Author Archive

Expanding the AOGV Mechanical Isolation System Capabilities to GRE Piping Systems

Posted on: December 12th, 2023 by Neil Shepard No Comments

GRE piping systems have gained popularity in the offshore industry due to their numerous advantages, making them a common choice for e.g., Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels. Onboard the FPSO’s the GRE piping systems are crucial for various applications, including ballast water, cooling water, deluge, and fire water systems, which are essential for uninterrupted operations.

As FPSO vessels often extend beyond their original design lifespan, the demand for timely modifications, integrations, and maintenance becomes paramount. However, the financial and operational implications of shutting down production or docking an FPSO for system interventions and repairs are daunting. The industry, recognising these challenges, has been on the lookout for innovative solutions.

While conventional techniques used to make online repairs or connections to existing piping or pressure vessels, like hot tapping and line stopping are well-suited for steel pipes, applying them to GRE piping adds substantial challenges. These methods, where a hole saw is used to make a cut in the pipe, exposes the laminate layers of the pipe and puts at risk the structural integrity of the GRE piping. Additionally, relying on composite materials to repair and restore the integrity of GRE piping systems may not always provide a sustainable solution, in cases of leaks, depressurising the system for repairs is not only impractical but also escalates costs due to extended downtime.

Introducing the AOGV mechanical isolation tool – a game-changer in pressurised process system maintenance. 

This patented tool is ingeniously engineered to place and withdraw a blind spade between flanges on a pressurised system. By strategically utilising these spades, whether individually or in tandem, tasks like tie-ins, modifications, spool and valve replacements, pump overhauls, and temporary vessel isolation can be accomplished without disrupting the primary process flow.  

While AOGV’s efficiency on carbon and stainless-steel flanges has been proven over the last years, the exciting development is now its validation for GRE systems. We’ve invested extensive research and engineering expertise to meticulously design a range of AOGV tools tailored to the unique requirements of GRE systems. This ensures that FPSO owners and operators can now leverage the AOGV advantage, making the maintenance and modification of their GRE piping systems feasible and efficient.

As we venture into this uncharted territory, we look forward to collaborating with industry leaders to bring our revolution to the GRE system maintenance. With AOGV, it’s time to pave the way for more robust and sustained offshore operations.

Revolutionizing Brownfield modifications: The AOGV Mechanical Isolation Tool

Posted on: October 23rd, 2023 by Neil Shepard No Comments

In the ever-evolving Oil and Gas sector, efficiently modifying brownfield sites is paramount. A major challenge has been ensuring that the installation of a new module does not interfere excessively with a site’s existing and ongoing production. The AOGV mechanical isolation tool – is a game-changer in reducing downtime during critical modifications.

The Problem with traditional methods: Traditionally, installing new modules on existing structures necessitates comprehensive modifications to current infrastructure. This often translates to the installation of new pipework, valves, and blind flanges. These modifications are usually executed during planned or unplanned shutdown/turnarounds, a practice that can lead to substantial downtime and reduced productivity.

The AOGV Solution: The AOGV mechanical isolation tool offers an innovative solution, allowing for these preparatory modifications to be executed online. This negates the need for a production stop and optimizes the entire process. Instead of adding temporary valves during a production halt, the AOGV mechanical isolation tool facilitates the direct replacement of a blind flange with a pipe spool, all while the system is operational, pressurized, and containing product.

Functional dynamics of the AOGV: This patented and DNV certified tool is meticulously designed for setting and retracting a blind spade in flanges on a pressurized process system. The strategic placement of the spade/skillet, or even multiple spades, enables seamless replacement of essential components like valves or pumps. The tool can also aid in providing positive isolations of a vessel for safe entry and inspection, ensuring continuous operation of the primary process.

AOGV in a typical hook-up scenario: The AOGV mounts directly onto the existing pipe flange fitted with a blind flange. Once mounted, the blind flange is replaced with an AOGV blind spade, the new spool is attached, the blind spade is retracted, and the flanges are secured. All these processes are achieved while ensuring the production system remains pressurized and functional.

Experience: The mechanical isolation tool AOGV have been used all over the world on many different line mediums, pressures up to 200 bar / 2900 psi and temperatures ranging from cryogenic LNG to system with +200C / 400⁰F.  Applications include Tie-in, replacement of modules, valves or other pipework and providing positive isolation for regular maintenance work.

Conclusion: The AOGV mechanical isolation tool is not just another addition to the brownfield modification toolkit; it’s a revolutionary approach that ensures safe, efficient execution while maintaining productivity and a great alternative to the traditional hot tapping technology. As industry professionals, leveraging this technology could redefine how we view and manage brownfield modifications in the future.

