Extending the Life of Gas Turbines in Harsh Environments

From -30C to +41C. From dry desert to constant rain and salty sea water. The oil and gas industry is a diverse and tough environment to operate in, no matter where in the world you are based.

More locally the North Sea comes with its own challenges, including; freezing temperatures causing equipment failures, salt water which rusts the sturdiest of materials, the ever-changing weather and battling sea fog or harr as its known – not to mention aging assets which in some cases were established in the 1970s.

These harsh environments create risk and that’s why asset integrity and platform life extension is an integral part of oil and gas production on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf. Not only is it important that the asset is up to standard to continue to produce but it’s also imperative from a health and safety of the men and women working on the platform.

In November 2017 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) created a page on its website discussing the 2011-2013 study conducted across the industry called Ageing and Life Extension (ALE) Programme (KP4).

The document identified areas of industry strengths, and areas for additional focus, which will deliver improvements for the long-term management and assurance of workforce safety on offshore installations on the UKCS through to cessation of production and into decommissioning.” www.hes.gove.uk/offshore/ageing.htm

After announcing the programme and delivering it to the industry, the HSE was informed that Oil & Gas UK had set up a ALE steering group which looked at the knowledge gaps before creating several groups to develop necessary guidance for the specific topic.

As it has been a topic identified as needing focus by both the HSE and the industry it’s critical that asset integrity and life extension is taken seriously by all those working in the oil and gas sector.

An oil rig or platform has many critical pieces of equipment which require continued maintenance and inspection, in order to ensure a safe working environment and enable production to continue while also preventing major accident hazards or incidents from occurring. However, what people sometimes forget about are the pieces of equipment, the work-horses, which generate power enabling all aspects of the asset to work, from lighting to equipment and even heating – the gas turbines.

In areas where power cannot be easily accessed in remote areas throughout the world, gas turbines – which burn a mixture of air and fuel, causing hot gas to drive the turbines which then produce power – can be the primary source of energy.

In the North Sea, where the nearest land fall can be more than 100 miles away, a gas turbine can generate all the power needed to sustain a working environment. However, the harsh environment and longevity of the industry on the UKCS means continued maintenance and platform life extension includes the maintenance of critical equipment like a gas turbine.

Score Energy, an industry leading provider of Original Manufacturer approved gas turbine services, has been working across the oil and gas industry for more than 30-years now.

With world leading facilities in Peterhead, Scotland, the organisation provides vital field and depot services to its loyal clients, extending the life span of gas turbines throughout the globe.

The company, which employs more than 140 people all working to the latest quality standards throughout the world, has state-of-the-art, purpose built gas turbine overhaul workshop, providing operators with a complete service for Siemens industrial (Rolls-Royce) Avon and the Siemens (Ruston) TB5000 / 5400 Gas Generators and Power Turbines. Its 11,000m2 facility has dedicated workshops with capacity to process the range of gas generators and power turbines simultaneously through the workshop.

The team of engineers, who pride themselves in their safety processes and procedures, often maintain gas turbines which are more than 40-years-old. The company also has a dual fuel test cell capable of testing up to 60MW on gas or liquid fuels, known as the ‘GLEN’, located in the same facility as the extensive gas turbine overhaul workshop. Where a customer witness is required but not convenient for the customer a secure online test environment is available. From this online environment performance data, vibration analysis and a live digital camera feed can be viewed.

All testing is carried out in accordance with AMSE PTC-22 and ISO-2314. The GLEN has undergone extensive calibration exercises with both OEM and Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) test cells. As a result of these calibrations the GLEN is now considered a ‘Category 0’ or master test bed. All activities at the GLEN are covered by the scope of Score Energy’s Lloyds Register Quality Accreditation certification. Keeping everything in-house permits the Score Energy team to maintain strict control over the quality and turn-time delivering a faster more flexible solution to its customers.

All work comes with a market leading warranty. That warranty is a sign of support, integrity and pride offering clients a promise that the work carried out by Score Energy is of the highest quality and that it has longevity and durability – ensuring the global oil and gas industry is provided with power for a further 40 years, and who knows? maybe longer!