Hydroblasting – a key part of the Offshore Asset Corrosion Prevention and Maintenance Strategy

WOMA – Australasia’s leading provider of Water Jetting, Vacuum extraction and related explosion protection technology offers a stable of robust, reliable and technically advanced selection of fabric maintenance systems to the market.  From industrial units designed especially for Hazardous environments in the oil and gas sector to units developed for under-slung carriage by helicopter in to the remote areas of Papua New Guinea, the team at WOMA ensure safety, reliability and robustness.  Recent developments in subsea and topside robotic automation have facilitated improved access, safety and productivity.

Marine and Offshore oil and gas structures are exposed to a variety of harsh environments that are extremely damaging to their protective coatings and combined with general operational damage – constant humidity with high salinity, intensive UV light and wave action in splash zones present the perfect conditions for enhanced corrosion. This combined with limited access and the logistical challenges of repair offshore and the ‘perfect storm’ can arise where operators may attempt to postpone coatings repair and renewal.

WOMA’s lightweight ATEX compliant hazardous areas Twin Pump Ultra High-Pressure hydroblasting unit in DNV certified Lifting frame with acoustic protection.

As time advances, another important factor is that a number of offshore structures are now working well beyond their planned lifespan, creating severe operational and maintenance challenges.

Generally, more recent developments and structures, are designed and manufactured with improved coatings systems, partially due to advances in coatings technology and partially due to an increased awareness from operators of the need for investment in effective coating protection.  However, recent cost-conscious developments have resulted in the development of structures being deployed with sub-standard coatings.

Spot corrosion resulting from mechanical damage to the substrate surface.

Whilst corrosion is inevitable in an offshore environment, it can be controlled via a planned fabric maintenance program with professionally applied engineered coatings systems.  The message is simple, invest in the very best coatings at manufacturing stage and back this up by a regular maintenance schedule.

Planned surface preparation and coating application campaigns ensure that the fabric maintenance program is successful.

The actual coating system or paint used on a typical offshore project is only a fraction of the total project cost. Other elements will include personnel and materials’ logistics, access systems and safety, lengthy surface preparation work and environmental considerations.

Typical tenders for contracts are now rarely based purely on cost, but take a contractor’s surface preparation methodology, coating application technology, training and safety records into account, as well as the proposed environmental and pollution control process.

The complexity of Offshore Oil & Gas facilities presents a complex fabric maintenance challenge.

Hydroblasting offers numerous benefits over traditional grit media blasting and mechanical abrasion technologies.  Hydroblasting is;

Safe – Hydroblasting doesn’t use any harmful chemicals or hazardous substances, which makes it completely safe for both surfaces and the environment.

Fast and effective – provided with the correct ultra-high-pressure pump systems coupled with effective manual, manipulator or robotic automation, it enables operators to remain safe and increasingly productive.

No surface damage – water jetted surfaces are not detrimented by the application of clean, potable water.  There is no deleterious erosion of the underlying substrate.  Previously applied profiles are enhanced enabling improved coating adhesion.

Effective on hard-to-reach areas – hydroblasting works at water’s molecular level and as such can effectively penetrate cracks, joins and other tight spaces commonly to offshore structures.

No particles or residue – potable water accelerated to 2500bar to 3000bar effectively removes corrosion, remnant coatings and surface chlorides deposited by the maritime setting.

Low emissions – water jetting is kind on the natural environment, it creates no dust and via gravitational recovery or vacuum encapsulation, enables the recovery of all debris during blasting operations and preparation of the surface for coatings.

WOMA’s ATEX compliant hazardous areas Vacuum Systems have a relatively small footprint and are housed in DNV certified Lifting systems to ensure safe deployment.

Today, personnel involved in the offshore coatings sector are well remunerated and trained, not only in preparation and application techniques but also in securing safe access to their work, whether this be through the application of manipulators and robotics or by scaffolding or rope access.

The best contractors have excellent safety and environmental records, will meet deadlines and stay within budget. They also keep abreast of the latest technologies to offer an ever-improving service to customers.  WOMA ensures that it maintains a close connection to these contractors to ensure that they apply leading edge solutions.

To offer the best possible all-round service, companies in this sector must offer the the very best surface treatment systems and state-of-the-art coatings.  Applying the most appropriate access and preparation technology underscores the success of the subsequently applied coating system.  Contractors must also ensure leading safety and environmental control.

WOMA (Australia) is a local Australian original equipment manufacturer that focusses on the provision of leading edge water jetting, vacuum, explosion protection, robotic automation technologies tailored to suit the demands of the Oil & Gas sector. E: hpwater@woma.com.au

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