Issue 07 2012
Built on integrity
Established in 1991, Intetech Ltd derived its name from the integrity technology that underpins all aspects of its business.
The company recognises the value its clients’ assets represent, and therefore, over the last 20 years has delivered expert consultancy and internationally recognised software systems to help ensure the safe and profitable operation of these commodities.
During this time the oil and gas industry has been Intetech’s most prominent field of activity, alongside other energy related sectors, managing the integrity of wells, pipelines, and other central assets. To deliver this work the company has divided its operations into three main areas; well integrity, assets, and software, although many projects often require input from all three divisions.
Well integrity management, from design to abandonment, has been one of Intetech’s core business streams since its foundation. This centres on Well Integrity Management System (WIMS) documentation that helps to set out and establish an approach for all aspects of well life, for all well types. Intetech also provides consultancy services such as integrity studies, welding engineering, material selection and corrosion protection advice.
These different aspects are closely linked as the initial selection of the right materials is vital for ensuring long-term well integrity, particularly in the case of components that are exposed to corrosive conditions, and correct and timely corrosion prevention measures helps to minimise operational downtime, which improves cost-effectiveness.
Alongside the well itself, Intetech’s expertise extends to the general integrity of other assets such as subsea structures, pipelines, and on- and offshore production facilities. It is within the asset integrity division that the company also plays a part in supporting industries outside of the oil and gas sector including power generation, carbon capture and storage, nuclear, civil engineering, and process.
Linked into all of Intetech’s operations are its world-class software products, particularly the Electronic Corrosion Engineer (ECE), and Intetech Well Integrity Toolkit (iWIT), which is a premier web-based tool for maintaining well integrity whilst maximising field production. The ultimate aim of the iWIT system is to prevent a catastrophic failure such as a well blowout. Fully customisable to each individual client situation, iWIT works on a number of levels – firstly as a database, which can link into existing systems to integrate and utilise the data already gathered. Secondly, iWIT provides real-time analysis of data, which means it can proactively detect wells that may develop problems in the future through corrosion damage, or by highlighting the existence of installed well equipment with poor reliability.
The software also indicates wells that are due for integrity checks, tests, repairs, chemical treatments or other inspection requirements, helping to making planning of schedules and estimates of future actions easier. Finally, the intuitive user interface means feedback can be given at a detailed engineering level, right through to an at-a-glance overview.
As a standout well integrity tool, Dr Liane Smith, director and founder of Intetech, elaborates on the uptake of iWIT in the marketplace: “iWIT has the largest reference list, and widest customer base, and so we have made the product adaptable to suit a wide variety of operational situations from offshore dual string wells in the Middle East, to subsea North Sea wells, onshore HPHT sour wells in Kazakhstan, and onshore coal bed methane producers in Australia. From this list you can sense how exceedingly adaptable and configurable the software is.
“Furthermore the underlying software architecture is capable of interfacing successfully to all types of third party systems. So far across all of our clients we interface to 25 different systems, so we are confident that we won’t see any new challenges on that aspect. Our aim has always been to be really comprehensive in our coverage of the engineering issues and this is where I think we really win as we are able to respond to a client’s individual well integrity challenges, be they sustained annulus pressure, tubing corrosion, sand erosion, scaling or unreliability of equipment,” she continues.
Recently Intetech has had another prominent uptake of the iWIT system, in the form of Statoil. Elaborating on how this agreement came about, Liane says: “Statoil had given a lot of thought to their requirements for well integrity management. These were partly to meet the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) reporting requirements, and partly informed by their detailed in-house knowledge of the challenges they were facing. They put out a substantial tender, which we responded to, and were evidently rated technically and commercially the most attractive. We understand that our notable track record was also a factor since the implementation required interfacing to a large number of third party databases at a total of 12 external systems.”
With the contract’s scope extending to all of Statoil’s wells on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, a substantial level of work has gone into implementing the iWIT system in a way that is appropriate to the client’s needs. “The key issues are always where does the data come from and what do you do with it. In Statoil’s case there were the 12 external systems to interface to since data was already getting into those established software packages either automatically or manually through current business processes. The data evaluation had to follow Statoil and NPD regulatory approaches, so we introduced a capability to set up the Safe Operating Envelope (SOE) for a well and have all the operating parameters continuously monitored against the high and low limits.
“Wells outside the SOE may be unsafe or likely to suffer a premature failure. Monitoring all parameters, such as temperature, pressures, fluid types, and fluid flow rates in real time means the wells are under continuous surveillance. Special NPD reporting was set-up to provide all the statistical data Statoil have to report in just a few clicks. It’s a significant time benefit and gives complete consistency and totally up-to-date data information for the regulator,” highlights Liane.
Another important project that has been receiving attention from Intetech is Snam Rete Gas (SRG) (part of the ENI group), which is Europe’s large underground gas storage company. SRG’s wells handle gas that is injected for storage for six months of the year, and then re-produced in the colder months. As such, well integrity is crucial, not only for safety reasons, but also simply from an economic viewpoint as leakages impact upon the volumes of gas available for re-distribution. “We have been working with SRG since 2010,” notes Liane. “They are a great group of well integrity engineers, with clear, objective and innovative contributions. We recently worked with them to develop new functionality for the evaluation of the mean time to failure of their subsurface safety valves (SSSV), which are a critical well barrier item, and the resulting functionality is a real breakthrough in efficiency in this fairly complex calculation.
“As a consequence they are now able to inspect their well’s SSSVs on a risk-based inspection frequency, underpinned by the evidence from the iWIT mean time to failure evaluation. Furthermore they can ensure that only the most reliable equipment is installed in the future. A key aspect is that they are making decisions based upon evidence from their own specific fields rather than any generic oil industry database.”
Although these two projects are representative of Intetech’s activity in Europe, a large proportion of its business is within the wider global market. Specifically since the opening of its office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia two years ago, Intetech has seen its operations in the South-East Asia region more than double. Looking further forward, the company has just formed a US company and will open a new office in Houston in the autumn, which will have a local support and technical capability.
The physical expansion of Intetech is a clear indication of the acceptance the company’s products have achieved with clients and industry leaders. This acknowledgment has also been made known on a wider level earlier this year with Intetech’s success at the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which serves to underline the core commitments of the business. “As a really focused specialist company we have a very specific offering, which clients understand we are expert in, and we can bring our international experience to help them improve their businesses and improve profitability.
“A recent highlight has been winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation 2012 for the continuous innovation and development of the iWIT system. It’s a real testament to the effort we have put in over many years in research and development to back up our product at every level from underlying software architecture and data evaluation at an engineering level to reporting capability to improve the ease of management access to the overview of their well’s condition,” concludes Liane.
Services: Asset integrity