Westerton SplashZone Integrity Specialists transforming platform integrity management

Source: press release, 11 November 2021

Tony Branch, Westerton SplashZone Integrity Specialists Managing Director
Tony Branch, Westerton SplashZone Integrity Specialists Managing Director (photo: WSIS)

The Westerton group of specialist integrity and inspection companies has extended its expertise with the launch of a new service focusing on splashzone integrity management – ensuring offshore energy operators avoid serious reputational, operational and environmental issues.

The new organisation – Westerton SplashZone Integrity Specialists (WSIS) – provides splashzone integrity solutions consisting of consultancy integrity services, backed up by world-leading innovation and cost-effective means of inspecting and repairing conductors, j-tubes and caissons in the often-neglected splashzone – the area immediately above and below the waterline.

Tony Branch, WSIS Managing Director, says, “As an environment, the splashzone is turbulent and unforgiving, resulting in it being an area where often compromising and unanticipated damage occurs. It is often overlooked when it comes to inspections, but the Health and Safety Executive is now starting to focus on the integrity management of this area, and conductors in particular. There is a risk perception gap created due to lack of visibility across the splashzone, meaning problems are not always on anyone’s radar until there is major damage that needs fixing – which clearly comes at an unbudgeted cost.”

“We mitigate these risks and ensure people mind the gap before it becomes an issue, through turning the focus onto the ongoing integrity management, mapping, data collection and life extension of assets, all the way through to the decommissioning management of conductors and caissons. Well and conductor management support allows operators to understand risks associated with this aging equipment, with many assets well beyond their designed 25-year life expectation,” Branch continues.

The WSIS team, who count major energy firms such as EON, Ithaca Energy, Apache, TAQA, Shell, Hess, CNR, Maersk, Chevron and EnQuest among past employers, are specialists with wide range and deep experience.

Greg Law, WSIS Engineering Director, says, “We have seen instances of poor practice, incomplete inspection, poor interpretation of results and repairs which can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.  Our team has a history of developing repairs, tooling, processes and methods to remove marine growth, adequately inspect, design, fabricate and install repairs above and below the sea surface. The WSIS approach identifies and quantifies hazards, assigns probability of realisation and subsequent consequences to the client’s business of those hazards, and implements economically justified mitigations to address those hazards.”

“The operator’s focus is rightly on maintaining production for as long as possible, but as many assets reach the end of their lifespan, the importance of inspections comes to the fore. I liken late life integrity management to caring for a classic car – because the vehicle is older, more attention needs to be paid to it,” adds Law.

The launch of WSIS complements the existing Westerton Access business, an industry leader and technical innovator in the provision of subsea and topside inspection solutions, with both companies part of the wider Westerton portfolio, which includes a fishing and intervention service.

Robin Porter, founder of Westerton, says, “We are proud to launch WSIS, and believe the service offering will help operators now and in the future. With the opening of our office in the Middle East, as well as this news, these are exciting times for Westerton.”