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Specialists help keep the oil pumping.

One company which has cause to look back on the last year with satisfaction is Middlesbrough-based QA Weld Tech.

The company was established more than 20 years ago to provide the offshore, petrochemical and power generation industries with a complete, specialist welding service.

From design and procurement through to fabrication, welding and testing, the company combines advanced techniques and technologies with rigorous quality standards.

The company operates clean condition fabrication facilities dedicated to Computer Controlled Hot Wire TIG cladding and welding of Duplex and Super stainless steel and has developed over 350 fully approved welding procedures.

With its staff of welding engineers, metallurgists, coded welders and experienced fabricators, it can apply an extensive range of processes and procedures on materials ranging from carbon steel and AISI 4130 through to Duplex stainless steel, Kunifer and high nickel alloys such as Inconel 625.

It was against this background of applied welding technologies that British Gas Engineering Research contacted QAWT, in 1994, to participate in the development of a jointing system for PE lined Water Injection Pipe.

Using their computer controlled Hot Wire TIG cladding facility, QAWT developed welding, manufacturing and inspection procedures for weld inlay, machining and inspection of the connection joint, subsequently termed a Weldlink.

The Weldlink comprises a length of the project specific pipe, pre-machined in the I/D, weld deposited with a CRA, generally Inconel 625, machined over the inlaid surface to a patented profile comprising a series of annulus sealing grooves, and supplied with a compression ring of the same CRA material to secure the PE into the machined profile.

A Weldlink is welded to each end of the matching line pipe string using the appropriate welding procedure for carbon steel line pipe welds. The completed string is then PE lined by the Swagelining or other PE lining processes.

The compression ring is then inserted into the PE and fixed into place using an appropriate ring insertion rig. This rig is custom-made for the pipe size in question and comprises an external pipe clamping system, an insertion plug mandrel and a hydraulic ram. The clamp is fixed onto the pipe end, a compression ring is positioned onto the mandrel and is driven home by the hydraulic ram to the depth setting of the annular sealing grooves.

Trial assemblies were PE lined as individual pipe strings, welded as double joints for full-scale reeling trials and subjected to pressure testing and leak detection of the PE annulus. The successfully developed Weldlink was patented by British Gas and a license to manufacture was awarded to QAWT.

The first project to use PE Lined Water Injection Pipe and the Weldlink Fitting was the BP Foinaven Field in 1995.

Since that first successful project, QAWT has supplied Weldlinks for water injection lines for BP Schiehallion, Amoco Banff and Talisman Claymore, for reeling installations and the SNEPCO Bonga project for JLay installation.

The SNEPCO Bonga project is 120 km south-west of Warri in the Niger Delta, lies in 1,030-metre water and is the first deepwater development for Nigeria.

Bonga is significant, not only in its scale but also as the undoubted forerunner for future developments.

The 12-inch water injection lines involve a traditional Weldlink on one side of the joint with a JLay incorporating the Weldlink on the other.

As this was a variation on the previous experiences, further welding, manufacturing and inspection procedures were developed and full-scale trial assemblies were PE lined as individual pipe strings, welded as double joins for installation trials and subjected to pressure testing and leak detection of the PE annulus.

The project was "fast-track" and involved significant capacity increase by QAWT to meet the customer's - Stolt Offshore - requirements and has been completed on time and within budget.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Business Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 17, 2003
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