NEL Launches UK’s First Multi-service Erosion Testing Facility

Aug 22, 2013 | Flow & Level

NEL has invested £250,000 in a new Erosive Flow Centre at its Glasgow base. The facility is the first in the UK to offer the complete range of erosive flow services, including flow testing, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), operation and performance assessment.

The new facility will enable operators and equipment manufacturers to reduce production costs by combating the problem of sand erosion, reducing the risk of equipment failure, optimising component life and boosting production rates.

Designed to meet the latest American Petroleum Institute and ISO standards, the facility takes testing out of the lab to recreate a realistic in-the-field environment for both operators and system manufacturers. This includes an outside test area to accommodate large and complex equipment and pipework configurations, which space constraints inside a conventional laboratory would make it impossible to recreate.

“Sand production is a growing problem for the industry, as fields mature and new sand-rich fields are explored. Both operators and manufacturers are therefore demanding the assurance that equipment is thoroughly validated before it goes into service,” said John Peters, Senior Consultant, NEL.

“Testing vulnerable components in realistic erosive conditions is vital. This significant investment enhances our testing capabilities to meet real world business needs for replicating the true environment to minimise production downtime and costs.”

Erosion problems cost the oil & gas industry millions of pounds each year due to increased wear and maintenance downtime. Particularly vulnerable areas include bends within piping production systems, in areas of severe turbulence or where high local velocities occur.

Not only is sand highly erosive, if it becomes entrained within equipment it can cause it to seize, valves may not close and seal, or the operating force may increase significantly.