Cold Cutting and Grinding Tools for EX areas in the O&G Industry
Recently I had the opportunity to talk to the Safety Tools Allmet rep in Brazil and I was impressed with the possibilities it brings for some of the work done in on oil rigs. I´ve done quite a bit of industrial welding and currently I am pursuing a welding inspector certificate, so I have a clue.
On an average day on an oil rig, a variety of welding jobs are undertaken, each of these will require cutting or grinding or even both. Most, if not all areas on oil rigs can be considered EX areas. The advantages of using cold tools to do these finishing jobs on rigs are many and there aren´t that many downsides to it either.
It all started in Norway, when Reidar Olsen, founder and CEO of Safety Tools Allmet noticed minute corrosion points while inspecting a large tank before renewing its surface treatment. This unfortunately happens frequently following grinding and welding operations and is caused by the numerous sparks caused by these procedures. In this case the sparks had burned through the protective coating, exposing the steel underneath. After 10 years of development he introduced a radical new grinding tool, which does not produce heat or sparks. Along the years various new cold tools have been developed including a cold cutting tool.
This is highly relevant to the deepwater O&G industry here in Brazil, as most of the final fitting work done to pipes used for deepwater drilling and production is done aboard pipe laying vessels, FPSOs and rigs. We are talking about tens of thousands of kilometers of pipes that are still to be laid. The massive amounts of grinding and cutting work done aboard these different vessels may vary and have a higher or lower EX risk, but nearly always harboring some form of EX risk.
The potential savings in time and cost can be very significantly. If we look at the amount of drilling rigs, production rigs or FPSOs currently operating in Brazil and combine them with the growth numbers expected for each of them in the next five years, the cold cutting and grinding technology offered by Safety Tools becomes increasingly interesting. This technology will also be very important for safety in onshore O&G plays, refineries and just about anywhere else with EX potential.
It offers a possibility of doing these jobs with no shutdown or slowdown in production and increased safety for workers and infrastructure. Safety Tools equipment is also certified by D.N.V and its increased use by the O&G industry may be considered a certainty. It will not substitute all forms of hot cutting and grinding but is sure to be tremendously useful in jobs done in EX areas.