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MCS and Qserv Carry Out First Annulus Vacuum Test Outside North Sea

24 March 2009

MCS and Aberdeen-headquartered Qserv have carried out an innovative pipeline integrity service on the Mutineer and Exeter fields, offshore Western Australia, for Australian oil and gas major, Santos.

The contract, worth approximately $220,000 Australian Dollars, is the first time this vacuum testing technique has been used outside of the North Sea, where the technique is regarded as tried and tested technology and has saved operators millions of dollars. The scope of the contract was for four flexible risers and the vacuum testing was completed in mid October, 2008.

Following a study commissioned by UKOOA in 2001 on the causes of flexible pipe damage, MCS identified that annulus testing of flexible pipes was a valuable measure in monitoring integrity. They subsequently joined forces in 2007 with Qserv to develop an advanced range of vacuum testing equipment. The collaboration combines Qserv's reputation for delivering quality pipeline services with MCS' in-depth experience in flexible pipe integrity and analysis.

“Subsea riser systems are under threat of corrosion related fatigue and it is therefore critical to carry out testing to identify the risk and then design the appropriate repair work before any failure occurs,” says operations director Enda O'Sullivan, who leads MCS' Perth office.

“Our service allows clients to see the integrity status of a whole subsea system for the first time. Annulus vacuum testing identifies the potential threat and enables operators to take pro-active measures to plan repair work on pipelines leading to the obvious environmental, safety and cost benefits.”

O'Sullivan adds: ‘We are confident that this unique testing method will become a major part of our services in the Asia Pacific region. To this end we are organising a demonstration of the service in Perth for operators in this part of the world.”

A subsidiary of international energy services company, John Wood Group PLC, MCS is a subsea engineering company with offices in Galway, Aberdeen, Houston, Rio, Perth, Paris and Kuala Lumpur. It currently employs over 200 people and provides engineering solutions including riser design expertise, subsea integrity management and proprietary software, across a wide variety of projects worldwide.