With the desire of many countries to move away from Russia-supplied energy in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, there is talk of reactivating some dormant oil rigs and gas plants. Screening Eagle’s Peter Stenov, explains why the company’s inspection software and ultrasound technologies can help ensure these facilities are restored safely.
Energy security has been a hot topic for the past decade, but it has unquestionably assumed a higher profile following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. With many countries imposing sanctions and a lot of companies opting to halt operations there, it was inevitable that Europe’s dependance on Russian oil and gas would face renewed scrutiny.
The continent’s long-term shift away from Russian energy supplies to alternative sources is in little doubt. The EU has already signed a deal with the US to boost its importation of liquefied natural gas, and more agreements are sure to follow. But there is also debate about reactivating some dormant oil rigs and gas plants – a move that, in a lot of cases, will require operators to identify solutions for structural testing and repair work. Enter Screening Eagle and its versatile INSPECT building inspection software, discussed here by Peter Stenov, Vice President of European Software Sales…
Do you think there is a significant opportunity for Screening Eagle INSPECT in enabling older facilities to return to operation?
Yes, I do. Regarding oil, it’s a curious aspect of the industry that there has always been talk of it ‘running out in the next few years’. But that has not happened to date, and given the current concerns around energy security it’s to be expected that there is some exploration of whether dormant oil rigs can be reactivated.
There are challenges though, as I think that some rigs were built in the ‘70s on the premise that they would be only used for a relatively short time. It means there is a lot of work to be done to ensure they are structurally safe, which is where INSPECT intelligent inspection software comes in.
Focusing on oil rigs, what are the main applications for INSPECT?
There are quite a few. Evaluating the integrity of the support legs is one primary application. It’s very important to collect data about the stability of the supports as well as potential issues in the water or air ducts. Our software can also be used to help determine whether there are any issues with the post-tension cables. These cables are utilised in concrete construction to enable the deployment of thinner slabs and larger span lengths between the supports.
With the ability to seamlessly integrate into any inspection workflow, INSPECT makes it possible to gather and process a huge amount of information – and share it easily as needed. The result is that owners, inspectors and engineers can make well-informed decisions that help protect their assets long-term.
But INSPECT is not the only Screening Eagle solution that can help with restoring older facilities…
That’s right – we also have the Pundit range of ultrasonic pulse and echo solutions that provide information on the strength and uniformity of concrete, rock, composites and other materials. The Pundit solutions are ergonomic and portable, and they can make concrete inspections much less time-intensive.
I am also expecting our Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) solutions to be useful to those looking to reactivate older facilities. These products include the Proceq GPRs, which we believe to be the world’s first handheld and wireless stepped frequency continuous wave GPR solutions. They make it possible to undertake effective structural imaging, object and defect detection in concrete and asphalt.
Being certain that there are no structural defects is going to be a crucial part of restoring these facilities to full operational status, so I see a big role there for INSPECT, Pundit and Proceq.
Finally, do you think that the reactivation of dormant energy facilities could become a major part of your activities in the near-future?
Yes, I think there is huge potential there. We have been speaking to several operators and people are at different stages. Some are looking to restore older facilities, while others are intending to extend the life of facilities that were about to be decommissioned. So yes, I expect the number of enquiries relating to these sorts of projects to continue rising.