Pipeline Recovery Tool

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Pipeline Recovery Tool

Ballgrab® ball and taper Pipeline Recovery Tools (PRT) are utilised for the laying, decommissioning and recovery of subsea pipelines. The pipe line recovery tool ranges typically from 2 inch to 48 inch (5 cm to 122 cm) diameter to meet project demands for both wet and dry buckle lift. First Subsea has a dedicated team of PRT design engineers to ensure a rapid response to your enquiry and ensure tools are fully optimised to meet your project requirements.

First Subsea has an extensive hire fleet backed by 24/7 response and rapid mobilisation in the case of a wet buckle. The fleet is constantly expanding and evolving to meet the demands of customers, and offers a wide range of sizes and configurations. It is currently well over 100 units including internal and external recovery tools.

The ball and taper multi-point grip is ideal for handling both new and existing pipeline, with a range of external and internal coatings. By customising the degree of grip, the tool is able to provide gentle handling for new pipelines, and overcome the dimensional inaccuracies caused by corrosion and build-up of waxing and hydrates with existing pipelines.

Modular Tool Design

First Subsea offers a modular design approach to pipe handling tools, enabling greater customisation and faster response to tool enquiries. The current range of tools available is 2 Inch to 48 Inch diameter, although the ball and taper design makes any size possible. 

The core tool elements are: Pipeline Recovery Tool, ROV deployment arm and handling skid.

The deployment arm enables the tool to be held horizontally and inserted into the pipe by an ROV. The ball and taper grip is activated by ROV and the deployment arm removed to the surface. For additional flexibility of recovery operations, the lifting tools can be abandoned subsea and recovered later.

A dedicated DNV 2.7-1 / EN12079 cargo basket or handling skid enables to tool to safely and easily manoeuvred around offshore.


Optional modules include: check valve, dewatering seal, pig catcher, pig signaller and ROV Hot Stab hydraulic actuation.

- Dewatering

Bolted on the end of the tool, the dewatering seal morphs to the internal pipe surface. It is then activated by ROV hydraulic pressure or hydrostatic pressure difference which provides a water tight seal with a typical pressure of 60 bar MAWP (Maximum Allowable Working Pressure). They are designed to accommodate any tolerances.

- Pig Catcher

Using a ball and taper snap-on connection, the pig catcher is easily fitted to the end of the dewatering head, avoiding the need to strip the tool down. The pig 'nose' is readily adapted to suit any pig design making the tool ideal for dewatering operations.

Comprehensive Tool Testing

All First Subsea's pipeline recovery and lifting tools are subject to rigorous testing before shipment offshore. The testing process uses DNV Standard for Certification of Lifting Appliances, June 2013, Ch.2 Sec.12. All First Subsea Limited PRT’s are classified as ‘Loose gear’ for a subsea application.

Tool Availability

First Subsea offers a range of PRT delivery options including warehouse storage for shipment when required and shipment to the nearest mobilisation point. In all cases a First Subsea qualified offshore technician is on hand to supervise deployment of the tool.

First Subsea Ltd