AOGV disrupting the hot tap and line stop market

Posted on: October 5th, 2023 by Neil Shepard No Comments

Positive isolation is crucial in creating a safe work environment during maintenance, repair and modifications. The most common risks associated with hot tapping and line stopping techniques are eliminated by inserting a blind flange/skillet blind.

Hot tapping and line stopping have been commonly used methods for various purposes, such as tie-ins, equipment replacement or maintenance in areas lacking built-in isolation points. However, the equipment required can be complex and difficult to manage in a location where a line stop is needed. Obtaining a “hot work” permit and making permanent modifications to the plant is often necessary.

The success rate of these operations varies from plant to plant, resulting in inconsistent outcomes and increased risks. Relying on stopples or line stops for positive isolation is not entirely dependable.

The patented AOGV (Add On Gate Valve) Mechanical Isolation tool presents an innovative solution for pipeline maintenance and repairs. It allows a blind flange/skillet blind to be inserted at any fully pressurized flange pair within the piping or process system, offering a “non-intrusive” approach. It provides positive isolation without the need for external fittings or modifications.

The AOGV acts as a “temporary gate valve” and is assembled in sections over the live pressurized flange pair, regardless of whether it is upstream or downstream of the pipework or equipment that needs attention. The AOGV housing efficiently maintains the pipeline pressure and inventory by securely sealing around the flange circumference and bolt holes.

To achieve isolation, the flanges are separated, the gasket is removed and a blind is inserted.

Blind flanges/skillet blinds that are inserted using the AOGV are usually made according to full pipe class specifications. They come with internal seals that have a circulation port for displacing products and gas-freeing the section that needs maintenance. This port is also used when pressure testing the maintained area prior to removing the blind.

Depending on the situation, the blind flange can be left in place for a short period or an extended duration. In the latter case, the AOGV can be disassembled, stored or relocated to the next location requiring positive isolation.

Once the blind is removed, the flange pair and pipework are restored to their post-intervention condition.

The AOGV minimizes the risk of spills and emissions by allowing for the insertion of blinds even while the system is pressurized, and the process product is intact. This unique capability offers several advantages, including:

  • Reduced need for drainage, flushing, purging and venting
  • Decreased volumes that need to be gas-freed and flared
  • Minimized requirements for storing or transporting drained product
  • Reduced disposal of unwanted product
  • Minimized release of VOCs into the environment

Blinds offer benefits over hot tapping and line stopping, including simplicity, risk reduction, cost-effectiveness, safety, flexibility, compatibility, minimal disruption and regulatory compliance. They create a physical disconnection and positive isolation that enables activities like vessel entry.

Izomax recently established its first U.S. base in Houston and offers AOGV mechanical isolation as a service, ensuring safe onsite execution.

AOGV has been successfully deployed on various projects worldwide, including floating production storage and offloading, semi-submersibles, platforms, LNG terminals and refineries across upstream, downstream and integrated gas assets. It has completed over 140 operations globally, including in the U.S., boasting a 100% success rate.

Employee Spotlight – Merita Oldereide

Posted on: September 14th, 2023 by Neil Shepard No Comments

We are continuing our employee spotlight series with Merita Oldereide. Behind all of our engineering and creative solutions is a highly skilled and professional business team. Without them, the company would simply not function. Our marketing team sat down with Merita to find out a little bit more about her, her role at Izomax and what the future holds for her and the company.

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Merita Oldereide, and I am a Business Controller for Izomax.  I’m live in in Stavanger (Norway) living close to the city centre.  Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also like hiking and being outside and try to get out as much as possible in the beautiful nature we have here in Western Norway.

What is your journey into your current role?

I studied Business and International Economics at university in Budapest, Hungary.  I absolutely loved my time at university there, the course was very interesting and had a real international environment to it.  While studying, I did an internship in Hungary at IBM Global Financing where I was a Financial Volume Analyst.  That was really interesting, I enjoyed that experience a lot and learned so much during my time there. 

Once I graduated, I went back to Norway and got a job at AM Nutrition, which is in a completely different industry to Oil and Gas. AM Nutrition produce and export natural ingredients from peas to the pet food, feed and food industry.  In that role, I worked with order handling, exports and I had big focus on digital processes and improvements, which I found very exciting. I had that job for around 6 years but I felt like I wanted to take my career in a bit of a different direction and get into a role which was more focused on solely finance tasks. That’s when I applied and got the job here at Izomax in September 2022. 

