Oil rig platforms like the Olympus, situated some 130 miles south of New Orleans, rise out of the swells of the surrounding ocean like mythological titans. They tower some forty stories high and weigh hundreds of thousands of tons. Aboard these colossal structures, hundreds of people go about their daily lives, working and sleeping just a few hundred feet above the Gulf of Mexico.
The rigs are built to withstand battering waves and vicious hurricanes that are common in the Gulf as well as less obvious risks such as corrosion caused by the perpetual onslaught of salt spray, chemicals, and hazardous risks. The security and safety of these offshore giants often lies in unexpectedly small, seemingly unremarkable components.
The ubiquitous pneumatic and hydraulic stainless steel tubing hidden in plain sight on oil rigs, for example, distribute gases necessary to the operation of the rigs. Some of these gasses are high temperature while other are coolants, but each must be contained safely within tubing to prevent fires, air pollution, or dangerous heat release.
The average lifespan of pneumatic tubing systems is about 20 to 25 years, and the main contributor to their deterioration is crevice corrosion, which is caused when metal to metal contact is combined with outside contaminants. Traditional tubing fasteners made inspection of tubing difficult, increasing the likelihood of a full tube failure. In turn, tube failure of this magnitude would pose a threat to the lives of those aboard rigs.
At PFSNO, we worked with engineers who are specialists in the oil and gas industry to create an innovative solution to crevice corrosion aboard rigs – non-metallic T-SEP assembly. Created as a crevice preventative assembly, the T-SEP tube spacers separate, elevate, and fasten tubing, preventing metal to metal contact while also allowing inspectors complete access to tubing surfaces. Our patented non-metallic tubing spacers allow 360Â° of inspectability, significantly reducing the risk of damage by corrosion.
The installation of the T-SEP assembly is simple, and the tube spacers, which are manufactured from a durable UV resistant thermoplastic, are compatible with 1/4 in., 3/8 in., 1/2 in., 3/4 in., 9/16 in., and 1 in. diameter tubing. The spacers can be adapted to accommodate any number of tubes, and all the while, they maintain the bare minimum contact required to maintain separation.
In any industry, safety should be top priority, and for the people who live aboard oil rigs, the value of safe, reliable elements is an ever-present concern. At PFSNO, we understand that often the safety of an enterprise lies in the smallest components. That the relatively small fasteners that go into the fabrication of colossal structures carry a hefty share of the burden of safety. That’s why we continue to invest in the innovation and advancement of industrial fasteners and connectors.
To learn more about T-SEP tubing spacers and how they contribute to the structural integrity of offshore environments, contact our office today.