OTC winner: System keeps an eye for corrosion at 12,000 feet

One of 13 winners of the Offshore Technology Confernce’s Spotlight on New Technology award.

By Tanya Rutledge
Special to The Houston Chronicle

Norway-based ClampOn AS perfected its system for monitoring pipe corrosion and erosion about five years ago. But making that technology work in as much as 12,000 feet of water proved a bigger challenge.

“Not only is it less complicated to install topside (on land), it’s easier to work on,” said Hans Wagner, president of ClampOn Inc. in Houston. “Taking it subsea took a lot more planning and was a lot more expensive.”

With financial backing and input on delivery and installation from energy giant BP, ClampOn in February officially put the subsea version of its corrosion-erosion monitor to commercial use on BP’s Nakika platform in the Gulf of Mexico, deploying it via remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

The non-intrusive ClampOn Subsea Corrosion-Erosion Monitor is installed on the outside of a pipe to provide pipe-wear rates over sections of up to two meters, or about 6.6 feet, in length. The monitor can be retrofitted or pre-installed.

ClampOn also has sold nine units of a non-ROV version of the subsea device to TOTAL that will be used in the North Sea. That version is more like the topside technology but is deployed underwater as part of a larger system.

Wagner said ClampOn has several proposals out for customers interested in using the subsea technology in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, the North Sea and the Far East.

“Operators have different ideas and expectations for the technology in a subsea version, so we had to sort through that first,” Wagner said. “Then we spent the last five years perfecting the hardware and software that would allow the technology to provide the same quality data as the topside version in a subsea environment.”

Tanya Rutledge is a Houston-based freelance writer.