Two Leading Names Have Global Plans for New Pipeline Technologies

A partnership between two well-known companies has resulted in five new contracts with several operators for an innovative pipeline service.

MCS and Qserv have joined forces to develop a technique for monitoring the condition of flexible pipelines and risers in subsea oil and gas developments which prevents fatigue failure, ultimately impacting positively on health and safety and environmental issues.

A recent event to demonstrate their advanced vacuum testing attracted an audience of over 60 contractors and operators, confirming their belief in the demand for an effective testing solution.

"Based on studies done in 2001 and on recent testing it is estimated that about 30% of all risers in the North Sea are under threat of corrosion related fatigue," says Tim O'Sullivan, managing director of MCS in Aberdeen. "It is therefore critical to carry out testing to identify the risk and then design the appropriate repair work before any failure occurs."

Following a study on the causes of flexible pipe damage, undertaken by MCS on behalf of Oil & Gas UK (formally UKOOA), the company identified that annulus testing of flexible pipe was a valuable measure in monitoring integrity.

MCS and Qserv have since developed an advanced range of vacuum testing equipment. The partnership combines Qserv's reputation for delivering quality pipeline services with MCS' in-depth experience in flexible pipe integrity and analysis.

The demonstration event featured an actual vacuum testing demonstration, presentations by both QServ and MCS as well as a presentation from the HSE on UK legal issues relating to integrity management and maintenance requirements for unbonded flexible pipelines. A DVD of the demonstration will now be used by both companies to promote the service to operations around the world but particularly in Rio de Janeiro, Perth Australia and Angola.

O'Sullivan said: The demonstration of annulus vacuum testing reveals the safety, environmental and cost benefits to be gained by being able to identify the potential threat and take pro-active measures to design and plan repair work on pipelines."

In addition the event was an opportunity for potential users to evaluate our brand new software, Thrulife which allows clients, for the first time, to see, at a glance the integrity status of a whole subsea system. Alan Porterfield from Qserv, which has made a considerable investment in riser annulus testing equipment, added: "At the event this type of technology was discussed by the HSE as an acceptable technique for identifying damage with the potential to cause integrity threats.. We are already exporting the service to Perth, Australia where we are seeing real interest from two local operators with one preparing to trial."

The two companies are working on a paper to be delivered at one of the industry's top events, Deep Offshore Technology (DOT), in Houston later this month