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Element facility at Hitchin expands oil and gas testing capacity

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World Pipelines,

The laboratory operated by Element Materials Technology in Hitchin, UK, is set to complete a significant expansion and improvement project in order to consolidate operations, increase efficiency, and expand capacity to meet client needs.

Element Hitchin is re-locating all pressure testing installations to a new, purpose-fitted facility with an area of 12 000 ft2, a fourfold increase over the previous layout.

Hitchin’s highly-regarded pressure testing division primarily serves majors in the oil and gas industry, with capabilities for exposures involving H2S, long-term, HP/HT, functional, RGD, and others. The move to an enhanced facility will double station capacity to 140 vessels and accommodate a wide range of pressure equipment, enabling Hitchin to handle larger-scale client components and the capability to move fixtures of up to 2 t.

Testing under realistic conditions

One large test vessel has already been installed ‘permanently’ at the new site on behalf of a client consortium for a specific long-term exposure test programme, with the 13 t vessel to be used for the evaluation of deepwater pipe insulation systems under realistic conditions.

Rod Martin, EVP, Oil and Gas at Element, says: “Hitchin is a global leader when it comes to fluid exposure testing at pressure, and this project means that the laboratory will have the capability to conduct such tests on an unrivalled scale.”

The new facility will incorporate a proprietary control and data acquisition system, which will permit remote monitoring and regulation of vessel temperature and pressure. The system, which includes a CCTV feed to allow staff and clients to view the laboratories remotely, means that Hitchin will soon be operating one of the most advanced test facilities of its kind.

“This investment comes at a time when Element is highly focused on developing its offering in order to remain at the forefront of the oil and gas market. New services are being developed, while expansion and improvement projects have been completed at key laboratories including Breda, the Netherlands, and Sheffield, UK, while the company is set to launch the USA’s first ever ‘Oil and Gas Materials Technology Centre’ in Houston, Texas, USA, later this year.

“With these laboratories alongside the enhanced Hitchin and sister sites in hubs such as Aberdeen, UK, we are ideally placed to deliver a global, end-to-end service for partners that is unmatched,” Martin concludes.

Edited from source by Elizabeth Corner

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