Pipetech has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Frank Andersen as general manager Scandinavia.
Frank, who brings more than 10 years oil and gas experience to Pipetech, will be based at the firm’s Stavanger hub. He joins the company from GS-Hydro Norge AS where he most recently held the role of business development manager and key account manager. Previous to this, he worked in various sales and management positions at three different IKM companies.
Pipetech has seen its presence in Scandinavia grow in recent years and has successfully completed projects for key industry players including Statoil, ConocoPhillips, Wintershall, AkerBp and Preem. In his new position, Frank will be responsible for leading Pipetech’s Scandinavian business operations, as it looks to grow its onshore and offshore services.
Eric Doyle, Pipetech UK managing director commented: “Frank’s breadth of experience in the oil and gas market, as well as his extensive local network in Norway made him the perfect fit for this role. His drive and vision for Pipetech is exciting to see and we look forward to expanding our Scandinavian business in the coming months.”
Mr Andersen commented: “I’m eager to be joining a company with such ambitious growth plans for the future. Pipetech’s solutions-based approach to process system integrity challenges and the senior management team’s passion for innovation is what attracted me to the role.”
Founded in 2001, the company’s sole focus is expert integrity solutions for offshore and in industrial services. Pipetech has an experienced, nimble and responsive team which mobilises rapidly to tackle flow and blockage problems to maximise efficiency and prevent downtime of oil and gas assets, industrial power plants and refineries.
At Pipetech we make it our mission to ensure our clients have the absolute peace of mind that their issues are in good hands and will be solved with high speed and high quality. So it makes me particularly pleased to announce that we have just been recognised as meeting the requirements of two international Management standards – ISO9001:2015 and ISO14001:2015.
What do these standards actually mean in practice? Well, the first of these, ISO9001, is an accreditation for Quality Management Systems. While we’re very proud of the team’s hard work in achieving this recognition, I have to say that the processes and standards that the accreditation values are ones that we have lived and worked by at Pipetech since day one.
If you take a look at the principles of ISO9001 you’ll see that the first one is “Customer Focus”. This demands that organisations should understand current and future customer needs, meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations. At Pipetech our fundamental drive is to ensure our clients receive a service like no other. And we weave this commitment into the daily specifics of what we do for our clients. For example, we have always focused on quality objectives for our clients – we believe our customers should have the best possible choice of solutions and direct access to the highest-quality service in industrial process system cleaning. This latest 2015 update of the ISO9001 standard also requires organisations to assess risks and opportunities, something that we have always taken particular care to do at every level and in every area of our business. In fact, we measure ourselves by our code and commitment to our clients – Cleaner, Faster, Smarter.
Looking now at the second standard we have achieved, ISO14001, this is designed to recognise exceptional performance in the area of Environment Management. Why is this such an important accreditation in our field? It matters because it reflects the work organisations do to minimise how their operations negatively affect the environment. It shows how serious we are about improving resource efficiency and reducing waste. Most importantly of all, it demonstrates the value we place on continually improving our environmental performance. We set our own targets and performance measures, and strive to meet those goals, and to monitor and measure the situation in future.
So although these are proud achievements for Pipetech, in many ways it’s also very much “business as usual” but we must now strive to improve further. These certificates reflect the everyday quality of the work we do and, the very high levels of service in industrial process system integrity that every single one of our clients can expect from us.
To help operators avoid resorting to the costly and risky removal and replacement of pipe work affected by unwanted residues and debris, pipeline and process systems cleaning services are now using innovative new technologies to quickly clean and restore pipework back to normal, workable state.
Pipetech, the independent pipe and process cleaning solutions specialist based in Aberdeen and Stavanger, is expanding its services and equipment portfolio to tackle flow and blockage challenges at oil and gas assets and industrial power plants and refineries.
The company’s pipe cleaning services now go beyond traditional pipe and process systems to overcome stubborn and potentially harmful cleaning problems in tanks, vessels and other system elements, and align itself more directly with client demands and challenges. This will encompass the use of chemical cleaning treatments for small bore piping for example, for use in industrial sites as well as targeting flow and blockage problems in subsea and well environments. The company is enhancing its business strategy to be seen a single-source solution for pipe and process cleaning challenges.
