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OGTC backed project for TRAC & ToolTec reach key milestones

15th June 2018

The support from the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and industry partners has enabled both TRAC and ToolTec to push the boundaries with state of the art technology for remote subsea inspection solutions, combining the best cleaning technology and rigging deployment solutions.

Reducing inspection costs

Over the past eight months, TRAC and ToolTec have completed the first four phases of a major project, including onshore testing within an agreed timeline. The project is co-funded by the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and three major North Sea operators.

The aim of this project is to develop a subsea cleaning and inspection tool (‘Trac-Tec Tool’) that can be remotely deployed from the platform, to clean and inspect various, sizes and configurations of caissons and conductors in the area immediately above and below sea level or ‘splash zone’ negating the need for divers, ROVs and DSVs.

The splash zone area of a fixed platform presents a number of challenges for integrity management of caissons and conductors. The conditions in this area, being alternately wet and dry, make it more susceptible to atmospheric corrosion. The splash zone is also one of the most challenging locations to carry out inspection activities – the sea state and proximity to structures make it extremely hazardous for divers and challenging to operate an ROV.

Inspection of caissons and conductors in the area immediately above and below sea level or ‘splash zone’ of fixed assets is typically carried out by divers from a dive support vessel (DSV) or remotely operated vehicles (ROV) deployed from a vessel or the platform. The inspection activities are extremely challenging due to the sea state and proximity to jacket structure and the use of support vessels is expensive – a DSV is £100k per day. 

The priority was to identify the industry need, opportunities, risks, and key milestones pertaining to the further development of the subsea remote cleaning and inspection tooling in a bid to support the Technology Centre’s objective of reducing inspection costs by 50%.

This included the gathering of data to identify sizes, number of caissons and conductors, inspection requirements, types of defects and categories of repair to define scope of work with multiple North Sea Operators. Design and Manufacture phase was carried out earlier in the year with all the onshore testing completed the end of May.

This innovative solution will provide significant cost savings to the industry by eliminating the need for support vessels for caisson and conductor inspections. It is anticipated that the typical operational costs for this new system would be in the region of £4-5k per day, thus potentially offering up to 95% cost saving over traditional diver or ROV DSV based operations. In addition to the potential cost savings, the system will also allow higher quality inspection data to be obtained improving the integrity of caissons and conductors. This will enable more frequent inspection campaigns and the proactive development of appropriate and cost-effective remediation plans, if required.

Further updates will be provided at the next Asset Integrity members meeting at the Technology Centre but TRAC and ToolTec are satisfied with progress to date and looking forward to the offshore testing results.

This project will provide the following benefits to the industry:

•             Eliminate the high cost of Dive Support Vessels (DSV) to deploy an ROV or Divers

•             Improve the extent, quality and repeatability of inspection data

•             Extend the annual weather window to carry out splash zone inspection workscopes

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