Internal inspection tools are helping oil and gas companies to verify the quality of risers, and fatigue-critical, CRA-clad and curved pipes. This significantly reduces failure and minimises project risk, says Hugh Davies, director of client solutions at Optical Metrology Services.
There are a number of reasons why it may be necessary to conduct internal inspections of oil and gas pipes. These can range from weld assessment and checking for oxidation or corrosion, to looking for wrinkles in pipe liners (CRA-clad pipes) and reeling trials. All these issues can compromise the integrity of pipes and pose a risk to the safety of on or offshore projects.
Traditional methods of examining the quality of internal welds or other defects, from a visual and a measurement perspective, have been inadequate and unreliable. For example, a considerable gap has existed in the technology available for measuring the critical features of welds such as HiLo (joint misalignment), weld height, width, and lack of penetration or fusion.
A winner of the 2014 Queen's Award for Enterprise Innovation, Optical Metrology Systems (OMS) offers a unique portfolio of internal pipe inspection tools specifically developed for checking internal welds and other geometric features.
These are used as part of a three-stage approach to mitigating the threat of problems:
Benefits and future developments
OMS's internal pipe inspection services have proved to dramatically increase pipe performance and decrease pipeline failures, resulting in significant cost savings for clients. These services have seen significant interest from the oil and gas industry, as well as the aerospace and nuclear sectors.
OMS is continuing to develop even more compact tools that are able to fit inside ever-smaller pipe diameters. The capability is now at just 4in internal diameter, making OMS the only company in the world that can inspect welds using laser measurement and visual data at approximately 100mm diameter, and around bends in pipes.