The Oil & Gas Technology Centre – Open Innovation Programme – Call for ideas – Asset Integrity

Key Features

The Oil & Gas Technology Centre is calling for innovative ideas and concepts that will help radically transform how the oil and gas industry approaches pressure vessel and tank integrity and inspection. They have a total fund of approximately £1m which they are looking to distribute to form a portfolio of projects deliverable in a 6 – 24-month time frame. You can submit basic outline concepts or fully-fledged ideas.

Programme:     The Oil & Gas Technology Centre - Open Innovation Programme

Award:     A share of £1m

Opens: 5th Jun 2017

Closes: 30th Jul 2017

! This scheme is now closed

The Oil & Gas Technology Centre provide an industry-led, focused and flexible approach to enable and facilitate innovation between industry, academia and government to help maximise economic recovery from the UK sector of the North Sea.

Their Open Innovation Programme helps to identify, accelerate and deploy innovative technologies to unlock the full potential of the UK North Sea.  The centre works with the oil and gas industry, academic institutions and the wider technology community to deliver theme-based technology showcases, Tech Talks and workshops that inspire new thinking and collaborative innovation.

The Call for Ideas process is a key part of their Open Innovation Programme. It’s their primary means of reaching out to the technology community to identify, support and fund innovative solutions.
The challenge

The use of robotics for inspection is a rapidly developing phenomenon across several industries and has the capability to provide a safe and effective solution for maintaining and managing asset integrity.

The centre’s vision is to eliminate the cost impact of asset integrity on operational uptime by 2026 and is looking for robotic deployable technologies specifically directed at lowering the overall operational costs of performing, whilst at the same time enhancing, pressure vessel and tank inspections.

Challenge themes

Theme 1: The use of Robotics of Non-Intrusive Inspection

Process pressure vessels are used in processing oil and gas to meet delivery requirements. They are generally regarded as safety and business critical, and therefore knowledge of their condition throughout the asset life cycle is key to asset owners, operators and regulators.

Generally current industry practice involves a series of external inspections (e.g. visual, ultrasonic wall thickness mapping) and intrusive major inspections. External inspections, where insulation and PFP are present and there is an identified risk of CUI, can involve extensive preparations and reinstatement activities.

Intrusive major inspections require plant outage (loss of production), and extensive preparation and reinstatement activities that include subjecting personnel to entry into the confined space of the pressure vessel.

The usual technique for inspecting the internal condition of process pressure vessels involves full and secure isolation, gas-freeing and other safety precautions prior to an engineer entering. Typical tasks once inside the vessel include carrying out a visual or NDT inspection, taking digital images and using other instruments to make further measurements.

Although it is sometimes possible to obtain a thorough and detailed assessment of the vessel’s internal condition in this way, the necessary preparation and safety precautions are time-consuming and even with the most rigorous safety measures, entry to confined spaces is inherently hazardous.

Any technique that allows the vessel internal condition to be inspected or otherwise assessed without requiring anyone to enter has clear advantages with respect to reduced downtime (lost production), and improved safety. Further, any technique that allows the vessel internal and external (when hidden by insulation materials or PFP materials) condition to be assessed would have a transformational impact upon current industry practices.

Proposals are sought to address this challenge through the development of new technology or the use of existing technology to carry out inspection activities without opening the pressure vessel and without disturbing external coatings, insulation, or PFP.

For further information of this theme, click here.

Theme 2: The use of robotics for confined space entry

Problem Statement

Pressure vessel and tank entry may be necessary on occasion for inspection, maintenance and process purposes, which usually involves man entry which is inherently hazardous.

A safe work environment is fundamental to secure engagement and efficient operations; therefore, the time has come to challenge our methods of entering pressure vessels and tanks.

Pressure vessels and tanks may contain residual hazardous atmospheres, and hazardous substances directly related to oil and gas processing. In addition, they may also contain internal obstructions such as weirs, trays, vane packs, vortex breakers, and other such items commonly known as furniture.

Proposals are sought that enable safer and more efficient vessel and tank entry without the need for man entry.

For further information on this theme, click here.

Please note:

If your submission is selected for the develop stage, you will be invited to work with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre team to further develop your idea.  Much of this work may be carried out remotely, but you may need to be physically present in Aberdeen at certain times.