by Roland Palmer Jones, Rosen Group, United Kingdom and Marc Baumeister, Rosen Group, Germany
Today, more than ever before, the pipeline industry faces a future of changes and uncertainty. Gas is increasingly important in the global energy mix, electricity is challenging the position of oil as a source of energy for transport, and safety expectations are increasing while existing infrastructure is aging.
Acting independently, companies active in the pipeline industry will never be able to effectively identify and address all these challenges. For example, managing the threat of stress-corrosion cracking in all its various forms has required service companies to develop reliable inspection tools, universities to provide fundamental understanding of the cracking mechanisms, and operators to implement and learn from mitigation strategies.
An example of a new challenge is the safe transportation of natural gas mixed with hydrogen from power-to-gas facilities, which will require an understanding of the effect of hydrogen on line-pipe materials, updating of failure consequence models, etc.
Multiple research associations in major pipeline-operating countries and regions have research and development programs targeted at this issue and the many other challenges faced by the industry.
Rosen Group, a globally active technology innovator, is fully aware of its responsibility to participate in and support these research activities.
The Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI), European Pipeline Research Group (EPRG), and Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) represent three of the largest internationally collaborating pipeline research institutions.
In 1996, Rosen joined the pipeline work group of the Gas Research Institute (GRI). Later, the GRI was transferred into the already existing PRCI and Rosen continued its membership within PRCI.
In 2001, the company became a member of the APGA, and at the beginning of 2017, it joined the EPRG as an active member and is engaged in contributing to the institution’s three main technical committees.
The tripartite collaboration of these institutions allows for the optimisation of their joint contribution to the pipeline industry and makes multiple synergies accessible – this is no surprise, given that often all of the research bodies address similar topics.
Therefore, it is worthwhile for service providers to be members of multiple research institutions and to contribute to their different branches, as it ensures the highest degree of collaboration. In addition, the knowledge resulting from the research projects is shared better across the industry.
Finally, a clear benefit for both the participating service providers and the industry at large is that internal developments by the member companies are better targeted toward the current demands of the pipeline industry.
This benefit is further supported by active networking between the member companies.
A key aspect of the collaborative research venture is the member companies’ support for the research institutions; their contributions add value to a variety of areas.
Over the years, Rosen has supported multiple projects. In future, active collaboration is expected to continue, depending on the demand of the projects.
As a globally active service company with particular strengths in inspection operations and integrity management, Rosen’s teams aim to use their position to evaluate the feasibility and long-term benefits of new ideas.
At a more practical level, ROSEN operates an extensive test field for the in-house testing and validation of inline inspection (ILI) equipment. This is normally applied to quality assurance and validation of the ILI tools and sensor technologies, but it can also be provided as a service.
The test field enables full-scale pull and pump tests for all available pipeline diameters starting at 2 inches (51 mm) and up to 64 inches (1,626 mm).
Recently, a new pull test rig was set up to enable a higher performance for speed pull tests with very high levels of drag force for larger tool diameters. This system allows pull tests from 2 inches to 64 inches diameter, drag forces up to 200 kN at tool speeds of up to 7 m/s.
In addition to these pigging-related test facilities, the Rosen’s test facility in the UK provides additional assessment services:
- pressure testing – pneumatic and flow drop testing, hydrostatic strength/proof and burst testing, cyclic pressure testing for fatigue and crack propagation
- mechanical testing – vibration testing, 3 and 4-point bending testing, tensile, crush and impact testing
- full-scale temperature testing – from –20°Celsius to 50°C
- environmental-exposure testing – accelerated aging with exposure of salt fog spray, UV radiation, condensation and freezer chamber
Active collaboration between research organisations, service providers, operators and regulators provides mutual benefits as projects can be supported and progressed with access to the extensive knowledge and infrastructure of all the member companies.
Service companies enhance their understanding of the pipeline industry’s demands and can thus address them more adequately.
Operators gain better insight into the service companies’ technical and practical capabilities and limitations, as well as the safety and efficiency improvements that are being developed. They also benefit from the opportunity to share best practices.
Regulators can influence the direction of research and gain an improved understanding of what is possible and what may be possible in the future while developing a trust-based relationship with operators and service companies.
In summary, active collaboration between member companies in PRCI, APGA, and EPRG as well as other research institutions supports the ability of the industry to continually improve the safe and efficient operation of pipelines throughout the world.
For more information on the company, visit the Rosen Group website.
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