Bespoke cleaning solutions
One such innovation is the development of a novel Deep Water Cleaning System (DWCS) (figure 1) for subsea infrastructure. It recently secured its second deployment to clean a blocked 2” pipeline in a West of Shetland asset. It follows a successful test run at Pipetech’s facilities where the pipe’s conditions were replicated and the blockage was safely removed using the DWCS.
Figure 1: The Deep Water Cleaning System eliminates the need for costly and intrusive and prolonged repairs
The DWCS was previously deployed in a £1.2 million campaign by a major operator to successfully clear a blockage in a subsea manifold in a development in the Norwegian North Sea.
The DWCS comprises a range of topside and subsea equipment. A high-pressure water supply from topside, vessel or rig is routed via a downline to the DWCS and its unique hose and nozzle arrangements. The innovative water-jetting technology uses no chemicals, only water, to clean any subsea system such as manifolds, trees and pipelines to its original state thereby reducing downtime.
For common problems, such as a stuck pig, the DWCS eliminates the need for intrusive and prolonged repairs, often involving the cutting of pipes or hoisting devices to recover pigs, by simply flushing it away.
A cost-effective alternative to conventional cleaning systems
Pipetech continues to deploy its conventional cleaning technologies such as the Aqua Milling® system (figure 1). This is extremely efficient at cleaning pipework without causing any damage or affecting integrity. The advanced, remotely operated system is often the only alternative to replacing piping systems and can be achieved at a fraction of the cost.
The company was recently commissioned to remove unwanted pipe debris from the pipework system of a gas terminal. After a detailed feasibility survey, Aqua Milling® was used to clean the entire 210 metres length, comprising 48 directional changes and ranging in diameter from 6” to 20” I/D.
The technology has a proven track record for its ability to reach up to 600 metres in a straight line and if including bends, can negotiate around fifteen 90o degree elbows or 20 directional changes, often where pigging tools are unable to negotiate. It provides an unrivalled 360° clean of the inner pipework walls using a selection of 2,000 fixed nozzle configurations to suit the level of cleaning required, the size of the pipework, and the type of debris to be removed.
The cleaning technology can also be used for waste removal and cleaning inside process vessels and tanks. In addition, the Pipeline in Operation (PIO) unit can clean inside pressurized environments. Its objective is to tackle flow and blockage problems to maximize efficiency and prevent downtime at oil and gas assets, industrial power plants and refineries.
Precision testing, cleaning and inspection
Prior to this and any project, Pipetech technicians and specialists perform a sample test on a section of pipework to be cleaned (figure 2). This normally involves a boroscope camera inspection to ascertain the scale and severity of the scale or debris to be removed but is not always a pre-requisite. Thorough examination is also used to select nozzle configurations, pressure requirements, hose deployment and rotational speed to achieve the optimum cleaning solution for efficient project execution.
Figure 2: Thorough testing and inspection is carried out on a sample section at Pipetech’s facility prior to executing the full scope of work
An Entry Point Alignment Tool (EPAT), designed by Pipetech, was attached to the flange at several points along the pipe with a blind flange attached to the opposing end. This assembly acts as a manifold to control and safely distribute recovered waste and ensure the Aqua Milling® hose and nozzle are fully enclosed (figure 3).
Figure 3: The enclosed EPAT safety system on the Aqua Milling® system
Using pressure, high flow and a twister system to spin the hose, the nozzle can typically rotate between 10 rpm to 300 rpm and can apply high pressure water at approximately 950 bar applying around 35 m/s of water velocity (around 200 litres of water per minute) at the nozzle exit with a density of 1,000 kg/m3 on the inside of the pipework in opposing directions without inflicting damage.
