Successful implementation of the ultrasonic phased array inspection technique in an offshore installation in Brunei


    At a major petroleum company in Brunei, Radiographic Testing (RT) used to be the preferred NDT method for volumetric flow detection in welds during both onshore and offshore construction activities. Now, due to recent advancements in the technology, PAUT (Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing) was considered as a possible replacement for most RT activities.

    This technology uses multiple elements fired in quick succession to produce beams that can be steered, swept and focused electronically. Inspections across multiple angles are performed concurrently, creating significant cost savings and providing recordable results for further analysis and/or future inspections.

    Thanks to our worldwide experience in PAUT projects, Applus+ was chosen to execute a pilot scope for the petroleum company using this NDT method. A PAUT team from Applus+ was mobilised to an offshore installation belonging to the company.

    It is estimated that a full PAUT implementation will reduce inspection costs by 17% in the long term. However, the true savings from implementing this method will come from construction gains, as the absence of radiation hazards means that clashes with other construction activities are avoided. It is estimated that implementation of this method in the installation can reduce the shutdown duration for inspection by at least one day.

    The client was satisfied with the results of this first pilot project, so the first concentrated and second pilot implementation for PAUT will be starting in March 2020. Applus+ has developed proven and tested procedures for ultrasonic phased array inspections in cases like this.