Typical Problems in Pipelines

Deposition – including scaling – is the number one pipeline-based reason for unpredictable interruptions in production both onshore and offshore. Especially in subsea pipelines this is an extreme cost factor due to repair/maintenance costs and delays caused by the difficulties in subsea operations. While the deposition problems may be easier to address, they are still a OPEX factor and also lead to other costly operational expense – overuse of chemicals.

Another upstream challenge is the flow monitoring, especially gases and water cut. High water cut means higher treatment costs and lower product quality, while gas slugs cause cavitation in pumps, shortening their lifespan and in the event of failure, causing more operational expenses.

Rocsole's Solution and Benefits

Rocsole has created multiple ways of tackling the pipeline monitoring problems: Pipe Sensor, Plug Sensor and Deposition In-Line Inspection (DILI).

Pipe Sensor is our most common sensor, suitable for multiple monitoring needs. Monitoring background conductivity, deposition, multiphase flow, or all at the same time poses no problem to the Pipe Sensor. Pipe Sensor is available with IECEx or ATEX certification and is available in various different materials and sizes, both DN and ANSI B16.5.

Plug Sensor is best suited for monitoring deposition. The advantage over Pipe Sensor is that Plug Sensor is hot tap compatible, therefore it does not require disassembly of the pipeline. Like the Pipe Sensor, it is also available with IECEx or ATEX certification and can be manufactured to fit DN and ANSI B16.5 pipelines.

Deposition In-Line Inspection is our cutting-edge deposition monitoring service. Our instrumented ILI tool quantifies and characterizes solid deposits in piggable flow lines and pipelines. Beyond simply preventing blockages, you can use the information gathered from our Deposition In-Line Inspection to maximize production throughput, optimize your pigging program from the number of runs needed to the sizes used, detect blockages in the early phase to avoid significant costs caused by blockages and improve efficiency of integrity campaigns by identifying what deposits are present - and where - before the pipe cleaning process and by ensuring cleanliness of your pipeline before integrity measurements take place.

Rocsole's pipe monitoring solutions come with multiple benefits over conventional metering equipment or nucleonic devices.

Non-nucleonic
  • Safe, improved HSE
  • Reduced admin
  • Oil field life cycle optimization
  • Increased production throughput
  • Reduce production loss
  • Reduced need for Shutdowns & optimized chemical costs
  • See mixing efficiency
  • Water cut measurement in stratified conditions
  • Cost-effectively monitor background conductivity & permittivity
  • Real-time process optimization
  • Low maintenance
  • Extend cleaning cycle
  • Optimize pipe flow conditions to manage slugging
  • Optimize multiphase metering by seeing flow regime
  • Compensate external volumetric measurement device readings
  • 24/7 data monitoring all data to database

How Our Deposition Monitoring Works

Harnessing the power of tomographic technology, our deposition monitoring actually sees deposition inside a pipeline, monitoring the deposition inside process pipes in real time – without using a radioactive source. Using a sensor that is simple to install and that requires minimal maintenance, our system accurately measures many types of buildup including paraffin wax, hard scales, hydrates and more.

Once installed in-line, the sensor images deposition growth inside the pipeline in real-time and provides the deposition trend which is monitored to make informed decisions based on chemical type efficiency and dosage.

Video below shows how our Pipe Sensor works and how our cutting edge technology enables them to detect minute changes in deposition thickness.

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Video below shows how our Plug Sensor works and how our cutting edge technology enables it to detect minute changes in deposition thickness.

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This video shows the cross-sectional and 3D imaging of calcium carbonate scaling formed on the wall of a pipe sensor installed into a pipeline with water-air flow. Our system is uniquely able to measure the deposition – even with the presence of multiphase flow – with Rocsole's See Beyond -compliant technology.

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Rocsole's deposition monitoring application is used to measure the trend of a deposition in a pipeline. This trend is valuable and important information for operators: Based on the trend, the operator can either adjust process parameters (e.g. water quality, temperature...) or anti-scaling chemical feed in order to minimize the deposition growth and it's speed. This extends the required cleaning cycle of the pipeline causing reduction in number of routine cleaning, keeping the pipelines in effective production use, hence reducing deferred production and creating significant savings.

Deposition trend before and after installing Rocsole's deposition monitoring sensor. By knowing the trend of deposition, the cleaning interval is extended, creating savings in cleaning costs and reducing deferred production
Deposition trend before and after installing Rocsole's deposition monitoring sensor. By knowing the trend of deposition, the cleaning interval is extended, creating savings in cleaning costs and reducing deferred production

Annual savings from recovered production loss can be significant. Here is an example gathered from average oilfield collection stations. The table is based on oil price of USD 50 $/barrel. Additionally, reduced cleaning cycles create additional 20-30% – generally several million US dollars – in savings.


