When operating in extremely challenging and hard to reach environments there really is no margin for error. No Oil & 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 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 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.

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
Alongside these standards, almost all large concerns and insurance companies have their own additional, company-specific welding specifications. Element welding specialists are also familiar with these requirements, including:
  • DNV rules
  • Lloyds rules
  • Norsok 
  • 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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