A consortium of organizations has set out to tackle one of the most enduring challenges in the North Sea: the non-destructive testing (NDT) of corroded pipes under insulation and engineered temporary pipe wraps.
The group, which includes TRAC Oil & Gas, the University of Strathclyde and CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, will audit the tools, capabilities and approaches currently used by industry to look at the steel surfaces of assets, often obstructed by layers of material.
While there are a number of NDT technologies on the market, many are ineffective when used on pipes that are protected by insulation. They tend to average out wall thickness where corrosion “scabs” have formed, failing to pinpoint specific areas of vulnerability.
Taking and interpreting these readings is further complicated by the varying dimensions, materials, locations and accessibility of different oil and gas assets. While insulation can be removed, it requires significantly more time in challenging conditions, making the task more dangerous to the technician undertaking the inspection, and ultimately more expensive to the company.
After assessing the limits of what is available, the consortium will then explore how improvements can be made, including the development of new techniques for accurately identifying and measuring areas of corrosion. The first phase of the project is a feasibility study, the results of which will be shared with wider industry and its stakeholders.
CENSIS brokered the relationship between TRAC and the University of Strathclyde and will provide project management support as the initiative progresses.