Tube Tech: Ready for emergency offshore maintenance
The right solution, trained personnel and the ability to mobilise rapidly are all key factors when asset managers for offshore platforms require a contractor to assist with critical path cleaning & inspection contracts.
If the contractor has to order in special equipment or source staff with special skills the time these tasks take means the operator could be losing money through lost production.
Having been contacted by three separate North Sea oil platform operators within the past few months Tube Tech is sure that its ability to mobilise within days of the first contact made a huge difference to its clients.
“Speed is of the essence when offshore operators contact us,”said Scott Donson, the firm’s Technical Sales Manager. “We need to be ready to mobilise immediately and, of course, have the correct equipment ready to solve the cleaning and/or inspection challenge presented by our clients,” he added. Examples of how Tube Tech’s unique selling points could help your
Tube bore inspection
An example of the importance of quick actions is that of a North Sea platform that required an immediate inspection of tube bores on its gas coolers to determine if any damage had been caused by the coolers running with a high pressure drop across the unit, which tripped the whole platform, limiting production to 50%.
Urgent mobilisation was essential. The client called Tube Tech on a Wednesday afternoon, the Tube Tech team arrived on the offshore platform on the Friday and the inspection, thankfully showing no wall loss on the tube bores, was completed by Saturday lunch time. “Our client was pleased not only with our rapid response but also the fact that there was no wall loss on its tube bores,” said Donson.
Cleaning a U-tube gas cooler offshore
The hairpin (U) tube gas cooler on a North Sea oil platform was blocked by a breakdown of ferrules (material inserts within the tube ends) in the first pass of the heat exchanger.
The contract was time-critical, as the platform was losing 8,000 barrels per day of production. Increased back pressure on the tube side of the U-tube shell and tube heat exchangers from the broken ferrules had blocked the tubes.
Tube Tech used its SafeFlex system to drill the straight safely, then the hairpin bends were cleared using Tube Tech’s unique darTT system.“We originally thought the contract would take 48 hours and were pleased that [it] was completed in less than 24 hours,” Donson said. Even with a visit to Tube Tech’s workshops by the client’s inspection team, the time from initial contact from the client to contract completion was only four days in total.
Cleaning offshore crude heaters
The operator of one of the largest offshore projects in the North Sea required an effective cleaning service on two of its crude oil heaters ready for inspection.
A significant difference in the level of fouling on both heaters meant the cleaning contractor had to be prepared for two very different contracts. The operator felt Tube Tech was the ideal choice for this Be prepared contract owing to its innovative methodology, immediate response service, offshore trained technicians and state-of-the-art communication systems.
As with all offshore contracts, effective preparation was paramount and with two different levels of fouling to deal with Tube Tech arrived on the platform with a selection of innovative cleaning technology plus technicians to work both day and night shifts.
Crude oil heater ‘A’ was cleaned first, as it had the least fouling and needed to have an IRIS inspection immediately after cleaning. Super-high pressure water jetting using a combination of TurboJet and polishing jets were used and after cleaning the IRIS inspection was achieved successfully.
Crude oil heater ‘B’ was initially cleaned using the same system as ‘A’ unit, as once all the blockages were removed (100% of the tubes) a thin scale was left which was even harder than originally thought. Tube Tech converted its bespoke pumps to facilitate considerably higher pressures, attached its rotating Wysper seal lance and was able again to achieve the desired standard suitable for IRIS inspection to prove that the tubes were still in a good physical order and suitable working condition.
On a lighter note
Being ready to tackle any kind of offshore contract has led to Tube Tech being called on for a variety of unusual offshore contracts, including an emergency call regarding an offshore wind farm.
The design engineers of a UK offshore wind farm had unfortunately inadvertently forgotten to place caps on the wind farm transition pieces prior to the fitting of the turbine towers. The sea birds were delighted. The company urgently required a company with technicians who were qualified to work offshore, in confined spaces and at height plus had the relevant equipment and experience to remove stubborn fouling from the transition pieces.
Tube Tech was found to be the only company in the UK able to mobilise immediately. Thankfully the contract was completed quickly and successfully, much to the seagulls’ disappointment.