Jun 05, 2009
Local company claims offshore division is a first for South AfricaBack
Expertise|Luanda|Africa|Bluewater|Cleaning|Exxon Mobil|Industrial|Industrial Services|Mossel Bay|Petrochemicals|PetroSA|Pipe|Pipelines|PROJECT|Projects|System|Systems|Total|Africa|Angola|United Kingdom|United States|Hak's Pipeline|Hak’s Pipeline|Certified Equipment|Cleaning|Equipment|Gas Leaks|Maintenance|Nitrogen Gas Lifting|Nitrogen Services|Nitrogen-related Services|Oil And Gas|Petrochemicals|Products|Service|Services|Systems|Topside Process Systems|Topside Services|Transport|West Coast|Mike Hepworth|Girassol|Pipe|Pipelines|West Coast
© Reuse this
The company’s range of specialised offshore services centres on its nitrogen pump-ing capabilities, making use of nitrogen pump units, liquid nitrogen tanks and other associated offshore certified equipment. Methods used include nitrogen/helium leak detection and nitrogen purging for decommissioning and recom-missioning operations, subsea pipeline pigging and nitrogen gas lifting for well completions and clean-outs.
In the early 1990s, A Hak opened its base in Johan-nesburg to provide nitrogen-related services to the petrochemicals and refinery industries onshore.
“We saw a niche market in which no other South African company was operating, so the company made the decision to invest in offshore certified equipment that it could use for offshore jobs,” says A Hak GM Mike Hepworth.
Hepworth adds that, until A Hak arrived in the country, service companies from the UK and the US were commis-sioned to do this work, which resulted in elevated costs.
Meanwhile, Hepworth explains that the company is looking at the possibility of expanding its services into the West Coast of Africa.
The company has already completed several operations in Angola, including a major nitrogen services project for oil and gas company Total’s Girassol floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, off the coast of Angola.
This project involved the precommissioning leak testing of all the topside process systems on the Rosa system, on board the Girassol FPSO vessel. Using nitrogen and helium, A Hak pressurises each system to its full operating pressure, sometimes as high as 400 bar, after which, using specialised equipment, the whole system is tested for gas leaks. Each leak found is then rectified. This technique guarantees that, when the system is finally commis-sioned, it is leak-tight and safe to operate, says Hep-worth.
He says that work of this nature is extremely specialised, with only a handful of service companies worldwide having the necessary equipment and experience to carry out these kinds of projects.
Although a major oil and gas company requested A Hak to establish a base in Angola a few years ago, the comapny indicated that the timing was not right, which resulted in the development being put on hold.
Hepworth stresses that A Hak South Africa is still a relatively small company, and that establishing a base in Luanda is not without risk. However, the company will reconsider this risk, if approached by the right local partner.
In addition to its topside services, A Hak’s pipeline services division is heavily involved in pipeline testing and inspection.
Offshore operators rely heavily on pipeline systems to transport hydrocarbon products between platforms and to its onshore facilities. The reliability of these pipeline systems is paramount and the ongoing success of the operation lies in the proper maintenance and frequent inspection and testing of these pipeline systems, says Hepworth.
There are a number of techniques available for the inspection of pipelines, of which the most com-mon is a tool called an intelligent pig (IP). A Hak has developed its own IP, which uses ultrasonic technology to check for and measure internal and external corrosion in subsea pipelines.
The tool’s ultrasonic sound waves measure the pipe’s wall thickness as it progresses through the pipeline and will discriminate between internal and external metal loss. This gives the pipeline operator a finite measure of the pipe wall conditions.
When the results are compared with the previous inspection results, the actual rate of corrosion can be calculated, giving the operator an indication of the life expectancy of this subsea asset.
The IP information can also be used to calculate the pipeline’s fitness for purpose. This information is then used by the pipeline user to apply for an operating licence and to satisfy local legislation, which dictates that any pipeline conveying hydrocarbon liquids or gases must be tested and inspected periodically to avoid possible leakages and contamination of the surrounding environment.
Hepworth says that A Hak has performed intelligent pigging for almost every major oil company in the world.
Other projects include providing topside services for State-owned petroleum company PetroSA’s FA Platform off Mossel Bay, FPSO operator Bluewater’s ship, Glas Dowr, and oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil’s Kizomba A Platform.
In addition to the nitrogen pumping and intelligent pigging, A Hak offers indus-trial services, such as reactor cooling, furnace decoking and system drying, which includes pneumatic and hydrostatic testing and nitrogen/helium leak detection. Its pipeline services range from pigging, cleaning and drying to the pre- and decom-missioning of pipelines, while its inspection services include nonpiggable pipelines. A Hak Industrial Services is a subsidiary of the Dutch A Hak, which has its head office in Tricht, in the Nether-lands.
Edited by: Brindaveni Naidoo© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Pipes and Tubes News
Pump specialist Australian Pump Industries announced in May that it offers a simple guide for the use of hydrostatic testers, which it makes available free of charge. Locating leaks and proof-testing gas and oil pipelines is made easier with portable hydrostatic...
Marley Pipe Systems is the leading manufacturer and supplier of plastic pipe systems, serving the needs of the mining and industrial segment with superior quality products and turnkey solutions to improve efficiency, solve key industry challenges, and ensure safe and...
Municipal water and sanitation services eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) says construction of the Northern Aqueduct Augmentation, which forms part of the eThekwini strategic master plan to deal with the increasing demand for water in the northern regions of...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
While Ekurhuleni-based transformer manufacturer Reliable Transformers currently designs, manufactures and tests its products according to the SANS 780 specifications for distribution transformers and other applicable transformer specifications, it is working towards...
Global endpoint security solutions company Kaspersky Lab has introduced new measures to prevent cyber criminals from accessing sensitive data, alongside its malware-signature and heuristic device analysis detection methods. Threats to mobile devices have increased...
To ensure uptake and a positive impact, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks in cities must be provided at schools, community centres and commercial centres to enable citizens and government to access information that will improve access to and delivery of services....
Eco-estate Monaghan Farm, located near Lanseria airport, north-west of Johannesburg, has taken a new approach to modern living and sustainability with its 517 ha development, dedicated to farm living.
Forklift and lift-truck distributor Goscor Lift Hi-Reach launched the Genie SX-180, the tallest self-propelled super boom in Africa, in Johannesburg last month. “As the official distributor of the well-known Genie range of equipment in Southern Africa, we are pleased...