When operating in extremely challenging and hard to reach environments there really is no margin for error. No Oil and Gas company can afford for a component to fail in service and there is now more of an emphasis on knowledge about how components will behave once they are in service, particularly in ultra-deepwater environments, which is a new frontier of exploration and extraction.
This is where the testing of welds becomes vitally and fundamentally important, and why new techniques can offer operators and their supply chain partners’ peace of mind, alongside long term cost savings.
Welding, as the joining method of choice within offshore structures, applies to almost all components within subsea systems. From the complex structures that are lowered to the seabed, wellheads and pipes, there are a myriad of components that need to be joined by welds. Therefore, verifying the properties and testing the lifecycle of these welds is of paramount importance under harder to simulate ‘realism’, especially when considering welds are often the ‘weakest link’ in terms of a system’s viability.
Although the test conditions for welds and offshore components have become much more demanding – increased temperatures, higher pressures, more aggressive and corrosive environments to name but a few – the fundamental processes for testing laboratory scale specimens has remained largely the same for a number of years. They have, however, matured and been extended.
Fracture mechanics testing for welded materials is a good example; Crack Tip Opening Displacement (CTOD) testing has been a staple of laboratory life and is now being progressively displaced by Single Edge Notch Tension (SENT) testing, which has similar underlying technology, but a different specimen configuration.
The combination of these industry standard material and product tests, together with the real world experiences of our Engaged Experts enable Element to provide our clients with the certainty that the offshore projects we are involved in are as successful and safe as possible.
With over 100 years oil and gas sector expertise, Element is a recognised leading in the provision of welding services across the world. We have a number of PCN and CSWIP-qualified weld inspectors who offer a comprehensive service in this critical technical area.
We provide welding services to recognised international codes and standards. Whether your requirement is in weld or welder certification, weld testing, inspection or forensic failure analysis, our welding services can support you at every stage of the asset life cycle.
Our welding services range:
- Preliminary or proposed Weld Procedure Specification (pWPS)
- Weld inspection and monitoring
- Third-party witnessing
- Non-destructive testing (NDT)
- Mechanical testing
- Welding certification packages
- Failure analysis
Preliminary or proposed Weld Procedure Specification (pWPS)
In preparing new weld procedures to satisfy project requirements, our welding services offer expertise in reviewing client specifications against fabrication requirements, preparing pWPS and propose an interpretation of the testing and acceptance criteria. Following the customer review and comments, adjustments can be incorporated into the final version, and instructions issued for the welder and inspector once these have been agreed by all relevant parties.
H3 - Weld inspection and monitoring
Following the authorisation of the pWPS and the sourcing of the material and consumables, Element's welding services can provide CSWIP inspectors (qualified to 3.1 or 3.2) to confirm the joint configuration, set-up, temperatures and record all essential welding data of the new welding procedure. The use of calibrated thermometers and data logging machines are standard to our welding services.
Element has forged strong working relationships with local Notified Bodies specialising in the oil, gas and marine industries, who recognise our strengths as a test laboratory with welding services and certification capabilities. If required, Element can organise witnessing on behalf of our customers.
Our specialist welding services facilities offer CTOD, pipe reeling, corrosion and coatings testing, hardness testing, bend testing, tensile testing and impact testing to support the welding certification process.
Welding certification packages
To complete our welding services customer offering, Element can also write and issue full certification packages and welder qualification certificates, in accordance with agreed standards/specifications on a global basis.
Each procedure consists of:
- Qualified generic weld procedure specification sheet (WPS)
- Range of approval sheet, allowing visibility of procedural restrictions based on essential variables
- Record of weld test sheet, showing all the key features used to qualify the procedure
- Monitoring data, each and every run, as recorded by the weld inspector
- Parent material certificates
- Filler material certificates
- Non-destructive testing reports
- Destructive Testing reports
- Post weld heat treatment graph/ report (if applicable)
- Notified body endorsement as required
Each welder qualification consists of:
- Welder qualification test certificate
- Prolongation continuation sheet
- Laboratory test reports
- Notified body endorsement as required
Welding Procedure Qualification Record — WPQR
A WPQR is a company-specific qualification. It proves that the holding company possesses the technical welding knowledge necessary to perform metal joining work. Generally, a new welding procedure qualification record is required each time a welding procedure is introduced. To obtain the qualification, an independent specialist must observe the new procedure being used on a sample welding plate or pipe. Element's experienced welding coordinators can support you in the process of creating welding procedures and are also authorized to act as independent specialists. Once the sample welding plate or pipe has been welded, it is sawn into test samples, which can then be passed to the Element laboratories for destructive and non-destructive testing. Non-destructive testing usually includes visual, X-ray, penetrant or magnetic testing procedures, while destructive testing involves tensile testing, bend testing, Charpy impact testing, hardness measurements and macro- and microscopic investigations, as well as Ferrite content measurement, CTOD and corrosion tests if required. Element then presents the results of these tests in a certificate (the WPQR) which provides a practical assessment of the welding method description.
Welder Performance Qualification — WPQ
A WPQ is a test certificate that shows whether a welder is skilled in welding to the specifications of a particular standard. Destructive and non-destructive tests are used to determine whether the welder is capable of producing a good weld quality using the welding processes, materials and prescribed procedures. A welder who has performed a test weld for a welding procedure qualification record (WPQR) automatically qualifies as a welder. The scope of the WPQ test varies depending on the requirements, but it generally involves some destructive tests, including bend testing and macroscopic investigations, as well as non-destructive tests. If a good result is achieved, the welder receives an individual test certificate — the WPQ.
Weld Standards and Specifications
Element welding specialists are familiar with a highly diverse range of codes and standards, including:
- ISO, NEN-EN, standards ISO 15614, ISO 15609, ISO 9606, EN287-1, ISO 3834, ISO 5817
- American Welding Society, AWS D1.1 to AWS D1.6, AWS D9.1, AWS D14.1, AWS D14.6, AWS D15.1
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME B31.1, B31.3,
- ASME Section IX, Pressure & Power Piping Code
- Military Standard AMS-STD-1595 Military & Aircraft, AMS-STD-2219
- American Petroleum Institute, API 1104 Petroleum Piping
- TÜV/PED 97/23/EC
- DNV rules
- Lloyds rules
- Shell DEP
- Total spec
- Tata steel welding standard
Element Welding Engineering & Testing Services
Element's Engaged Experts include Certified Welding Inspectors (CWI), and Certified Welding Engineers (CWEng) and International Welding Engineers (IWE) experienced in all aspects of welding requirements for ferrous, nonferrous, and polymer properties. To help you keep up with ever-changing technological advancements, Element provides critical welding-related services including weld qualification testing, development of weld procedures for specification and code compliance, weld failure analysis, weld quality analysis, and welding process auditing and improvement services.
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