Reliability is one of the key requirements in the oil & gas industry, as any security breach can result in major disasters. At the same time, operators must deal with numerous technical and also financial challenges to make their operations viable.
So, how to ensure the reliability of old pipes in stock? Often operators have stock at a standstill and it is necessary to ensure its conditions before going down the well. One of the major Vallourec customers had a certain volume of pipes stored since 2017 that could be used in an exploratory.
How to assess to reliably identify? The answer is the In-Pipe Rover solution, developed by Vallourec.
In-Pipe Rover line includes portable inspection solutions with devices that differ from technology due to their physical principle: Laser (Laser Rover), eddy current (ET Rover), and ultrasonic (UT Rover), UT Rover being the last one used by the customer, as it is the most appropriate for wall thickness measurements, among other requirements.
The UT ROVER is one of the models in the line: in-pipe rover, solutions developed by Vallourec for pipe inspection.
Portable and easy to handle, the UT Rover was developed to measure the inner diameter, wall thickness and detect defects in the pipes. “By using the In-Pipe Rover”, says Laísa Rigueti, Innovation Analyst at Vallourec, “We have real measurements with data delivered in real-time. The measurements also allow the calculation of the internal diameter and ovality of the pipes”.
Vallourec's Field Service team emphasizes that “our solution enabled the customer to use the pipes in stock with the required level of reliability. They had a major technical challenge that required the use of stock pipes in a critical well. With the inspection, the team can immediately count on the material to continue the operation”.
Gabriel Machado points out that the customer faced a huge challenge: “They needed to line a specific region of the well with pipes of higher capacity to resist the inner pressure”, says Vallourec's Tech Sales OCTG. “From the service performed, 36 pipes were selected out of 50 inspected, which were enough to allow the customer to install about 400m of a specified column. With the inspection, the company had instant access to the higher performance pipes needed to withstand the pressure”.
In-Pipe Rover solutions are portable and do not require any dedicated structure from the customer. Inspections can be carried out on pipes from any supplier, even in remote areas. Specialized Vallourec teams go to the site and carry out all the necessary tests to assess the integrity and reliability of the pipes through the Prime Mapping Service.
In addition to the cost reduction due to the use of pipes in stock, we cannot fail to take into account the environmental aspects, with the use of pipes in stock, which was reused, and even the reduction of CO2 emissions.
The service, which was performed for Operator with a prototype Rover UT and served to validate the measurement quality and identify improvements, can be performed at the location most suitable for the client, and does not interfere with operations.
In-Pipe Rover services can be carried out in any operation phase, such as pre-shipment, rig preparation, and rig return. The process must be carried out on a horizontal inspection bench, without disturbing operations, and the data is processed in real-ime by software also developed by the Vallourec team.
“The next service, which will certainly also be quite prosperous, is already scheduled at the facilities of another customer in Brazil”, says Machado.