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UK industry seminar on integrity management of unbonded flexible pipelines and risers, hosted by HSE

Venue: Macdonald Pittodrie House Hotel, near Inverurie, Scotland on 27 November 2008

A sellout! HSE would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to the success of this seminar


Seminar delegates

HSE were very encouraged by the industry response to our proposals to host a seminar on the integrity management of flexible pipelines and risers. There was extensive interest in the subject and during registration we received well over 150 requests from individuals to attend. We managed to increase the numbers slightly to accommodate demand but in the end were limited to a maximum of 120 delegates.

The seminar attracted interest across a broad range of interested parties with representation from 22 pipeline operator companies, 4 unbonded flexible pipeline manufacturers’ 3 Independent Competent Authorities (Offshore Verification Scheme); 3 government bodies (Department for energy and Climate Change (DECC), PSA Norway and HSE), 16 consultant/contractor companies and 5 other miscellaneous organizations.

Seminar audience

The seminar in perspective

In her opening presentation Susan MacKenzie, Head of HSE’s Specialised Industries Division said that the seminar offered a unique opportunity to share experience and learn from each other and not simply from our own mistakes. However, she qualified that by saying,

"Learning is not just achieved by identifying best practice but also by having processes in place to enable learning to be embedded."

This was also a key finding within the HSE Offshore Division Asset Integrity Key Programme (2004–2007) KP3 report

Susan ended her presentation with a thought provoking quotation by the French Romantic Composer, Louis Hector Berlioz,

"Time is a great teacher unfortunately it kills all its pupils"

A reminder of the background to the seminar can be found in the programme booklet

Presentations and Q & A audio clips

Links to each of the Powerpoint presentations (PDF format) can be found via the seminar timetable below as well as links to audio files (MP3 format) covering the associated end of presentation Questions & Answers sessions.


All the presentations were very well received and stimulated much debate and discussion throughout the day.

Following the seminar we have received much positive feedback from delegates as follows:

HSE’s future plans in this topic area

HSE has put significant resources into raising awareness and encouraging sharing of learning and experiences in relation to the integrity management of unbonded flexibles. We intend our Gas and Pipelines Unit pipeline inspectors to retain a priority focus in this area, engaging with pipeline operators and other key industry stakeholders in the pursuit of improved compliance with industry good practice.

Our Pipelines Topic website contains further HSE guidance in this area.

Seminar timetable

Time Event Presenter
09.00-09.30 Registration and Coffee All

Introduction and Background*

In her opening presentation Susan MacKenzie, Head of HSE’s Specialised Industries Division, highlights that the seminar offers a unique opportunity to share experience and learn from each other and not simply from our own mistakes. However, knowledge on its own is not enough and she stresses the importance of embedding such learning back at the workplace. Susan also provides an overview of the key issues and background which prompted HSE to arrange the seminar then concludes her presentation with a thought provoking quotation by the French Romantic Composer, Louis Hector Berlioz - ‘Time is a great teacher unfortunately it kills all its pupils’
Perspective from Norway/Update of Standards

Norwegian Perspective on Integrity Management of Unbonded Flexibles*

The Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway has organized two previous landmark industry seminars in relation to Flexible pipeline systems; one in 2001 and more recently in 2007, looking into the key challenges in a number of specific areas. Overall the view from the seminars is that experience from operation of flexible pipes indicates that the learning curve is still steep. Kjell Arild Anfinsen in his presentation revisits these challenges and who should be responsible according to each of the specific Norwegian Petroleum Regulations. In concluding his presentation, Kjell provides a graphical overview of the major incident statistics for flexible risers within the Norwegian sector (between 1998 and 2005) with a final message on the importance of the need for continuous and effective integrity management and more openness and sharing of experience across industry. 

Update on Revision of API/ISO standards and UKOOA Guidance

The current Industry initiatives on unbonded flexible pipeline standards and guidance are important areas of work currently being taken forward as Joint Industry Projects (JIPs).. Michael O’Sullivan from MCS in Galway presents an update on the JIP’s covering the revision and update of the API  (American Petroleum Institute) Standards & UKOOA (United Kingdom Offshore Oil and Gas Industry Association) Guidance,with particular emphasis on the aspect of integrity management. Michael firstly looks briefly into the background to the JIPs, and then moves on to to describe the detailed objectives and current status for each. There is significant international recognition in the need for the work within a climate of continually evolving state of the art technology; new challenging environments; and significant operational learning and experience. This is truly an international and global initiative.
10.45-11.05 Coffee Break
Failure Modes and Integrity Monitoring Practice

Integrity Monitoring and Failure Modes of Flexibles

The key focus of Jan Muren’s presentation is on knowing the ‘important’ failure modes and managing integrity which together should lead to safer operation of unbonded flexible riser and pipelines. Jan begins by providing an overview of the main operational failure modes experienced to date but then concentrates in more detail on a number of key focus areas: O2 corrosion; and Hydrogen Induced Stress Cracking (HISC) and looking at possible options to avoid and/or manage these problem areas. Jan concludes his presentation with a look at information handling requirements within an effective integrity management system and the need for such systems to be fully integrated with other company systems.
4Subsea AS

