of the centring rod (36) and a winch which may form part of the manifold device and passing through the adapter (35).
11. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims 9 or 10, wherein the collapsible transfer device (II) comprises a multiplicity of pairs of transfer arms (25, 26), the free ends of the internal arms (25) are linked to a common part (30) connected to the fixed pipework (10) by the above-mentioned rotating joint (31) and in that each external arm (26) has a connector (33).
12. Transfer system as claimed in claims 1 to 11, wherein in its stored condition beneath the boom, the above-mentioned external arm (26) is folded up on the above-mentioned internal arm (25) and in that the means of manoeuvring the arms comprise means (42, 43) of lowering the arms into their folded position and means (45,46) for the deployment of these arms.
13. Transfer system as claimed in claim 11, wherein the means for lowering the arms comprise a cable (42) fixed to the arms at their mutual articulation (28) and whose other end may be wound up on a winch (43) fitted under the boom (8).
14. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims 11 or 12, wherein the means for deploying the articulated arms (25, 26) comprise a cable (45), of which one end is fixed to the front part of an external arm (26) and whose other end may be wound up on a winch (46) fitted on the internal arm (25) near its free end.
15. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims I or 8, wherein the collapsible transfer device (11) comprises at least one cryogenic hose (50) that is connected at one end to the fixed transfer pipework (10) and whose other end has a connector device (33).
16. Transfer system as claimed in claim 14. wherein in its stored position, the cryogenic hose (50) is suspended beneath the boom at its end which has the connector (33) and extends in a catenary arc.
17. Transfer system as claimed in claim 16. wherein the means forming support arms are combined with the cryogenic hose (50) to maintain a predetermined distance between the vessel (2) and the boom (8) during a fluid transfer and carry this away in rotation.
18. Transfer system as claimed in claim 17, wherein the means forming support arms are connected to the vessel's manifold device (15) during a transfer of fluid.
19. Transfer system as claimed in claim 18, wherein the means forming support arms (60, 90, 98) have at their ends facing those likely to be connected to the vessel's manifold device (15) means (61, 94) against which the hose (50) is supported during a transfer of fluid.
20. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims 16 to 19, wherein the collapsible transfer device (11) comprises a multiplicity of cryogenic hoses (50) brought together at their ends connected to the fixed pipework (10) and of which each has a connector (33) at its free end.
21. Transfer system as claimed in claim 19, wherein the support arm units (60) comprise a crosspiece (61) on which are hung the connectors (33) of the hoses, each of which comprises a centring rod intended to work together with a adapter to receive the rod when a connection of the hoses is established on the manifold device (15) of the vessel (2).
22. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims 17 to 21, wherein the support arm units (60, 90, 98, 103) are suspended beneath the boom (8) by means of the rigging cables (80, 83), which can be wound onto the winches (81, 84) fitted beneath the boom (8).
23. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims 17 to 22, wherein the support arm units (60. 90, 98, 103) have a counterweight (86, 96, 101, 108) at their ends opposite those bearing the hoses.
24. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims 15 to 24, wherein the support arm units are suspended beneath the boom (8) by a suspension system (68) so as to form a beam ensuring the maintenance of an adequate distance between the vessel (2) and the boom (8) during a transfer of fluid and if necessary reducing or cancelling out the stresses being exerted on the connector units when a connection is being established and during the transfer.
25. Transfer system as claimed in claim 24, wherein the suspension system (68) is a separate system such as a cable or a tie-rod.
26. Transfer system as claimed in claim 24, wherein a suspension system is formed by a hose (50).
27. Transfer system as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein the boom is a boom of great length preferably of between 200 and 220 metres and reaching a height where appropriate of the order of 50 metres above the level of the sea.
28. Transfer system as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein the collapsible transfer device (II) is fitted beneath the boom, pivoting around a horizontal axis at right angles to the vertical plane passing through the longitudinal axis of the boom allowing the deployment of the device between its storage position and its position for connection to the manifold and the vertical pivoting axis, allowing the orientation of the transfer device towards the manifold.
29. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims I to 28, wherein the collapsible transfer device (11) is connected lo the boom (8) at one end of the tatter.
30. Transfer system as claimed in one of claims I to 29, wherein the mooring device comprises a hawser (17) connected at one end to a crown wheel (19) that can
rotate freely around the axis of the column (5) and to the end of the vessel at the other end.
31. Transfer system as claimed in one of the preceding claims, wherein the
collapsible transfer device (11) comprises at its tree end a device (33) for connection
to the vessel's manifold device (15) and in that the connector (33) is fitted with a
centring rod (36) intended to be accommodated in a centring adapter (37) linked to
the vessel's manifold device (15), the engagement of the rod (36) in the adapter (37)
being effected by a cable interconnecting the tip of the centring rod (36) and a winch
(38) which may form part of the manifold device and passing through the adapter
(35).
32. System as claimed in claim 31, wherein the opening part of the manifold device
(15) of the vessel, to which the connector of the collapsible transfer device (11) can
be connected has an axis which is oriented obliquely downwards and the centring rod
(36) and the adapter (37) to receive the rod are oriented parallel to this opening axis to
allow a coming together and a connection of the connector to the manifold in an
upward movement by being drawn and guided by the interconnection cable fixed to
the tip of the centring rod and passing through the adapter to be coiled up on the
winch (38).


Documents:

2057-DELNP-2003-Abstract-(01-01-2010).pdf

2057-delnp-2003-abstract.pdf

2057-DELNP-2003-Claims-(01-01-2010).pdf

2057-delnp-2003-claims.pdf

2057-DELNP-2003-Correspondence-Others-(01-01-2010).pdf

2057-delnp-2003-Correspondence-Others-(28-09-2012).pdf

2057-delnp-2003-correspondence-others.pdf

2057-DELNP-2003-Description (Complete)-(01-01-2010).pdf

2057-delnp-2003-description (complete).pdf

2057-DELNP-2003-Drawings-(01-01-2010).pdf

2057-DELNP-2003-Drawings.pdf

2057-DELNP-2003-Form-1-(01-01-2010).pdf

2057-delnp-2003-form-1.pdf

2057-delnp-2003-form-18.pdf

2057-DELNP-2003-Form-2-(01-01-2010).pdf

2057-delnp-2003-form-2.pdf

2057-DELNP-2003-Form-3-(01-01-2010).pdf

2057-delnp-2003-form-3.pdf

2057-delnp-2003-form-5.pdf

2057-DELNP-2003-GPA-(01-01-2010).pdf

2057-delnp-2003-gpa.pdf

2057-delnp-2003-pct-210.pdf

abstract.jpg


Patent Number 238462
Indian Patent Application Number 2057/DELNP/2003
PG Journal Number 7/2010
Publication Date 12-Feb-2010
Grant Date 05-Feb-2010
Date of Filing 02-Dec-2003
Name of Patentee SOCIETE EUROPEENNE D'INGENIERIE MECANIQUE-EURODIM
Applicant Address 21 AVENUE EDOUARD BELIN, 92566 RUEIL MALMAISON, FRANCE
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 STEPHANE PAQUET 7 RUE DE VOUILLET, 75015 PARIS, FRANCE
2 BERNARD DUPONT 176 CHAUSSEE JULES CESAR, 95600 EAUBONNE, FRANCE
PCT International Classification Number C07C
PCT International Application Number PCT/FR02/01603
PCT International Filing date 2002-05-13
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 01/06279 2001-05-11 France