Oceaneering International, Inc. has launched a new digital radiography solution for the oil and gas sector, the Trip Avoidance X-ray Inspection (TAXI™) system, aimed at reducing the number of unplanned shutdowns.
Recognised at the SPE Offshore Achievement Awards’ “Innovator” category, the TAXI™ solution represents a step-change in industrial radiography operations. Typically, radiography uses gamma radiation emitting isotopes. This upsets nucleonic level control instrumentation on pressure vessels and equipment, causing “trips” that result in costly unplanned plant shutdowns and associated process safety risks.
The TAXI solution enables Oceaneering’s technicians to digitally radiograph pressure piping and infrastructure associated on, or around, equipment fitted with nucleonic detectors. The work can be carried out while the plant is in-service, using a specialised system that delivers pulsed X-rays.
The field-proven process provides the optimal non-destructive testing (NDT) solution to detect corrosion, pipe thinning and potential loss of integrity. It ensures continuous operations – significantly reducing the risk of loss of primary containment (LOPC), associated safety risks and maximises plant uptime.
The solution complies with Ionising Radiation Regulations 2017 (IRR17) and does not require plant nucleonics isolation. It can reduce deferred inspections, resulting in increased plant efficiency and provides significant cost savings by eliminating unplanned process shutdowns caused by trips. In addition, it enables in-service inspection of normally inaccessible systems, such as small-bore piping.
Jim McNab, Radiation Methods Subject Matter Expert at Oceaneering, says, “Operators often defer radiography inspections into planned shutdowns or rely on less effective inspection methods. This is because, until now, there was no safe, reliable solution to enable equipment and piping systems to be radiographed in the vicinity of nucleonics while the plant is live. We were compelled to develop an efficient and reliable solution for our oil and gas customers that would provide further confidence in the integrity of their facilities; and took inspiration from X-ray systems used within the security and defence sectors.”
“Our TAXI™ solution is suitable for detecting and monitoring corrosion under insulation (CUI), a major issue attributed to around 60% of the North Sea’s piping failures. CUI is difficult to detect and measure and removing insulation to inspect for signs of corrosion can be costly, time consuming and sometimes unnecessary,” adds McNab.
Oceaneering has worked closely with equipment suppliers and the manufacturers of nucleonic instrumentation to design the TAXI™ system. Already deployed on several North Sea assets, it is available as part of Oceaneering’s inspection offering.