RECOVERED PRODUCTION / YEAR
Daily Production, POBD 2 % 10 % 15 %
200 USD 73,000 $ USD 365,000 $ USD 547,500 $
300 USD 109,500 $ USD 547,500 $ USD 821,250 $
500 USD 182,500 $ USD 912,500 $ USD 1,368,750 $

Type of deposition might be hard to determine without actually looking inside the process. Our sensor can identify different kinds of depositions: wax, mineral, scale or sand. When the type is known, it is easier to take the correct steps in preventive maintenance or in a cleaning process.

Furthermore, with Pipe and Plug Sensors, you can detect the trend of deposition thickness and immediately know if it is growing or shrinking. This will help to optimize any chemical feed and also generate substantial savings over time.

Deposition trend is easily seen and the chemical control performed towards the optimal situation where scaling is first removed and then prevented with the least amount of chemicals.
Deposition trend is easily seen and the chemical control performed towards the optimal situation where scaling is first removed and then prevented with the least amount of chemicals.

Below is a video demonstrating how Plug Sensor paired with deposition monitoring software can easily detect even the smallest changes in deposition layer thickness. Tomographic image is on the left where deposit can be seen as red color. The deposition trend is on the right showing a clear change as the amount of deposit increases.

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Conductivity is a base measurement in process industry and usually defines the quality of the product or salinity/mineral levels in incoming water. Permittivity is used, for example, to detect the water amount in oil.

However, measurement of background conductivity/permittivity might be a challenging task, especially in build-up conditions. By applying Rocsole's See Beyond -technology, these measurements can be performed accurately through buildup layer. The principle is simple; Rocsole's device defines a tomographic image of the target, which can be interpreted into permittivity/conductivity values in the flowing medium.

Rocsole Pipe Sensor to measure background conductivity/permittivity through a wax layer
Rocsole Pipe Sensor to measure background conductivity/permittivity through a wax layer.

Measurement of a mass flow in build-up conditions is a challenging task. Deposition on the pipe wall will affect the readings of mass flow measurement devices. Typically this is compensated by adding a calibration factor to the mass flow meter, which is only an estimate of the deposition speed. By using Rocsole's technology this problem will be overcome by adding a speed measurement with Rocsole's deposition monitoring solutions. With our deposition monitoring, mass flow meter is not needed. Speed measurement is giving the speed of the flow and our sensor is giving the open area for the flow. Then the total mass flow is known.

Rocsole's deposition monitoring with a flow speed sensor. Rocsole's sensor is giving open area in the pipeline and speed measurement is giving the speed of the flow. As a result the full mass flow is calculated. In multiphase conditions a venturi type measurement is used.
Rocsole's deposition monitoring with a flow speed sensor. Rocsole's sensor is giving open area in the pipeline and speed measurement is giving the speed of the flow. As a result the full mass flow is calculated. In multiphase conditions a venturi type measurement is used.

How Our Deposition In-Line Inspection Works

Safe and cost-effective, Rocsole's Deposition In-Line Inspection uses a unique, non-nuclear tomographic instrumented ILI tool that inspects pipelines for exact deposition build-up location, thickness and type. Our non-invasive sensor works in a multiphase flow, allowing production to continue without interruption. There is a minimal risk of the sensor becoming stuck in the pipe because the sensor diameter is significantly smaller than the pipe diameter and the sensor material is flexible foam.

The video below shows how the DILI works in the field. The tests were conducted in Rocsole's facility in a 10" (DN250) pipeline.

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Rocsole's DILI tool consists of two different sections with a flexible joint, allowing the tool to clear any bends in the pipeline with ease.

Deposition ILI Tool works by electrodes measuring electric field created by low-voltage injection to other electrodes. This is done in turns very rapidly and once every electrode has been injected with the low voltage and the responses have been measured, we have a single, full measurement from that position.
Deposition ILI Tool works by electrodes measuring electric field created by low-voltage injection to other electrodes. This is done in turns very rapidly and once every electrode has been injected with the low voltage and the responses have been measured, we have a single, full measurement from that position.
Rocsole Deposition ILI Tool
Rocsole's DILI Tool, suitable for scanning 12" pipelines.

Following the pipeline inspection scan, you receive a visual report on the state of the deposition along the pipeline inspected. The report helps you plan cleaning operations and define future deposition monitoring needs in order to optimize preventative maintenance actions such pigging cycles and dosage of inhibitor chemicals. For continuous monitoring and preventative maintenance, our Deposition Watch can be installed in deposition trouble spots.

Deposition In-Line Inspection Concept
Deposition In-Line Inspection Concept

How To Measure Sand, Solids and Mass Flow

Sand Measurement Applied to Pipe Sensor
Sand Measurement Applied to Pipe Sensor

This video shows a cross-sectional image of the Rocsole Pipe Sensor, installed into a pipeline with water-gas flow, where the sand layer appears on the bottom. Our system is uniquely able to measure the sand layer—even with the presence of gas in the flow.

Optionally, Pipe Sensor can be paired with a real-time solid layer speed measurement with an accuracy of ±2 % of the total mass flow of a partially filled pipe geometry.

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How Our Flow Monitoring Works

Optimizing multiphase flows in pipelines is difficult without knowing exactly what happens inside the pipeline. For example, the flow might contain unexpected gas slugs that cause major problems further along in the process.

