National Composites Centre rolls out Flexible Composite Pipe Fatigue Test Rig

The National Composites Centre (The NCC) and Tier 2 Member Shell, joined forces to roll out the centre’s latest pioneering capability a flexible composite pipe fatigue test rig. The new capability is designed to meet the emerging needs of the Oil and Gas sector in deep water environments.

The test rig, funded by Shell, is available for use by all companies, large and small, across the oil and gas industry. The NCC will provide expert operators for the rig and the new capability will enable workforce training and development in an industrial learning environment. There are exceptional opportunities for greater use of composites as the industry begins to extract hydrocarbons in water up to forty times deeper than the North Sea.

The event, held in the new extension of the NCC, attracted a number of senior representatives from the energy industry, academia and government. A series of presentations were held by key players in the sector alongside local SMEs that are really making a mark in the industry.

Graham Harrison, Oil and Gas Sector Lead at the National Composites Centre, said, “One challenge facing the composites industry, as advanced materials make their way into new sectors, is the need for appropriate standards to provide end-users with the assurance that new products are fit for purpose. Without such standards, oil companies cannot adopt innovative new products and the composites pipe fatigue rig will provide an ability to test against and influence those standards. The NCC is therefore focusing on the end users, equipment suppliers, those who deploy offshore infrastructure, and leading global standards bodies which are developing such standards.”

Collaborating with the NCC allows Shell to increase the speed of technology development and deployment and deliver sustained competitive and commercial value to Shell, to its partners and to its customers. Ultra-lightweight, corrosion free pipe systems can have a potentially game changing impact on the industry, significantly lower the costs of a number of applications and enable new applications.

The opportunities for composite materials extend well beyond pipes; other applications include deep water infrastructure needed to filter and process the oil on the sea bed as well as topside applications such as gratings, railings, ladders, blast protection structures, derricks and booms.

Earlier this year, Innovate UK awarded one of its largest ever grants to a consortium led by Magma Global (composite pipe manufacturer), BP, Subsea7 (the world’s leading offshore installation contractor) and the NCC. This, and a number of other promising leads, has resulted in the NCC deciding to appoint a technical representative in Aberdeen in conjunction with the Advanced Forming Research Centre and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

Ian Phillips, Chief Executive of OGIC said, “Accessing the latest research and design capabilities within the fields of composites, forming and advanced manufacturing will provide the oil and gas industry with unrivalled opportunities to innovate and address the complex technical challenges it faces. It is essential that we collaborate more effectively and learn from other industries. This new partnership with three of the HVMC centres will support this agenda and help to accelerate the pace of innovation in the industry.”

Above: The new Flexible Composite Pipe Fatigue Test Rig

You can download the full Press Release and pictures by clicking below.

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