Subsea Firm Proves Acoustic Hydrate Detection in Deep Water

Now that a ROV-propelled acoustic sensor has proven the ability to locate blockage in a deepwater pipeline, TSC Subsea is looking into other use cases, such as detecting the buildup of hydrates and wax deposits before a plug form.

Survey engineer looking on an offshore platform during underwater inspection activity. (Source: deela dee / Shutterstock.com)

An acoustic sensor detected a hydrate plug in a submerged deepwater pipeline offshore Angola earlier this year.

While TSC Subsea’s Acoustic Resonance Technology (ART) is not new, the company developed an acoustic-sensing equipment package called ART vPush that could be propelled by a ROV specifically to detect the hydrate blockage in the Angolan pipeline. The job required partial pre-dredging of the pipeline, the actual ART vPush inspection, and follow-up high-resolution imaging of the ends of the hydrate plug carried out by TSC’s Acoustic Resonance Technology External Measurement Inspection System (ARTEMIS). 

TSC uses ART to inspect or look inside walls of pipelines with “substantial coating on the exterior,” said Jonathan Bancroft, TSC Subsea global sales director.

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Jennifer Pallanich

Jennifer Pallanich is Hart Energy's senior editor for technology. She has reported on the technology that fuels oil patch exploration, development and production for more than two decades.