Oil & Drilling Industry
The oil and gas industry is the backbone of the world economy and plays a vital role in the global energy supply. Various technologies and functions are involved in this very high profile and high earning industry. And welding is one such process that is extremely important for this industry.
There is a critical piece of equipment known as a ‘Christmas tree’ that is extremely difficult to assemble in the oil and gas industry. It involves various pipes, meters, valves, sensors, and hydraulic systems useful to control the flow of oil and gas out of the oil rigs or wells. Such a complex assembly containing hundreds of parts has to operate reliably even under extremely harsh conditions.
Usually, arc welding is the most common type of welding that is performed on these pipelines. If one asks a pipe welder at the rigs about the best welding machine, the answer will be a shield metal arc welding (SMAW) machine as one of the best machines for building a pipeline
Applications of welding in the oil and drilling industry
There are three primary stages of operations in the oil and gas industry. They are referred to as sectors known as upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors, and welding is useful across all of them. Let us briefly look at the applications in these sectors.
- Upstream sector
Also known as the exploration and production, this sector covers and involves exploration, drilling oil wells, and bringing crude oil and natural gas to the surface. The operations may occur either offshore or onshore, involving structures like FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) systems and SURF (Subsea Umbilicals Risers Flowlines) system.
- Midstream sector
This sector covers the transportation and storage of the extracted crude oil and gas before they are sent for refining. Therefore, many transmission lines and storage vessels, including storage tanks and transport containers, need welding. Thus, a whole new branch of welding known as pipeline welding using special pipeline welding equipment has come up.
- Downstream sector
This sector involves refining crude oil in refineries full of complex assemblies of pipes, pressure vessels, supporting structures, furnaces, and other components. These need welding and the creation of storage and transport vessels and distribution lines for refined products.
Though welding is immensely beneficial for the oil and gas industry, the pipe welders in this industry are prone to health hazards such as skin disorders, neurological damage, and respiratory diseases due to overexposure to fumes, dust, and airborne particles.
The use of weld monitor, weld monitoring equipment, especially Arc Timer, sensory arc timer, and welding arc timer, should be encouraged to prevent these occupational health hazards and the defects or risks of poor welding.
Since welding is the most critical process in the oil drilling industry, they should use updated and innovative technology to monitor their welding processes and reduce any welding-related defects or risk by achieving a perfect and sound Weld.