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Tracerco's novel inspection techniques deployed subsea


Leading industrial technology specialist Tracerco, part of the Johnson Matthey group has developed its novel inspection techniques to provide a rapid, cost effective and reliable method to assist operators and integrity management companies with statutory and routine vessel condition assessment in a subsea environment.

The TRACERCO DiagnosticsTM Scanning techniques have been widely used for over 50 years in the process industry to define tank inventories and to locate gas/liquid interfaces, liquid/liquid interfaces and solid accumulations.

The inspection technologies are now available for subsea application, to provide accurate and fully reliable subsea measurements for vapour/liquid interfaces contained within Mid Water Arches, Buoyancy Tanks, Mooring Points and other such subsea equipment. Vessel integrity can now be determined real time via online measurements, which effectively make the vessel transparent thereby, providing "insight onsite".

The technique is non-intrusive and is easily deployable by diver operated or ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle). The detector (pictured below in Figure 1) feeds real time inspection data to the TRACERCO DiagnosticsTM engineer on the deck, where expert interpretation provides the client with instant feedback.

Midwater arches
[Figure 1: Tracerco detector fitted to ROV]

The detector is moved up and down the outside vessel emitting its signal through the vessel wall and into the stored medium. The resultant response signal provides an accurate profile of the content of the tank/vessel as shown in the diagram.

Detector response for vapour organic water

The highly sensitive and stable system produces a significant change in signal as it moves from the oil to water. A more prominent response is obtained for a vapour/liquid interface. This situation can occur when the integrity of the internal compartments is breached following any unplanned intervention or weld failure. The sensitivity is reliant on geometry of the detector and thickness of the vessel wall. Typically, the scan can accurately determine a level through up to 50mm of steel.

Matt Wilson, Tracerco's Global Subsea Development Manager said, "This unique Tracerco service should form an integral part of any offshore operator's inspection, repair and maintenance programme, guaranteeing asset integrity and therefore ensuring safe and reliable asset operation".

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