Aqua Milling® nozzles, with rear facing jets, use both sea and unsalted water to remove debris from the line. The technology offers different configurations of forward facing nozzles with side facing, polishing forward facing cuttings heads to remove blockages. Wastewater is then removed through the EPAT device.
The speed of operation can vary from one inch to one foot per minute depending on the severity and scale of the material or debris to be removed. Typically, two runs of the Aqua Milling® process are performed in each direction on each spool or pipe section, However, only one deployment in and one outward is typically good enough for ultra-sonic inspection data to be achieved. If any residue remains after inspection a repeat run can be carried out and a final inspection made (figure 4).
Figure 4: The project was completed in 20 days with six Pipetech personnel working shifts across 24 hours
The closing inspection revealed that the majority of pipework and elbows showed no or small traces of material remaining. This was then deemed intact and stable, and not sufficient enough to cause any consequential damage, such as plugging of the system strainer or anti-surge valve. Significant cost savings and environmental benefits were achieved for the client by eliminating the need for chemical flushing due to the significant cleaning performance of Aqua Milling® (figure 5a and b).
Figure 5a and b: A before and after picture of manganese oxide scale which was removed by Pipetech from a manganese ferroalloy plant in Norway
Triumph where others fail
In another project using the Aqua Milling® system, Pipetech cleaned residual scale from a 24”, 250 metre length of offshore export line prior to ultra-sonic inspection. This involved negotiating ten bends of varying diameters and concentrated cleaning of up to 80 metres around the splash zone. The line was cleaned at an average rate of 20 metres per hour with a final clean using a polishing side bias nozzle. Pipetech adopts a step-wise procedure for complex pipework such as this, monitoring friction loads throughout all operations to ensure the hose and nozzle can easily be retrieved. The project was completed in seven days.
The technology can also be used to remove problematic corrosion. In one such project, Pipetech reacted to a quick call-off to remove corrosion from inside three sounding lines, which led into ballast tanks. This was restricting the inside diameter of the pipework, which could potentially create a blockage. Other traditional systems had previously attempted and failed. The line was accessed via 2” restricted entry point opening to a 12” inner diameter pipe, comprising of a number of complex bends. Within four hours, Aqua Milling® specialists had polished and returned the full diameter of sounding line and the inner walls back to bare metal.
A deeper, cleaner future for pipework
Pipetech has also recently won a number of industrial services contracts, including its first contract in Sweden for a major oil refinery. This is the largest project in Pipetech’s history having cleaned various pipework systems across nearly 10km. The organization plans to continue its expansion into international markets across Scandinavia and Holland.
Pipetech is focused on achieving industrial cleaning excellence and aims to provide a service and solutions package that is unparalleled. Use of the Aqua Milling® technology and the DWCS has reaped significant financial, environmental and logistical rewards for operators.
What’s your education background?
I attended Dyce Academy and went on to Robert Gordon’s University where I studied Construction Design and Management. I later studied a Master of Science in Project Management through distance learning and graduated in 2013 after receiving a merit in year one.
What did you enjoy most about university?
In third year I decided to study in Copenhagen for six months through Erasmus exchange which I really enjoyed. I was working within the Copenhagen Technical Academy as part of a team of other students. It was very multicultural; working with other nationalities provided an insight in to diverse working techniques and experiences. We had to deliver a project from start to finish and it was a real test of our skills. Everything has to be considered, architecture, electrics, mechanics and deliver the project at the end. It was a brilliant experience and the hard work paid off as I was awarded with the best student in my year.
What was your first job after graduating?
I started working at Stewart Milne Timber Systems in 2007 as an assistant project manager. I worked on a lot of different projects so I was out on the road a lot, dealing with customers and visiting sites in the central belt.
It was really good place to start because a lot of what I learnt there, I was able to take into roles later on in my career that weren’t based in construction. I was involved in finance and commercial aspects which I didn’t have any experience of before so I really learned my trade there.
Can you describe your current role?
