On Thursday 19th January 2023, the EI Highlands and Islands hosted its annual Joint technical event with the branch, and welcomed Roland Anderson, Axess Corrosion Inc. who gave a talk on ‘Internal Corrosion Monitoring Systems – Enhanced Safety through Innovation’ with a specific focus on operational aspects. Roland has had over 20 years’ experience in the Oil & Gas industry focused on internal corrosion monitoring programmes around the globe, and has established businesses, in many locations including the UK, Middle East, Australia, China, and the USA. Recent years have been primarily focused on product innovation aimed at improving safety.
Mechanical retrieval tool designs for online corrosion monitoring servicing have been largely unchanged in 70+ years, the last major update to tooling being in 1978. Over 300 new ‘heavy duty’ retrievers are introduced into the field each year, and mechanical access fitting design has not changed since the first field installation in 1950.
Over 3000 new access fittings are commissioned each year and it is estimated that over 100,000 are in active service and many others plugged and decommissioned. High pressure retrieval tools and portable isolations are required for device changeouts under pressure (online). Incidents reported with this technology (although very rare relative to number of service operations) range globally from loss of containment, severe injury, and fatalities.
Several incidents over the last 25 years (mainly through incorrect training) had resulted in suspension of online retrievals especially in the North Sea.
An overseas fatality in May 2012 led to many other operators suspending online retrieval of intrusive devices. The fatality occurred during the retrieval of an ER probe installed at the 6 o’clock position on a slug catcher line. The access fitting had not been serviced in over four years. Scaffolding had been built to accommodate a technician, located directly below the retriever to help support the weight.
Life extension of assets, dilution of field experience, (through retirals and people leaving for other cleaner industries) and growing concerns around intrusive monitoring techniques, called for innovation to solve several problems.
Axess Corrosion responded to the new challenges by releasing the Janus™ Safety Guard, having consulted with Shell on the design, and piloted it successfully after the incident. The ‘Janus Guard’ removes the line of fire. It is retrofittable, auto deploying and built into the retrievers, replacing original components. The Janus Range provides retrofittable guards for telescoping and non-telescoping retrievers. Axess retrieval tools, with the guard attached, have been made lighter overall compared to other older devices without the guard. They are low cost, low maintenance and do not require re-certification
Janus Access fittings can be safer, and until now double isolation valves depended on a single O-ring between process and environment, however the Janus fittings incorporate two additional sealing faces, ensuring double isolation valves have double seals and the external threads are protected from the environment. Existing service valves can be adapted to realise these benefits at low cost.
Janus Type fittings have the following key advantages:
• Functionality applies to both mechanical and hydraulic system options.
• Janus is presently the only access fitting with a double seal and double isolation between process and environment.
• The radial sealing surface provides an additional seal for the service valve and the pressure retaining cover. This serves to seal the external threads from the environment with the O-ring carefully positioned on the access fitting.
In April 2022, Shell successfully completed a retrieval with the Janus™ tool, where retrieval of strip coupons installed at the high debris risk six o’clock position on a slug catcher line was completed. The access fitting had not been serviced in over four years due to the LFI, (learnings from incident) and subsequent Risk Assessment. The location was identified as a valuable data point for the integrity programme at QGTL (Qatar – Gas to Liquids) and the similarity to the LFI location was obvious. Other client projects are also reported to have received benefits, for example, ConocoPhillips now use the Janus modified retrieval tool on over 70% of its (CM) retrievals in Alaska, and over 2000 successful (CM) retrievals were conducted throughout 2022, with service technicians now feeling protected and secure. Optimised stroke lengths have reduced the overall weight of tools, and engagement of the service team has resulted in further tool enhancements and revisions.
Modified Janus™ Range offering:
• Applies to legacy tools to make them safer.
• Janus™ Safety Guard * – Finalist for 2023 AMPP Innovation Awards – 2023 Finalists (webflow.io)
• Minimal changes to existing (CM) retrievals procedures
• The outcomes of risk assessment studies conducted by energy operators have changed dramatically with new tool modifications deemed positive.
*Patents pending through USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) protected.
An online ‘Plug & Abandon’ solution for redundant access fittings is available now along with devices for repurposing fittings for alternative uses, such as chemical injection. Conversion of access fittings to chemical injection points allows them to be serviced under pressure and are a low-cost piping modification. Additionally, there is no bulky flanged side tee, or troublesome NPT side connections, and the chemicals are isolated from access fitting material.
This company has also developed an improved Double Seal / Double Isolation device for use with a Janus type Access ‘intrusive’ fitting.
On Tuesday 28th February 2023, the branch meeting welcomed Raza Amin of Ankaa Consulting (Kuala Lumpur) and previously of GL Noble Denton, who gave a talk entitled ‘Enterprise Digital Solution for Asset Integrity Management’.
Mr. Amin has had 29 years of experience in engineering, technical consulting and advisory, training, and management. He has been responsible for leading safety and process engineering projects for the offshore oil and gas platforms and Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs), onshore gas processing plants, chemical plants, and refineries. He has worked on oil and gas facilities throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa, the Far East, and the Indian sub-continent.
Currently, he is Managing Director of Ankaa Consulting, concurrently taking the role as Asset Integrity Director and Process Safety Advisor. He manages projects in various disciplines, such as Integrity Operating Windows (IOW), Life Extension Studies (LES) for Offshore Assets, Risk Based Inspection (RBI) Assessments for Static Equipment, Piping, Pressure Relief Devices, Structures and Subsea Pipelines & Risers, Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM), Instrument Safety Integrity Level (SIL), Engineering Critical Assessment (ECA), and also oversees the implementation of Alpha-Phe, a modern and comprehensive cloud-based database application module for the entire Asset Integrity Management System of Petrochemical industries.
