Responses suggest the potential to increase production and to lower maintenance costs, with benefits totalling up to £242 million/yr ($323 million/yr).
According to the Centre, most North Sea operators employ intrusive inspection techniques to assess the condition of their process vessels and tanks and to ensure safe operations.
However, this entails shutting down the platform and personnel entering the vessel to perform a manual inspection, leading to significant lost production.
In addition, having people entering a confined space can be hazardous.
Recent advances in non-intrusive inspection (NII) technology make it possible to assess the internal condition of a vessel without a shutdown or sending personnel inside the vessel.
Other findings from the survey are:
- Use of NII on the UKCS is limited, with some operators currently making no use of the available technology.
- Potentially, up to 80% of vessels could be examined non-intrusively, without the need for a shutdown.
- Improved safety with up to 80% fewer confined space entries required, and a corresponding reduction in the number of line breaks and subsequent leak tests.
- A 33% reduction in turnaround durations have been achieved using NII.
- Overall cost savings of up to 80% compared to inspections that involve entry into a vessel.
The Centre has collaborated with Total E&P UK to conduct early field trials of NII technologies on North Sea facilities. The aim of the project is to identify ways of reducing confined space entries and cost, while at the same time helping to maximize economic recovery.
Rebecca Allison, Asset Integrity Solution Centre Manager at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said: “One of our key objectives is to eliminate vessel entry for inspection by 2026 and NII is critical to delivering this…
“We hope this survey and recent field trials will help break down the barriers to implementing NII and spark a technology transformation in offshore inspection techniques.”
Troy Stewart, Head of ABB Service, Oil, Gas & Chemicals in the UK, added: “Onshore process industries have reaped the benefits of NII for many years, but uptake in UK North Sea has been slow…
“The survey is the first step in changing the mind-set on vessel entry by increasing the adoption of NII in the UKCS.”