SEADEC™ (Subsea Detection of Corrosion)


Working in conjunction with our partner, SolidTech AS of Norway, ITL is developing SEADEC

The focus of the SEADEC™ project was the development of a system for the detection and location of leaks and breaches in subsea pipelines which are costly and environmentally damaging. It is especially suitable for those ageing subsea assets which are decades old and hence more at risk of structural integrity failure.

SEADEC™ can be mounted on a surface vessel or an ROV and provides accuracy of detection to within 1 meter from pipelines which could be many hundreds of km long. SEADEC™ can operate at least 1000 x faster at a fraction of cost in circumstances where it is either not commercially viable or even technically impossible for existing inspection techniques to be used.

When a breach occurs in the outmost mantling of a pipeline system such that water can enter, corrosion inevitably follows and great damage can be done before SoA detection becomes possible. Such a breach which admits water would also let the injected electromagnetic signal to escape and this makes it detectable by SEADEC™ from the surface or ROV well before the potential accident, saving possibly billions to the operator, bringing new business to inspection companies and preventing a disaster. There are several reasons for describing this as a breakthrough technology:

• It offers enormous operational and commercial advantages over the highly labour intensive and extremely slow comparative alternative state-of-the-art techniques (SoA) performed by divers or ROVs.

• SoA techniques such as Radiography and Ultrasonics, require highly localised hit and miss inspection which is expensive to perform and covers only small areas.

• There is currently no existing commercial system which can provide similar functionality. Offshore piping is left nearly uninspected and maintenance actions are mainly taken after pipe rupture or any other serious damage.

Large sections of offshore piping remain untouched since the day of its installation and its current condition is largely unknown. The nearest state-of-the-art (SoA) techniques cannot even remotely begin to offer the solution that our system can offer with respect to positional accuracy of defect location, ability for non-contact detection, speed of scanning and low cost of hardware and minimal human intervention.

Initial market research for the SEADEC™ Project indicates that in the most immediately accessible major European market would be the North Sea oil and gas sector where the total length of oil/gas pipelines has the last three decades grown, and today it is estimated to be 8,000 km. (For future markets, globally it is estimated that there are a total of 2 million kilometers of pipeline).