Global joint integrity specialist Hydratight is responding to the challenges of environmental security and maximising uptime by helping mining, energy and oil and gas companies achieve leak-free bolted joints and secure welded joints through on-site services and advanced technologies.
With the objective of achieving cost-competitiveness and production reliability in the face of intense global competition, companies are prioritising the need to avoid accidents and downtime.
For Hydratight, this means making or remaking tens of thousands of joints over weeks and months, and even working on a 24-hour-a-day job within a tight window of opportunity, says Hydratight’s Australian Commercial Leader, Mr Neil Ferguson.
For instance, a team of five Hydratight field service engineers worked day and night recently to perform the bolting scope of a shutdown on the CS1 metering station owned by one of the world’s top independent oil and gas exploration and production companies.
Hydratight was recommended for this scope by engineers for the company, whose staff had provided positive feedback from a previous scope of work completed by Hydratight on one of its Australian assets. The main scope on the new project was to isolate the plant and change out numerous valves, including four 16” x 1500# valves on the main export line.
According to Mr Ferguson, after two days working together during the day, the teams were split into day and night shifts with two engineers enduring the heat of the day and three others taking on the arduous night work. Both teams undertook 14-hour shifts so as to complete the scope in the given time and get the plant back online, while following rigorous quality and safety procedures including Hydratight and customer risk assessments.
The entire project was completed inside a week and positive feedback was received from the customer.
Hydratight estimates that up to 5% of flanged joints in a typical oil and gas plant may leak, and the escaping material can be highly toxic, highly inflammable, under high pressure and very dangerous.
Similarly, mining, mineral processing and chemical plants can face major environmental hazards if products are allowed to leak into surrounding communities or water tables, causing entire plant shutdowns in the worst case, and major loss of chemicals and product.
The issue of joint integrity has been highlighted by major expansion of resources projects throughout Australia, bringing a host of new facilities including processing plants, production storage and offloading facilities, platforms, terminals, pipelines, refineries and chemical plants.
Mr Ferguson explains that Hydratight joint integrity practices were developed in partnership with many of the world’s leading oil and gas companies, where joint security and leaks are critical issues, and are now being taken up by mining and energy industries, who are benefitting from the experience.
Over several years, bolting and jointing specialists such as Hydratight have developed systems for complete joint integrity assurance beginning at the joint design process, working through bolt loads and gasket materials, and following the jointing process from first-fit to final checks. Such systems are designed to create a leak-free joint from the first time it is made live, with every operation on every single joint recorded and reviewed.
Mr Ferguson says that simplicity, efficiency and checking and recording of joint integrity are essential to bolting jobs for industries such as mining, energy, oil and gas. Avoidance of downtime and injury hazards are also top priorities of a suite of new bolt security and welded joint products and services from Hydratight.
According to Mr Ferguson, software solutions can provide full accountability and measure, if records are properly maintained.
Hydratight has developed ground-breaking training systems for its own employees to guarantee safe and efficient working on-site. These are also now available through the company’s international network to bring global standards to all customers.