Flexibles Integrity Management – A Manufacturer’s Perspective

In this presentation, Eric Binet reinforces that Flexible Riser Integrity Management is a complex process involving many interfaces and many different organisations and people. Technip believe that to ensure delivery of asset life expectations and to add value to the process then Riser Integrity Management (RIM) should be integrated as an overall service under the management and control of one company, but on the understanding that every player involved must fulfil its role. This is the model that Technip employ and Eric gives an example of this RIM system in action as part of the recent Dalia project. The presentation also briefly covers some of Technip’s current flexible pipeline monitoring technologies.  
Research & Development (Inspection & Monitoring, New Technology)

Application of Acoustic Sensors and Strain Sensing to data acquisition on flexible pipes

Monitoring & Measurement is core to Research and Development (R&D) of Flexible Risers; gathering as much data as possible from full scale destructive testing is essential as you don’t have the opportunity to try again! Steve Mills and Andy Roberts, in their joint presentation, cover their recent use of acoustic sensors and strain sensing techniques within the following key areas: Burst Qualification to API (American Petroleum Institute) requirements; Non standard prototype Tension-Tension Destructive tests; Small scale creep monitoring – gap span testing; and Integrated fibre optic strain monitoring - using full scale tests on samples with fibre optic cables in the Flextensile and Pressure armour layers.

Advances in Fibre Optic Condition Monitoring of Flexible Pipes

Under the theme of Integrity Management Nick Weppenaar from NKT Flexibles presents details of the latest advances in the NKTF optical monitoring system (OMS), highlighting the present and future monitoring possibilities of this technology. He also gives examples of how during the last 10 years, optical monitoring of flexible pipes has moved from ‘proof of concept’ to field installations. Nick demonstrates how the latest developed technology within optical fibre monitoring can be used to quantify the integrity of flexible pipes during their service life.
12.45-13.30 Lunch Break

Update on HOIS JIP work and MAPS stress measurement system to monitor armour wire integrity and detect failed wires

This joint presentation by Martin Wall of ESR Technology and John McCarthy of MAPS Technology provides an update on the HOIS* Joint Industry Project (JIP) related work on flexibles. This includes coverage of a series of trial and evaluation work between 2004 and 2007. The MAPS-FR technology is based upon the MAPS stress measurement system (patented magnetic method of stress measurement) and the company are about to supply a prototype monitoring system to Petrobras for installation offshore next month. This new inspection technology can monitor the integrity of the armour wires of flexible risers and detect failed wires.

*HOIS is a key industry forum for discussing inspection issues and utilising improved inspection technology for applications in oil and gas. The acronym itself is widely used in the offshore industry without reference to its original definition (Harwell Offshore Inspection Service).
13.55- 14:20

Flexible Riser Inspection Tool

Innospection Ltd. has been developing and performing specialised eddy current inspection solutions and services since it was established in 1999. In this presentation Andreas Boenisch begins with a brief background of the eddy current technology & principles and then describes how it is being developed for the inspection of unbonded flexible risers. He then covers details of the significant work in feasibility testing that has already been undertaken and provides an overview of some of the next phases in tool/inspection development work – including an insight into the full encircling Innospection Flex Riser Inspection tool. Andreas concludes by setting out some of the main features and advantages of eddy current technology in this area.
14.20-14.40 Tea Break

Annulus Integrity Management – A New Approach

In this presentation John Marsden from Flexlife introduces his company’s novel approach in dealing with the flooding of a flexible pipe annulus. Flexlife’s ‘state of the art’ methods involve three main patented tools; annulus scanning; a fully dynamic, modular outer sheath repair tool; and a tool for subsea vent valve replacement. The overall aim is immediate notification of annulus flooding, a better understanding of fluid build-up in the annulus due to condensation, effective repair and ongoing safe operation of the flexible pipe without replacement.
Flexible Pipelines and Risers – Experience from projects and operations

Flexible Riser Integrity Management Experiences from the West of Shetland

One of the most unique aspects of the West of Shetland operation, in comparison with other North Sea installations, is the significant water depths involved. The Petrojarl and Schiehallion FPSO’s (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel) have unbonded flexible pipeline systems operating at depths between 330 and 520m of water. Having set the scene and the challenge of the location and environment, David Kaye continues in his presentation to provide an overview of what have been the key integrity management issues faced by the pipeline operator during the 250 or more riser-years of operation in both fields. The specific areas covered include: monitoring of bend stiffeners; annulus monitoring issues; fatigue prediction and management; and marine growth.

Flexible Riser Integrity Management Experiences from the Uisge Gorm

The FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel) Uisge Gorm was operated by Bluewater between 1995 and 2008 covering the Fife, Fergus, Flora and Angus fields in the North Sea and utilizing unbonded flexible pipeline systems. Having established the location and background to the installation, Gus Chown continues in his presentation to describe the details of the riser release incident which occurred in July 2007. He then continues to provide an overview of the significant work undertaken as part of the Recovery Project operation to assess the condition and provide assurance of continued fitness for purpose of all risers on the installation. This work was undertaken with a view to recommencing production – which was eventually achieved for only some of the risers, approximately 6 months after the incident.
Summing Up

Final questions and discussion

16.10-16.15 Closing of Seminar HSE

* No audio link available for these sessions.

Updated 2012-10-05