Offshore site visit

Written on mai 12 2023

The first target segment for our technology is offshore oil and gas production. This is only natural, since Nicoustic is a result of R&D cooperation between Equinor and Fraunhofer IKTS and is based on an industry challenge.

There are many vessels offshore where non-intrusive level measurement makes sense: production and test separators, vessels in sand management systems, flare drums, MEG storage and regeneration tanks, and so on. A common feature for many of these vessels is that they are in constant 24/7 operation. It is only possible to open up and enter these vessels when production is stopped, normally only during a turnaround. A turnaround on an offshore platform happens once every 1-4 years. This means that there might be a long wait ahead if an instrument needs to be installed inside a separation vessel through a flanged connection. Turnaround time is also prohibitively expensive. A large offshore installation produces for tens of millions of dollars every day. Hence, a production stop means postponed production and lower facility utilization – huge cost impact for an operator. Installation of a non-intrusive instrument for level measurement can be performed when a vessel is in operation and thus outside of a turnaround and without impact on production. This is possible with Nicoustic non-intrusive level measurement technology, which can create great value for operator companies.

Some time ago Uwe Lieske and Jarle Haugness went on their first Nicoustic offshore site visit. Jarle has spent a large part of his 30-year career working offshore as an instrument technician and later engineer and project manager for instrument and automation projects. For Uwe, whose background is in R&D management and Guided Ultrasonic Waves research at Fraunhofer IKTS, it was the first time offshore. The Nicoustic team has unique competence profile, spanning from deep knowledge of acoustic measurement technologies to long experience with offshore projects. Together, we have the required skills to plan, engineer and conduct field instrument installation offshore, taking care of the entire project scope. Nicoustic has the resources and experience to do all the required engineering in-house and can also perform the offshore installation.

Uwe Lieske and Jarle Haugness in front of a production separator on an offshore platform.

The goal with this site visit was to prepare for a possible offshore pilot for our measurement system on one of the Equinor platforms on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Following extensive laboratory trials at Fraunhofer IKTS in Dresden as well as a technology qualification at the SINTEF Multiphase Flow Laboratory in Trondheim, this is the next natural step for our technology. Based on the findings made during the site visit, we created a Field Check Package (FCP). This is something we do at the start of every project in order to be able to scope all the engineering and installation work correctly.

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