HITS JIP Convenes in Rio de Janeiro

November 25th, 2022

HITS JIP Delegates meet in Rio de Janiero

Delegates have recently returned from the latest meeting of the HITS JIP (Hull Inspection Techniques and Strategy Joint Industry Programme) which took place in Rio de Janeiro between the 7th and 9th November 2022. The meeting took place against a backdrop of seeking to reduce the carbon footprint of FPSO Operations, an objective that chimed particularly well with the oil companies, operators, contractors, shipyards, research institutes and safety authorities that participated in this JIP.

The meeting took stock of the very significant and tangible progress that has been made in reducing both the industry’s dependency on diving operations, and the exposure to risk entailed in operating in dangerous confined spaces such as FPSO Cargo Oil Tanks. Happily, these goals that dramatically improve safety and reduce risk are consistent with lowering the carbon footprint of FPSO operations.

Of particular interest was the results of a recent trial by EM&I to demonstrate the use of a BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) Scout 137 UAV/Drone with unlimited in-tank flight time and equipped with UT (ultrasonic thickness) probes. This now completes a ‘family’ of integrity inspection tools that embodies high-definition cameras for close and general visual inspection, laser scanners for deformation and distortion measurement and some thickness measurement, all of which can be inserted through limited access hatches.

BVLOS Scout 137 Drone

BVLOS Scout 137 UAV/Drone

The HITS JIP then focused on the remaining, possibly most challenging obstacle: inspecting bottom plate from the inside of a cargo oil tank. The development plan that was agreed will now focus on screening for, then testing, the appropriate sensors needed to detect anomalies, before moving to the challenge of identifying and trialing the most appropriate delivery methodology be it UAV, crawler or mechanical means; all with the aim of no manned entry.

HITS JIP Delegates meet in Rio de Janiero

Delegates pause for breath and a photo opportunity at Petrobras’s impressive Research Facility in Rio de Janeiro!

HITS JIP was judged a major success and participants now look forward to a period of hard work to deliver the next stage of the development programme in time to be reviewed at the next meeting which is to be held in Paris in early 2023.