Tell me more about your current role.

I am responsible for the Project Controlling, which means that I am working closely with the Project Managers to make sure we have full control of the costs, forecasts, invoicing to the customers and making sure the invoices are in accordance with the client’s requirements.  On a company level, I am involved in the budget process, assist with pricing models, various analysis and I assist with information and reporting for decision making. I work closely with the IK Group Finance team, although my role is dedicated to Izomax.

In general, no day is ever the same and it is never boring! It’s a very dynamic and fast-paced workplace, there is always something new to learn.  Everyone in the company is very dedicated and committed to their job and a positive end-goal which makes it a great atmosphere to work in. 

What is your favourite part of your role?

I love so many aspects of what I do, but I think getting to work closely with everyone is one of my favourite parts of the job.  Every month I have meetings with the Project Managers and getting to know them and follow the project from the start to the end is so great.  It’s a very collaborative role which I love. 

I also think I joined the company at a really great time.  When I first started here Izomax was still the AOGV Business Area, it had not been spun off into its own company yet.  Being a part of the journey of building a new company and the tasks that come with that has been challenging, but also super interesting and exciting to be part of.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

Like I said earlier, I joined at a great time and I am really enjoying the journey that I have been part of so far.  I know that the next few years at Izomax will be exciting as the company continues to grow and expand, that will bring a lot of fun challenges which I am looking forward to.  When a company expands and grows, there will be new challenges to facilitate and keep up with the development, and I would like to be part of that process to make sure we are the most efficient we can be. 

I am very much looking forward to growing with Izomax and continuing to be part of this exciting journey.

Izomax – Where it all began

Posted on: September 11th, 2023 by Neil Shepard No Comments

Vår Energi’s Senior Engineer for Piping and Valves, Principal and Lead Kurt Mikkelsen in Conversation with IZOMAX Principal Engineer Kjetil Aamodt on where it all began. Written by: Cecilie Torvund (Global Account Manager)

All businesses are built upon a good idea, and many are born out of a solution to a problem. The story of Izomax is no different. In December 2016, Kurt Mikkelsen, Senior Engineer Piping and Valves at ENI (Now Vår Energi) was visiting our headquarters in Forus, Stavanger (Norway) to evaluate a hot tapping solution on a hydrocarbon carrying pipe inlet to a heater on both sides at the Goliat field outside Hammerfest. The objective was to clean out the plugged heater with minimum welding and without shutting down the production.

Kurt Mikkelsen (Left) with Kjetil Aamodt

Here he met with Kjetil Aamodt, Principal Engineer at Izomax.  Kurt recalls asking Kjetil “Don’t you have a solution where we can separate the flange pair and insert a blind spade on a live system without hot work”.  “Of course!” was the immediate response from Kjetil. ‘’Madman’’ laughs Kurt.  

They sat down together and looked at drawings where Kjetil explained his idea of the ‘Add On Gate Valve’ (AOGV) – an alternative to hot tapping.  Kurt understood immediately what the idea was about, and he was also convinced that this was the solution to his problem.

Heater inlet setups are designed not to have valves. “It’s not enough with a valve, but we have to have a physical positive isolation blind if you’re going to do maintenance inside any vessel, drum or confined space on live system’’ explains Kurt.  “The problem was that the AOGV technology was not ready, and we needed a solution in place by May – only four months away.

Normally, it takes a minimum of a year to do a pilot test. However, in this instance, there was no time for applications, approvals and funding plans if it was to be in place in less than four months.

Kurt brought together everyone involved in safety and operations onshore and offshore to discuss possible risks and possible showstoppers. “We couldn’t find any reason not to use the solution and we called in Izomax for the final stress test. When we still couldn’t find any reason not to go ahead, we got started!”

What started as an idea scribbled on a newspaper by Kjetil during his holiday, went on to be the design phase of the first AOGV which then went into production not long after. Procedures were written and reviewed together with ENI. The equipment was stress tested and DNV certified in full scale at our workshop before the mobilisation could be approved.  The operation itself was managed from Hammerfest. “Those offshore were impressed with how the AOGV technicians went about their business in such a professional manner, and how they showed and explained the job. Not least, they were amazed with the tool, which was a success and solved the problem.  Everyone in my team knows what the AOGV is about” says Kurt.

‘’The best comment I have received is from the R&D manager of another large operator who was jealous that he had not been the first to adopt the technology’’ He concludes.

We at Izomax would like to thank Kurt for his unwavering belief in our people, our technology, and our skills to execute this perfectly. Izomax would not be where it is today without his courage to challenge the status-quo in a conservative industry.

