Flexlife technician examining annulus testing kit

Flexlife technician examining annulus testing kit

FlexGuard ready for deployment

The system uses Flexlife’s ultrasonic technology and provides the operator with instant continuous monitoring of any subsea riser

01 July 2013

Flexlife, a specialist provider of flexible pipe technologies and engineering services, has successfully used its new integrity monitoring technology at Chevron’s Captain field in the UK North Sea.

FlexGuard is an early detection system for possible riser integrity issues, designed to provide continuous real-time data on the condition of flexible risers. With more than 3,000 risers in use globally and this number forecast to rise to 5,000 by 2015 and 35 per cent forecast to suffer some form of outer sheath damage, the cost savings and environmental benefits are immense.  

Since its inception in 2007, Flexlife has developed a range of patented technology with the aim of reducing the risk of costly equipment failure.

Luke Wilkinson, project manager and principal engineer at Flexlife said: “We were invited by Chevron to trial the FlexGuard technology on the 10” flexible riser at the Captain FPSO (floating production, storage and offloading vessel). A bespoke FlexGuard clamp had to be designed and manufactured to fit the riser. This was installed on the 10” riser 40 m below the water line during the initial phase of the project in June 2012.

“Data produced showed that the annulus was not flooded where the FlexGuard module was installed and therefore had not been exposed to oxygenated seawater which could cause corrosion of the riser’s structural steel wires.

“The trial delivered proof of concept of the product as an early detection system for potential riser integrity issues. FlexGuard is now at a market-ready stage and suitable for commercial deployment.”

FlexGuard incorporates Flexlife’s patented non-invasive, award-winning ultrasonic (UT) scanning technology in the form of a lightweight collar permanently fitted to flexible risers. 

The new monitoring tool provides the operator with instant, continuous monitoring of any subsea riser. This information can be acquired remotely from any location in the world – ensuring a failsafe early warning system providing major cost and safety benefits. The system can be installed either during installation or by retrofit to risers already in operation in the field.

FlexGuard forms part of Flexlife’s unique suite of flexible pipe products and services, which also includes annulus testing, FlexGel and Armadillo. The company has established itself as a market leader in flexible pipe annulus testing, providing conclusive test results for more than 200 risers globally with its portable testing kit.

Flexlife has a team of more than 100 subsea engineers and support staff. Alongside its global base in Aberdeen, Scotland, the company also has bases in Newcastle and Houston.

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