Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Imperial Oil, Strathcona Refinery tries new inspection for Sphere Legs

Sphere legs usually consist of eight 24" pipe with concrete coating on the outside to protect against corrosion. A problem arises when the concrete shrinks and cracks allowing water to penetrate to the steel pipe. Corrosion, if left un-treated can eventually penetrate the pipe wall and weaken the leg.

Several years ago, a refinery experienced a failure of its sphere legs resulting in catastrophic failure.

Russell was approached by Acuren Inc., who have the NDT contract for Imperial Oil's Strathcona Refinery.  They had heard about our Bracelet Probe for detection of CUI and wondered if it would work through the 2.5" of concrete to detect corrosion of the sphere legs. Imperial Oil agreed to fund a proof of concept which entailed fabrication of a mock-up leg with artificial wall loss defects and studs.  The mock-up demonstration was so successful that Imperial agreed to inspect one sphere, and later a second one.

Each leg was inspected with 13 vertical scans and the images from the scans were stitched together to create an overall colour map of the condition of the leg.

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