Exova invests in new IUT capabilities

Exova, the world’s largest dedicated testing group, has made a significant investment in its weld testing capability in Europe, strengthening the servicing offering to its oil and gas industry.

The 205k € investment in the Netherlands’ Spijkenisse lab will mean that Exova can offer an enhanced Immersion Ultrasonic Testing (IUT) which forms part of Automatic Ultrasonic Testing (AUT) validation process, improving the accurate sizing and reduce the risk of missing defects in girth welds.

Sander van Nieuwenhuijzen, general manager of Exova in The Netherlands and Norway, said: “This new investment is part of a R&D and innovation programme that will keep Exova at the forefront of providing rigorous testing systems for the oil and gas industry, enabling customers to maintain their operations profitably.

“This IUT technique offers many benefits as part of the AUT validation in accordance with DNV OS-F-101 requirements. It can be applied for any kind of girth weld diameter up to 48” and any wall thickness, as well as any material, from carbon steel to corrosion resistant alloys.

“Ultimately it’s vital to prove that the AUT system that will be applied for Girth weld inspection is working in accordance with the project requirements and that any defect in the welds are detected, accurately located, sized and reported quickly. That’s why more customers are working with Exova, ensuring enhanced inspection detection and sizing capabilities. It brings them a confidence that the pipeline welds inspection methodology can secure the project quality and will result in a pipeline free of critical defects.”

The testing service is particularly relevant for discovering smaller defects as a result of the high accuracy robotics and enhanced immersive testing environment, which helps the industry to improve the determination of the probability of detection (POD) as part of any AUT validation.

An increased number of indications can be identified e, such as cracking, porosity, incomplete penetration, inclusions, lack of sidewall fusion, and related defects that can compromise the pipelines girth weld strength, at critical regions within the weld like Root & Cap areas.

This enhanced technology is currently being used to test welds on pipelines used in Chevron’s Gorgon Project, which is one of the world's largest natural gas projects and the largest single resource natural gas project in Australia's history.