Non-intrusive inspection trials hailed a success by Technology Centre and Total

The results of three non-intrusive inspection (NII) trials, organised by the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and Total E&P UK, demonstrated that the technology can deliver significant cost, safety and efficiency benefits compared with traditional intrusive methods.

Total identified two process pressure vessels on its Elgin Franklin platform that it would intrusively inspect during a shutdown. Working with the Technology Centre, it was agreed that NII would be carried out in advance of the shutdown so the results could be compared.

Three technology providers – Eddyfi Technologies, Mistras and Sonomatic – were selected to conduct the field trials, and they deployed a range of ultrasonic corrosion mapping and time of flight diffraction solutions.

The three NII trials took place while the vessels were online and operating, and the intrusive inspections were later completed as planned during the shutdown.

The NII scopes did not detect any significant defects that would pose a risk to the integrity of the pressure vessels, and the intrusive inspection confirmed the same. The results correlated meaning NII delivered the same outcomes but without the requirement for a costly shutdown and potentially hazardous man entry into the vessels.

The Technology Centre and Total were commended by industry for their collaboration and won the Maximising Economic Recovery (MER) UK 2017 Award for their work on the trials.

Rebecca Allison, Asset Integrity Solution Centre Manager, said:

“Process vessel inspection is a major cause of production downtime and costs the industry hundreds of millions every year. The trials were successful and demonstrate that NII can help operators achieve significant efficiencies in maintenance and integrity costs, while improving production uptime.

“We recently completed a non-intrusive inspection survey with ABB which identified significant potential benefits for adopting NII in the North Sea. It’s encouraging to see that the trial outcomes support the study results and we’d like to hear from any operators who are interested in to conducting future NII trials on their assets.”

Dave MacKinnon, Head of Technological Innovation for Total E&P UK, said:

“The future of the offshore industry depends on companies like Total stepping forward and embracing new technology. Our partnership with the Technology Centre is central to our technology strategy.

“The field trials of new non-intrusive inspection (NII) technology has the potential to reduce both the costs of inspection and the number of times we need to work in restricted spaces.  Working with the Technology Centre, Total looks forward to taking new ideas such as NII forward and making the North Sea a safer and more efficient place to operate.”

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