Equinor Takes Unique Concrete Scanner Offshore
The rolling ultrasound scanner was used to confirm the integrity of concrete-based structures.
Equinor is the first oil and gas operator to utilize a rolling ultrasound scanner to reveal the internal state of the concrete that makes up part of their offshore platforms.
The operation was performed at one of Equinor’s platforms on the Norwegian Continental
Shelf and used the Elop Insight, a scanner that uses real-time, 3D imaging to inspect, manage, and proactively monitor infrastructure health. The system was employed as part of Equinor’s strategy to increase effectiveness, speed of testing by using nondestructive techniques, increase inspection scope, and have thorough inspections.
“Equinor was very pleased with the scanning operation and the valuable insight it has provided,” said Emir Evlic, interim chief executive and head of sales at Elop Technology. “Being able to view deeper into concrete material is an enabler to increase safety, confirm integrity, and, if possible, extend the lifetime of existing offshore platforms.”
The scanning operation was conducted by life cycle extension specialist Linjebygg, which performs inspection and maintenance works for Equinor on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
Linjebygg used the compact (295×200×150-mm) rolling ultrasound scanner in the survey. The system has a depth range of up to 200 cm and a scanning speed as high as 50 cm/sec.
“The knowledge gained from the operation was very good,” said Terje Ertvaag, senior engineer at Linjebygg. “We could clearly see the tendon ducts under the heavy reinforcement, in some places even two layers. These are located at approximately 30–40 cm depth, which is substantially deeper than we have been able to see when using other inspection tools.”
The scanner is designed to quickly inspect and assess large surface areas. The live 3D visualization of the concrete structure on the scanner screen provides a real-time interpretation of the concrete’s internal state, including elements and defects such as cracks, air pockets, voids, delamination, and rebars.
“Although our scanning technology has been used extensively on land, this is the first time it has been applied on an offshore platform,” added Evlic. “Still, the same principles apply. Instead of using a point scanner, we utilize a rolling ultrasound scanner which allows much quicker scanning of large surface areas.”
Historically, the Elop technology has been used to confirm the integrity of land-based concrete structures such as tunnels, dams, and nuclear power plants.