I joined Pipetech in 2014 as operations manager to set up the UK business in Aberdeen. The company is an independent pipe and process cleaning solutions specialist. It was a start-up then, so it was all hands on deck and I was excited to be part of something new. I enjoyed the feel of the smaller team and it was easier to see the impact my work made on every day operations. I got heavily involved in business development for the company while also managing the integration of Pipetech with its parents company, aligning the processes between Pipetech UK and our Norwegian counterpart.
I’m responsible for managing all UK awarded work from inception to completion, overseeing every aspect of delivery. The company has grown rapidly in the last three years so it certainly keeps me busy! I work closely with clients to research and engineer a tailored solution for them as well approaching new markets for opportunities. No day is the same as we often receive very challenging work scopes, so it is my job to find the answer to their problem. I compile tender submissions and support on the execution of documentation, financial tracking and ensure work is delivered on time, to a high standard.
We’re all about delivering excellence and there is no better feeling than seeing a job from start to finish and getting great feedback at the end of it. I work closely with our team in Norway and often travel there to meet with the operations team and work on new projects together, so it’s great to feel part of a wider team.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I contribute to the development of new products and technology which is always exciting. I support from the inception phase, looking at different concepts, what’s already in the market and then go through the patent process. We’re all about finding new solutions and pushing the boundaries at Pipetech so if we don’t have the answer, we’ll find it. There’s a real buzz within the business as everyone is so passionate about what we’re doing which is why I love my job so much.
I also enjoy the diversity of my job. Pipetech offers services across a number of areas including offshore rigs, gas terminals and onshore refineries so no project is ever the same.
What is one of your career highlights?
Within my first few months at Pipetech I designed and managed the fabrication of a bespoke pipework unit which is now regularly used to showcase the full capability of Pipetech’s solution offering. I was really proud of this work and it’s rewarding to see this project still used as an example in demonstration days to bring in new business.
How did you end up in oil and gas industry?
Being born and bred in Aberdeen, I was always keen to get into the oil and gas industry. My plan was to do a couple of years of construction and then move into oil and gas and that’s exactly what I did! There are a lot of principles from construction which go straight into oil and gas so it always made sense for me to transition at some point. I joined RBG, an oil services company which was later bought by Stork. I started as an assistant project engineer which, at the time, was actually a step-back for me but I knew there was huge potential to grow within the company. I worked hard and within four years I was operations manager for the company.
How do you think the younger generation view the oil and gas industry?
In the last few years with the lower oil price there has been a lot of negativity around the industry. Some people think unless you’re an engineer, there isn’t a place for you, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The industry needs so many skills – HR, marketing, finance, there are many opportunities, it’s about finding the right one for you.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to enter the industry right now?
I would get yourself out there and look for the opportunities! Graduate programmes and apprenticeships are great because you’ll typically get experience in lots of different positions before settling in one. Also don’t be afraid to speak to people in the industry and attend events like Offshore Europe in September. You’ll see that oil and gas isn’t all doom and gloom, it’s an interesting industry so don’t discount it just because of the headlines you read. If anything, the challenging environment has spurred the industry to create better solutions and develop new ideas, so it’s a really exciting time to be a part of it.
What do you love most about working in the oil and gas industry?
I love how flexible it is as there is an acceptance to try different things, especially in today’s market. I think there is a perception that the industry is very traditional and old-school but there is a great deal of new technology being developed and new ways of working so you can learn so much entering the market at this time.
In my current role, I love working with my clients and helping them to find a solution for their problem. We have great relationships with a lot of suppliers and small companies which help us to get to the end goal.
How has Pipetech approached the low oil price environment?
Being a small team, we can react rapidly to things, more so than larger organisations, which is a valuable advantage to have. We’re also lucky to have huge amounts of experience within our team, with people who have worked in pipeline and process cleaning for many years.
Building strong relationships with our clients has proved invaluable as we work together on solutions so our clients know they can trust us. We provide a dedicated project lead for every job which is with the client from start to finish; they attend client meetings and then go on-site to complete the job so they have a full knowledge of the project requirements. For the client, this provides them with complete continuity and the knowledge that they know they jobwill be done cleaner, faster and smarter..