Raza emphasised that while everyone is aware that we are in the digital age, the ambitions of a company and the means at its disposal to fully practice digital solutions are still often insufficient and / or inadequate. When controlled appropriately, data can yield the insights that make it more valuable than ‘black gold. Databases contain millions of records extracted through the various system interfaces used by operating companies that can enable understanding of complex relationships between many variables interactively.
Raza made clear that in today’s fast changing business landscape and aging assets, any Asset Integrity Management (AIM) digital solution needs to have an inherent capability to adopt to these changes – so a flexible system configuration approach is a necessary requirement rather than a nice-to-have.
• The system needs custom-built software which is ‘best in class’ having a single corporate system for all upstream and downstream assets, providing common understanding across all businesses.
• The software system must be’ holistic in approach using next generation technology, so it significantly reduces the cost associated with maintaining fragmented systems.
• It needs a complete system with AIM solution for every asset class and associated equipment, which is built on the latest codes, standards, industry guidelines and best practices, including ISO 55000.
He argued that with such a system in place it would be possible to improve work processes to achieve optimum work efficiency, communication between departments, and improve efficiency by eliminating duplication of work.
In the need for Digital Asset Integrity, Raza identified the fundamental problem in industry is that we have created too many data silos over years. We have seen so many different software systems and spreadsheets for AIMS, PIMS, SIMS, IOW, FFS, IDMS, and ANOMALIES. The key concern was that engineers presently manually fetch information from each system to make decisions and visualise overall health of an asset.
The need for a Digital AIMS to cover ‘day to day’ operations was put down to having improper workflow, leading to poor accountability. The various ‘day to day’ problems encountered without a system-based workflow can lead to following:
• No accountability.
• No audit trail.
• Unable to identify bottlenecks in the process.
• Unaware of the constraints – not seeing who missed out on an action.
And suggested solutions included:
• Generate time-based audit trails.
• Implement integrated workflow for each data points with seamless integration.
• Inform responsible party for action through notification.
• Utilise technology to manage accountability.
Digital AIMS avoids duplication of data / process / efforts.
Other issues identified:
• Difficulty in inspection planning that is time consuming leading to too many overdue actions.
• Multiple contractors managing various Integrity, inspection and reporting activities for different asset types with inconsistency in reporting.
• Same process done in different systems, hard to maintain multiple systems to improve processes.
Other suggested solutions:
• Require a common platform for work packs.
• Need to improve the interface between different parties by centralising and sharing information.
• Inspection reporting is required directly into the Data platform. Need to reduce data entry errors, perform QA/QC.
Razo concluded, that the presented integration platform helps interfacing the AIM system with the existing corporate systems and operational data systems to achieve continuous update of AIMS models, helps operators with up-to-date health status of the assets in the form of KPIs, and operators can then take timely key decisions on asset integrity. This type of system can be accessed from anywhere and at any time, which is powerful, robust, and fast module development platform. It meets all the modern features and functionality that is needed to measure the technical integrity of oil and gas facilities smoothly. With such a solution, i.e. a dedicated system that meets the overall company AIM requirements, and that covers the entire Asset Integrity work process and all disciplines. Analytics specific to each discipline then becomes possible and meaningful.
This presentation cleverly highlighted the holistic approach to managing Asset Integrity Management data, and raised many interesting questions from attendees in the Q&A session that followed afterwards.
Two former branch members are now thriving in the Middle East, Hooman Takhtechian has recently started a new position as Lead Corrosion Engineer at Bureau Veritas Group in Abu Dhabi, and Amir Attarchi who is now based in Qatar, and working as Senior Principal Metallurgy Engineer on NOC Ruya FEED project.
Presently there are 3 vacancies on the ICorr Aberdeen committee, for which invitations are invited to pursue officer roles. All enquires please to the branch chair, email@example.com.
The branch has a very busy programme ahead and is pleased to announce the following upcoming events, for which registration details will be sent to all ICorr members nearer to event time:
On 25th April 2023, the branch has scheduled its 1-day Marine Corrosion Forum conference, a joint ICorr Aberdeen / Marine Corrosion Forum event. There is also an industrial visit to ICR in the evening. Places are limited for this event.
In May 2023, the scheduled events are, the joint ICorr / MCF CUI webinar week, Monday 15th to Friday 19th May [Lunch time events,12:00-13:00 each day], and a joint ICorr / AMPP technical session on Friday 19th May (evening), with a presentation by David Wickam and Chris Fyfe of AkzoNobel entitled: “Maintenance and Repair Solutions for Damaged or Aged PFP”.
Further Information about the branch, and past presentations, can be found on the website page: Aberdeen Branch – Institute of Corrosion (icorr.org), and to join the branch mailing list, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstracts of potential papers for the branch technical programme are always welcome, and anyone wishing to present should prepare an abstract and correspond soonest with the branch Vice Chair – Adesiji Anjorin, email@example.com, who is preparing the 2023/2024 events schedule.
Initial launch of online corrosion monitoring (CM) retrieval tools.
Example of thread debris – blocked pressure equalisation channel.
Fitting abandonment filling (by HP injection process).
Fitting conversion to chemical injection point.
Holistic Approach to Asset Management.
Work Elements of Asset Management.