Paragon Inspection Reveals Offshore X-ray Technology Plans

Paragon Inspection

Paragon Inspection plans to use x-ray technology to help monitor and maintain small bore tubing on offshore oil and gas installations. 

An Aberdeen-based technology startup, Paragon Inspection, plans to use x-ray technology to solve a major oil and gas industry headache.

Every year in the oil and gas industry, 20% of reported hydrocarbon leaks are caused by issues with connections on small bore tubing – a problem that has persisted for nearly two decades.

Small bore tubing carries fluids and gases, including hydrocarbons, as part of the instrumentation and control system.

In 2017, more than 14 million barrels of oil equivalent of production occurred, with small bore tubing largely at fault.

Assessing the integrity of tubing and joints is extremely difficult and requires disassembly, shutting lines, isolating, purging the system and then extensive re-assembly and pressure tests.

David Phin, CEO at Paragon Inspection, explained: “This process takes 50 steps over two shifts, involving six people with sign off, permits, etc.”

This extensive process causes significant disruption right across the oil and gas industry, Phin added.

By using x-ray technology, however, the internal integrity of connectors could be assessed without disassembly and rigorous processes involving multiple people.

“In conventional radiography, two people are involved, setting up barriers, there has to be a safety area, they take the source, shoot, process the film and interpret the images,” Phin said. “It can take hours and has never been feasible offshore with the volume of connectors.”

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Paragon already uses X-ray technology in other sectors to classify metals, particularly in recycling. However, in this instance, the company will use its technology to observe problems inside connectors.

The technology and interpretation software proposed for offshore use is integrated into a hand-held device that encloses emitted energy so it can be safely deployed – with little impact on production.

The OLEG system (On-site Low Energy Gauging) uses low energy X-ray radiation to pass through the connectors and a detector on the other side detects the transmitted X-rays.

Phin commented: “Our patented device can be used on a live stream. The device can be used by one person in seconds with no safety barriers required, reducing risks of leaks and downtime. It also means companies will have the information they need to not just assess the current integrity, but also predict future problems before they happen.”

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