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Exova develops ‘laboratory in a box’ concept for Subsea 7

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World Pipelines,

Exova, the global provider of testing, calibration and advisory services is to provide an innovative, high-specification ‘laboratory in a box’ concept for Subsea 7 in support of its project work offshore of Republic of Congo and Angola.

Designed and built in Daventry, UK, and shipped ready for onsite testing at the Angola site this summer, the truly mobile plug and play concept consists of a fully fitted laboratory and machine shop created in two 40 ft purpose-built units.

This technically demanding project is part of a two-year framework agreement between Exova and Subsea 7. The facility will deliver pipeline coating qualification tests including cathodic disbondment to ensure compatibility with impressed potential corrosion protection systems, adhesion and peel testing of coatings to ensure a high integrity barrier to sea water ingress, and differential scanning calorimetry to verify correct coating cure of the critical Fusion Bonded Epoxy (FBE) corrosion coat.

The expertise behind the concept brings together a team of experts in pipeline coatings from Exova’s UK, Singapore and Abu Dhabi operations. The facility will operate round the clock, testing field joint coatings in real time and delivering same day results to ensure production continuity.

Darren Cormell, Managing Director of Subsea 7 Pipeline Production Group, said: “We have a long-term relationship with Exova, working on a range of global projects. This particular challenge required onsite testing and a mobile facility operating in a ‘live’ field situation and Exova worked with us to develop a highly innovative and effective solution.”

The mobile lab will be onsite for approximately four months, with a team of seven operational at all times. Testing will be carried out on a variety of coating types using specialised equipment and testing methods.

Mike Pooley, Managing Director, Europe of Exova, said: “This is a ground-breaking project which Exova, as a leader in coatings testing, is well placed to deliver. For our team to be able to work hand in hand alongside Subsea 7 and their subcontractors, taking daily test pipe samples and subjecting them to rigorous testing, delivering accurate and valuable results that allow work to progress unhindered, demonstrates the level of added value we can offer our clients.”

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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