The oil and gas industry is currently faced with the challenge of Maximising Economic Recovery in a high operating cost environment, whilst managing the effects of ageing assets and equipment, many of which are operating well beyond their original design life.
The management of mature assets
The challenge of maintaining assets that are reaching or are already operating beyond their design life is a global issue. How effectively we, as an industry, deal with that challenge will impact on the overall longevity of the industry on the UK Continental Shelf.
To remain profitable, operators need to reduce operating costs by identifying and improving activities that don’t fulfil profit or safety objectives. The industry has an opportunity to reduce asset integrity costs by 30-50% and adopting or adapting innovative technologies will make a significant contribution.
The Asset Integrity Solution Centre accelerates the adoption of technologies that enable industry to manage asset integrity at a lower cost; to safely extend the operating lives of key assets; and to make a significant contribution to maximising economic recovery.
Focused, fast-track innovation
We are initially focused on the two themes identified in the Asset Integrity Theme Landscaping Study, commissioned by Oil & Gas UK on behalf of the Technology Leadership Board. These themes are:
- process vessel inspection (VI)
- corrosion under insulation (CUI)
It is estimated that the total cost to the UKCS from VI and CUI is in excess of £300 million per annum, of which over £100 million relates to operating expenditure incurred due to the limitations of the current VI and CUI inspection methods. It’s envisaged that technology can help the industry achieve efficiencies in maintenance and integrity costs, and improve production uptime by over 10%.
Our role is to encourage the uptake of existing and improved technology solutions for VI and CUI detection and repair by supporting technology projects through a range of stages including feasibility studies, development projects, piloting, field trials and commercialisation.
Process Vessel Inspection
Process Vessel Inspection (VI) is a significant contributor to production downtime during a planned shutdown and often involves personnel entering into confined spaces and therefore raises risks for workers.
The development of alternative approaches to VI that enable inspection while maintaining production has the potential to increase production by up to £157 million per annum (@ $50/bbl).
Corrosion Under Insulation
CUI can be difficult to detect due to the insulation cover that masks the corrosion problem, and insulation removal is expensive. CUI can lead to unplanned downtime and raised potential for loss of hydrocarbon containment and associated risks.
Several technologies have demonstrated the potential for detecting CUI with minimal insulation removal, and while no single solution has been identified which would be applicable for all cases of CUI detection, the combination of various techniques, technologies and delivery platforms can offer potential improvements over current techniques.
Delivering economic benefit
For the period 2016 to 2021 it is estimated that the deployment of improved VI and CUI detection technologies could deliver an industry net economic benefit of approximately £140 million. If this time period is extended to 2025 the total potential net gains (i.e. factoring in the cost of deployment of these technologies) are estimated to be in the order of £700 million.
Asset Integrity Theme Landscaping Study
In the critical area of asset integrity, Oil & Gas UK commissioned Lockheed Martin on behalf of the MER UK Technology Leadership Board to complete a study to raise awareness of the array of technologies that could deliver safe and effective improvements in efficiency.
The report focuses on two key areas: the inspection of pressured systems including process vessels and managing corrosion under insulation of onshore and offshore structures.