The company

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) is a public corporation of the State of Alaska, with a legal status that is independent and distinct from the state itself.

Formed in 2010, the AGDC was set up in response to declining Cook Inlet gas supplies and excessive interior energy costs, with a remit to explore the feasibility of developing an in-state North Slope natural gas pipeline.

AGDC is responsible for ensuring that Alaska’s North Slope natural gas resources are available for the use and benefit of Alaskans. The Corporation is now advancing two alternatives - the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP) and the Alaska LNG project.

The challenge

Element Houston signed a contract with the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) to provide a material and weld qualification programme for AGDC's ASAP project, which also involves qualifying selected pipe mills and welding contractors specified by AGDC.

The testing programme covers destructive testing on pipeline specimens, including fracture mechanics testing on base material and welds to ensure that materials on the 727-mile, 36-inch main pipeline are able to withstand the harsh northern conditions.

The solution

As one of the foremost labs of its kind in the world, Element Houston deployed its technical capabilities to provide Direct Current Potential Drop (DCPD) in Single Edge Notch Tension (SENT) testing, which monitors the ductile crack extension during fracture mechanics tests, allowing detailed strain analyses of the pipeline to be performed.

Element's expertise in this field means that the ASAP project, which could bridge the potential gas shortage in Alaska in the next five to 10 years, is backed up by some of the most technically demanding services the sector has to offer.