In a nutshell:

The ROSEN Group in its 36 years has grown continually, from the small town of Lingen in Germany to 26 locations worldwide, including the Australian outback. In the history of the 20 years in Australia, experts have delivered a variety of in-line inspection solutions for pipelines for more than 50 operators. Today, Executive Vice President Business Collaboration of the ROSEN Group, Erik Cornelissen, looks back on 20 years.

When I started my career at ROSEN, I was fortunate enough to be made responsible for the Asia Pacific region, which included Australia. In that region, we were working for a number of Australian customers; we were already doing work for offshore and onshore operators.

During this time in my career, I was given a workspace in Lingen, Germany. ROSEN was different back then: we were in the process of transitioning from a purely entrepreneurial mindset into a “challenger” – we were continuously challenging the leaders in the market at that time. Similar to today, we truly embraced the “can-do” mindset by tackling projects that other companies were reluctant to take up. Working conditions, however, were indeed different; the industry was much less mature … as were we. Although we were already ahead of our competition in many ways, our company was still rapidly growing, so, from a support and available-resource perspective, we were kind of struggling to keep up. A good example of this is how new hires sometimes had to wait for some time to get their own desk, computer, etc. But these “hiccups” were also part of the charm and contributed to the excitement around a growing company.

What that “charm” meant for me, personally, was that every time I was sent on a business trip, my chair, computer, screen, etc. would often have disappeared when I returned. It was always a surprise to find out what was missing each time, but one thing was certain: chances of seeing the items again were small.

One time, I came back from a trip, entered my office space, and was pleasantly surprised to see that, for the first time, everything was still there. Then I quickly became concerned, because I had gained something as well. Somebody else was sitting in my spot! There, in my chair, smiling as if he had found his new work place in the company, was this young guy. When I asked what he was doing there, he seemed to be rather surprised and responded in an accent I did not quite understand.

Although I was able to gently coax him out of my spot, I am glad that is all I managed to do. He had been waiting for a few days to meet with Hermann Rosen to discuss a possible position with ROSEN in Australia.

As it turned out, the smiling young man sitting at my desk was none other than Mr. Yoxall … Chris Yoxall. Who ended up accepting the offer for a position in our company. And that “guy sitting in my chair” in those days began to build what is now ROSEN Australia more than 20 years ago.

- Erik Cornelissen

Many successes – here is one highlight

In these 20 years – the ROSEN operation in Australia has come a long way, has undertaken many riveting projects, and conducted in-line inspections (ILI) for more than 50,000 km of pipeline. As we know, each pipeline is unique and has its own complexities; one of the true highlights in the Oceana region was the 2018 inspection of a 20-inch gas pipeline.

The 30-year-old pipeline, which had never before been inspected, meaning its integrity status was unknown, was especially challenging as it had over 100 short radius bends along its 13 km length. To add to this challenge, the operating pressure of the line was 8 bar, much lower than what is generally needed 24 bar for traditional ILI. Understanding the need to address potential geometry and metal loss features, technologies applied would have to include a mechanical caliper and magnetic flux leakage (MFL). However, the extreme low pressures coupled with the presence of such a large number of short radius bends increased the potential of speed excursions and surging of in-line inspection systems.

Getting the tools from the launcher to the receiver is not the main challenge in low-pressure lines. The speed excursions which normally occur during these inspection runs are usually caused by obstacles, such as excessive girth welds, bends, dents, diameter changes, etc.

During the inspection, ILI tools tend to stop or get hung up in these obstacles due to the pressure (force) not being high enough to move the tool through it. As time passes, the pressure behind the tool builds up and forces the tool through the obstacle. A result of this dislodgement, ILI tools tend to travel at a higher rate of speed because of to the immense pressure differential that was required to force the tool through the obstacle. The results of exceeding the tool speed is twofold. One, the magnetic field is affected in a way which makes it difficult to correctly size or even identify corrosion features with, and the resolution typically also being effected.

Once they had fully understood the very challenging operating conditions of the pipeline, ROSEN experts developed a multi segment solution with a tailored in-line inspection tool, using a low-friction magnetizer and a pull unit, specially designed for optimal sealing. The client’s request of minimal interruption of gas supply to their customer and completion in the shortest possible time window implied meticulous preparation in the design as well as assembly of the solution. To ensure meeting this criteria, in addition to ROSEN’s aim to achieve a first run success, extensive simulations and testing were conducted at the ROSEN Technology and Research Center in Germany. The inspection was then executed in existing operating conditions without interruption of regular gas flow to the end user. The on-site gauging, geometry and metal loss inspection activities were successfully completed in 3 days. The data collected allowed for an in-depth understanding of the pipeline’s condition, enabling the operator to make the best decisions for further integrity management.