Finally, there is a solution to continuously monitor flow regimes and address different flow assurance challenges! Rocsole's flow monitoring offers a new way to improve your flow assurance by showing a real-time view of the flow inside a pipeline. Providing accurate online flow data, our solution enables you to optimize production by seeing pipeline multiphase flow regimes – in real-time.

Utilizing non-nuclear tomographic technology, our system visualizes and monitors the flow regime, including slugs, stratified flow, water holdup and mixed or turbulent flow, inside the pipeline on the entire cross-sectional area with See Beyond -compliant technology.

The video below shows gas slugs in oil-water-gas multiphase flow in a horizontal pipeline.

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The video below shows gas slugs in oil-water-gas multiphase flow in a vertical pipeline.

Full-bore Pipe Sensor is required for multiphase flow visualization.

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Oil/water flow visualization
Oil/water flow visualization

By deploying Flow Watch with the Pipe Sensor, mixing efficiency or mixing ratio can be measured by analyzing the homogeneity of the flow, even through deposition layer.

Our Flow Watch is able to image the flow regime despite deposition build-up inside the pipe wall. The video below demonstrates imaging of air slug flow in a pipeline with air-water multiphase flow and calcium carbonate scaling build-up inside or on the sensor wall.

Multiphase Pipe Flow Visualization in 2D and 3D
Multiphase Pipe Flow Visualization in 2D
Multiphase Pipe Flow Visualization in 2D
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In cases where multiphase visualization is not required and where full-bore Pipe Sensor is not a viable solution due to mechanical reasons, a Plug Sensor can be applied as a cost-effective way to detect presence of an oil, water, emulsion or a gas phase in a single phase flow or phases that travel through the vicinity of the Plug Sensor. The effective measurement range of Plug Sensor is roughly half of the sensor diameter.

To detect if the flow has stagnated or to measure background conductivity/permittivity, Plug Sensor requires a water cut of more 10% or more in the flow.

Due to our See Beyond -principle, our sensors are a perfect supplement for any existing system that is affected by either contamination or deposition.

Field Test: Flow Monitoring

Our flow monitoring technology has been tested in the field. In this test, Rocsole's tomographic pipe sensor was installed into a multiphase loop to visualize the flow inside the pipeline. Mixture of oil, water and gas was run through the pipe, while the sensor imaged the flow online. The sensor was placed after T-tube conditioner which is the reason the flow regime is quite annular.

Installation setup
Installation setup

The below chart contains videos of the sensor's tomographic visualization with various oil/water/air contents. In the test matrix flow velocity of the gas was varied between 0-250 m3/h and flow velocity of the liquids between 0-130 m3/h.

Rocsole's tomographic system works from full gas to full liquid conditions also in case of conductive liquids.

Water-continuous liquid phase:

Color scale is fixed so that the conductivity of pure water equals 1. Conductivity decreases with increasing amount of gas and/or oil.

Gas Oil Water Q total (Am3/h) Rocsole meter flow speed (m/s) Video
37 % 30 % 33 % 135.00 6.62 Download
24 % 28 % 48 % 128.00 6.28 Download
30 % 0 % 70 % 100.00 4.91 Download
0 % 20 % 80 % 70.00 3.43 Download
95 % 0 % 5 % 100.00 4.91 Download
98 % 0 % 2 % 255.00 12.51 Download
0 % 0 % 100 % 130.00 6.38 Download
Oil-continuous liquid phase:

Color scale is fixed so that the permittivity of pure oil equals 1. Permittivity increases with increasing amount of water. Permittivity of gas is lower than that of oil.

Gas Oil Water Q total (Am3/h) Rocsole meter flow speed (m/s) Video
50 % 45 % 5 % 110.00 5.40 Download
0 % 80 % 20 % 70.00 3.43 Download
0 % 100 % 0 % 130.00 6.38 Download

Delivery Content

Rocsole Pipe Sensor delivery content includes:

  • Pipe Sensor
  • Electrical cabinet
  • All-in-One computer
  • Stainless steel cable (max. length 5m)
  • Power cable
  • Ex-e gland for power & RS-422

Download delivery content

Download delivery content with IECEx certification

Rocsole Plug Sensor delivery content includes:

  • Pipe Sensor
  • Electrical cabinet
  • All-in-One computer
  • Stainless steel cable (max. length 5m)
  • Power cable
  • Ex-e gland for power & RS-422

Download delivery content

Download delivery content with IECEx certification

Ready to Inspect Your Pipeline?

Choose your Pipe Sensor or Plug Sensor and let's get savings started.

We are here to help you, don't hesitate to contact us!

Pekka Kaunisto

Pekka Kaunisto

Vice President Sales +358 40 024 0707 pekka.kaunistorocsole.com
Piia Hottinen

Piia Hottinen

Customer Service Manager +358 44 274 4082 piia.hottinenrocsole.com
Pasi Laakkonen

Pasi Laakkonen

CBO +358 40 147 8797 pasi.laakkonenrocsole.com
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