Paul Cooper, CEO, Halfwave -the pipeline inspection company- speaks to Pipeline Magazine about operational excellence in inspection services
How do you ensure operational excellence during inspections?
It is a continuous effort that is never complete. Halfwave has policies and procedures in place for everything that we do to ensure that safety is always the first priority. We have zero lost time incidents to date, something we are very proud of but not complacent about. We realise our role as a key supplier to provide an outstanding safe and reliable service to our clients. Each member of the Halfwave team takes pride in maintaining our excellent HSEQ record and we know that it is due to diligent and strict compliances that we are where we are today. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, we have a well-documented non-conformity registration system were all employees are actively reporting observations on what areas we can improve on and the actions recommended.
What are the common practices in the inspection industry that fall short of standards?
One thing we notice is that the industry is not always open to new technologies and ideas. The industry needs to push the innovation envelope to improve technical safety of oil and gas infrastructure, reducing hydrocarbon leaks preventing injuries and environmental incidents. We encourage operators, and the supply-chain, to be visionary and explore new technology that will improve current standards and operational models.
What can be done to improve operational best-practices?
This has to be an ongoing focus area for the industry and it is so important that the tone of operational excellence is set at the top of the agenda, this requires a proactive focus to achieve. In any walk of life there is always room for improvement and we always strive to seek and explore what we can do better. The key is to keep learning and keep pushing to be better. That’s kind of the motto in the company where we are continuously learning and improving.
What special technology/service is used in your pipeline inspection work?
Acoustic Resonance Technology (ART) is a high resolution, direct measurement technology. The tool uses proprietary ultra-wideband acoustic technology for accurate inspection. The readings are approximately 5-10 times more accurate than traditional methods, depending on pipe wall thickness. ART is the foundation of Halfwave’s ART Scan and ARTEMIS tools. ART Scan is an in-line inspection tool that is capable of internally inspecting in liquid and in a gas pipeline without the need of liquid couplant.
The tool has a low drag due to its unique design where only the polyurethane disc and odometer is touching the pipe wall. It has an excellent track record in inspecting long distance gas transmission pipelines, passing multi-diameter bends and wye sections. The ARTEMIS is an ROV deployable pipeline ART inspection tooling that performs direct quantitative wall thickness measurements.
It is capable of doing so through thick subsea coatings such as fusion bonded epoxy, up to 5-layer PE and PP, and PU(F) with combined thicknesses in excess of 60mm and pipeline diameters that range from 6 – 18 inches. The speed of inspection is typically 15 minutes per spot to obtain 360° coverage (~700mm) reducing the cost of vessel time and coating removal. The technology has gained significant traction in the market and has a proven track record for inspection of coated rigid subsea piping down to 3000 meters. The system is now being further developed to provide its unique inspection technology on flexible pipe.