HOUSTON – Tracerco, part of the FTSE100, Johnson Matthey Plc, has begun development on a new deepwater application for its pipeline inspection tool, Discovery, allowing it to reach depths of more than10,000 ft (3,048 m).
The new development will allow the Discovery tool to inspect pipelines in ultra-deepwaters off the US coast, and it will be fitted with a new crawler system feature that will allow the tool to propel itself along the pipeline to take additional measurements. The tool provides clear tomographic images, the quality of which is planned to be more enhanced.
The development is scheduled for completion in early summer 2014, and to be ready for first deployment in the Gulf of Mexico with a full inspection schedule expected over the summer. Tracerco has received investment from a major oil company based in the Gulf of Mexico in order to start the development work on the technology.
Launched last year, the Discovery application is a major breakthrough in subsea pipeline inspection, enabling non-intrusive inspection of complex subsea flowlines (including pipe-in-pipe, risers, and pipe bundles) for the first time, for both flow assurance issues and integrity flaws from the outside of the pipe without removing any protective and insulation coatings.
The tool can take a 360° tomographic scan image of pipeline contents and wall conditions. Until now, this has not been possible without removing pipelines’ protective coatings. The tomographic scan image produced is accurate to nearly a millimeter radial resolution, with the advantage of zero interruption to pipeline operation. The Discovery tool can inspect any subsea flowline within its diameter range regardless of complexity (such as caissons) without risk of pipe damage.