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Tracerco’s Discovery™ is the world’s only subsea CT scanner. Since performing its first full commercial scanning campaign in 2014; Discovery™ has continued to prove itself as an invaluable resource for flow assurance and asset integrity projects with thousands of successful subsea scans in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the Arabian Gulf.

Discovery™ was initially developed to allow an Operator to perform a nondestructive examination of a flowline with a blockage of an unknown composition and material. All previous remediation methods applied to this line had failed and the Operator needed accurate information on the nature of the blockage in order to design a suitable remediation strategy and enable it to be returned to service. As a non-intrusive, external inspection technology, Discovery™ does not affect the product flow (and is equally unaffected by a lack of product flow), therefore it could easily be utilised to inspect a blocked flowline. In addition, the method by which CT scanning works means that everything within the CT scanner field of view is scanned and therefore can be measured i.e. a single scan with Discovery™ can provide information on the pipe wall thickness and coating condition, as well as information on the fluid inside the pipe.

Concluding in 2014, the first Discovery™ scanning campaign was extremely successful, with both the positions and different materials making up the blockages accurately located and identified. One of the Operators Senior Pipeline Integrity Engineers commented that “In just one 10-minute scan, Discovery™ has shown me more about the condition of this pipeline than I have obtained from all of my modelling over the last three years”. In addition, Discovery™ was able to provide the Operator with wall thickness measurements for the remaining pipe wall, giving the Operator the confidence that the pipeline would be able to withstand an aggressive remediation campaign. Since this time, the Operator has been able to decommission their blocked flowline whilst Discovery™ has gone on to perform thousands of scans for a wide range of Operators.

Being able to perform both flow assurance and asset integrity scans in a single inspection campaign has many benefits to an Operator. With many inspection campaigns being designed upon the basis of flow modelling, flow assurance data from previous inspections can be used to help develop the model, allowing an Operator to further refine and target future inspection campaigns. Furthermore, as Discovery™ is able to provide real time images of the scanned system, it can allow an Operator to actually visualise the flowing conditions within the pipe by showing the formation and remediation of blockages as they occur within the system.

Written by Jennifer Briddon Integrity Engineer – Tracerco

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