UK project to address process vessel, corrosion issues

Offshore staff

ABERDEEN, UK – Total E&P UK and Amec Foster Wheeler are aiming for efficiency improvements in offshore asset integrity, under a new project supported by Britain’s Technology Leadership Board and the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre.

The goals are to make inspection and maintenance quicker, easier, and less costly to help reduce production downtime at UK offshore field centers, focusing on advances in process vessel inspection and managing corrosion under insulation.

Over the last 10 years average production efficiency on the UK continental shelf has fallen from 80% to 60% as assets age, the partners claim. Process vessel inspection is a major contributor to production downtime during a shutdown and often involves personnel entry into confined spaces, a major risk to safety.

The project will target new and existing techniques and technology to reduce process vessel inspection times and the risk to personnel from entering process vessels.

Corrosion under insulation (CUI) is hard to detect because of the insulation cover that masks the corrosion problem. It is expensive to remove this cover, particularly if asbestos is present.

Industry data shows that 60% of pipe leaks are caused by CUI. The project will therefore investigate a method for detecting CUI under all conditions without first having to remove the insulation, and will consider portable/mobile or permanently installed devices to allow inspection of on/offshore process pipework involving minimal use of scaffolding.


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