Weatherford Captures the 'Big Picture' in Offshore Ops

Weatherford is capturing photographs in challenging environments without the need for a 'hot permit'.

Always on the look-out for ways to improve offshore working processes, Weatherford was eager to find out more about CorDEX Instrument's ToughPIX 2300 XP Series of cameras as they can be used safely in hazardous areas, where traditional digital cameras are not permitted.

Weatherford is aware that oilfield operations present unique challenges as the hazardous and remote conditions make it difficult to carry out daily operational tasks.

Photography and documenting images for surveys and reports is part and parcel of every day activities offshore.

The ToughPIX 2303 XP camera was well received by Weatherford staff as the next-generation device is ATEX and American CSA certified to take images within Zone 1 IIC T4 and Class 1 Division I B, C, D hazardous areas.

This latest version of the ToughPIX 2303 XP camera is more streamlined than its predecessor and includes still and moving images in AVI format of up to 10 mega pixels. Encased in aluminum with an ultra-bright display protected by armored glass, the revolutionary camera is custom designed for the harshest environments.

Mechanized Systems Engineer Michael Wilson, who is based in Aberdeen and the North Sea regularly uses the ToughPIX 2303 XP to capture images to help him carry out his job of ensuring oilfield equipment and work systems are running efficiently and safely.

Michael's work entails carrying out pre-installation surveys which require high quality photographic coverage to show in-situ working environments and how operations are functioning. He deals with pressure vessels, pumps, control systems, boilers, heat exchangers, piping and all things mechanical required to get his job done to ensure the integrity of company assets.

Michael said, "The ToughPIX has been invaluable over the last few months. It has cut out the requirement for hot permits and reduced time-consuming paper work. Offshore you will simply not be given a permit to use a camera outside of the accommodation module unless it is for a specific work related activity.

"When using a camera you have to do a risk assessment to identify the hazards and severity by using it. With traditional digital cameras the battery is a source of ignition in a zone 1 or 2 area and the flash can set off the UV flame detectors which could lead to fire & gas system activation so a gas monitor must be carried at all times and the flash taped over. The ToughPIX 2303 XP is ATEX certified which cuts out all of this and makes my job so much easier."

Michael's job as is like putting together a puzzle, making sure that all offshore and onshore operational systems are working together to perform a desired function. As a systems engineer he is concerned with the 'big picture' of a project, and in addition to technical aspects he must consider details like manufacturing, scheduling, testing, installation associated with engineering and scheduled maintenance projects.

Michael uses ToughPIX 2303 XP to provide visual documentation to support his work. He explained, "It is necessary to back up surveys and reports with photographic evidence to show machinery working in complex systems and running smoothly. The camera has proved very reliable and has helped in allowing critical decisions to be made, when systems are not working or problems occur. With its onboard 8 GB memory, it has allowed me to store hundreds of images which can be easy downloaded to any PC."

"The LCD screen lets you view pictures in the field and the inbuilt safety flash is ideal when photographing in low-lighted areas. It is simple to use with large easy to press buttons and robust and sturdy enough to survive a few bumps and knocks."

Teeside headquartered CorDEX Instruments has launched a series of ATEX and Intrinsically Safe certified products to the energy sector.

CEO Tony Holliday said, "We have refined our digital cameras range in response to requests from the industry and the feedback has been excellent. Saving time in the field when you go offshore is all important and ToughPIX 2303 XP does exactly that. They are as easy to use as an every day camera with all the functions you would expect from a high-end model."

CorDEX Instruments has also developed CAMS - CorDEX Asset Management Software - a desktop package that boosts the capabilities of ToughPIX 2300 XP Series cameras and included as a complimentary 'add-on' package for customers.

CAMS allows users to exclusively organize and manage information and images taken in the field with the ToughPIX 2300 XP Series. It can generate reports and quickly manipulate images downloaded onto the system. Users can simply download images, edit then instantly annotate to produce reports.