Since this first project, Izomax has already gone on to complete over 130 isolations worldwide. If you want more information about the AOGV, please speak to Cecilie Torvund cecilie@izomax.com

Izomax AS Welcomes New Vice President

Posted on: August 9th, 2023 by Neil Shepard No Comments

Stavanger, Norway – 9/8/23

Izomax is pleased to announce that Jesper Veidung Moberg has been appointed to the position of Vice President and Managing Director of Izomax, effective 1st August 2023.

Jesper joins Izomax after more than a decade with Maersk, where he held various management positions globally, on top of an already distinguished career in various industries including aerospace and logistics. With Jespers excellent leadership skills, we have high expectations that Izomax will continue its upward growth cycle, with focus on structure, a streamlined working philosophy and a firm focus on quality and safety.

As the new the VP and Managing Director, Jesper will be responsible for leading Izomax’s strategic direction, strengthening our market position and driving sustainable growth. His leadership skills and industry knowledge make him the ideal candidate to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the energy sector.

Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rune Sele for his hard work and dedication to Izomax over the last 2 years.  Rune has established an organization and culture ready for further growth and tripled the revenue in that period. Rune will move to IK Group and take up the role of Executive Vice President Business Development, where we have no doubt he’ll continue to have a positive impact in a much wide role across the Group.

We are exhibiting at Maintenance Shutdown Execution and Management Summit (MSEMS).

Posted on: August 2nd, 2023 by Neil Shepard No Comments

Izomax will be exhibiting at the Maintenance Shutdown Execution and Management Summit (MSEMS) in Cologne, Germany, from the 19th – 20th October. Come along and meet the Izomax team, lead by Business Development Manager, Kenneth Latveit and Project Engineer, Simon Hus.

The team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the revolutionary Mechanical Isolation Tool – AOGV, and would be more than happy to show you around the tool. We will be presenting at the event (time and theatre information to follow).

For more information about the conference, please visit – https://globalshutdown.com/

Visit us in San Antonio, USA!

Posted on: July 19th, 2023 by Neil Shepard No Comments

Izomax will be exhibiting at the Marcus Evans Chem / Petrochem and Refinery Shutdowns and Turnarounds Conference in San Antonio, TX USA from the 1st to 3rd August. Come along and meet the Izomax US team, lead by Regional Sales & Operations Manager, Mike McCue and Project Manager, Kristoffer Helliesen Ueland.

The team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the revolutionary Mechanical Isolation Tool – AOGV.

For more information about the conference, please visit – https://www.marcusevans.com/conferences/chemshutdowns?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=chc1134izomax&utm_id=chc1134

Employee Spotlight – Jostein Egeland

Posted on: July 12th, 2023 by Neil Shepard No Comments

Tell me a bit about yourself.

My name is Jostein Egeland, I work as a project engineer based in Stavanger working for izomax.  In my free time I am interested in mechanics.  I have several cars and boats which I enjoy working on in my garage.  I also love to be outdoors and staying active, running, skiing, hunting and out on the sea with my boat in the summertime.  I have a wife and four kids, and I love spending time with them.

Tell me about your background, how did you get into this industry?

I studied at the University of Stavanger in Mechanical Engineering, obtaining my bachelors degree.  Once I graduated, I started in an trainee offshore and workshop position within a large oil service company, Schlumberger.  That role wasn’t a typical design engineer position, it was more of a field engineering role, and I worked a lot on the field as an operator and going offshore.  After 5 years there, I moved to a design engineer position at a smaller, local oil services company.  This role entailed a lot of subsea tooling and design for larger oil companies.  I worked there for 2 or 3 years before starting at IK Group as a project engineer for the AOGV Business Area, now known as izomax.

Tell me about your current role within Izomax.

My job title is Project Engineer, which is quite a wide description, because we are involved in every phase of a project from the very start to the very end.  As a project engineer you deal with the initial drawing and design phase, contacting our manufacturers, testing and assembling the AOGV at our workshop in Forus, and in the end we have to execute the job offshore.   It’s a very busy role, but it’s always exciting.

What are the main problems your clients typically face?

The problem usually occurs in a production facility where the client has a leaking valve or some type of equipment they need to do maintenance on, or they just need to isolate part of their process plant.  All of these problems typically rely on shutting down the system in order to repair it.  However, with the AOGV Mechanical Isolation Tool, the client can fix the problem by isolating a small part of the plant while the system is still live, saving money and time.  This is a solution that is needed worldwide, not just in our neighbourhood.  I have been to Indonesia and the USA with the AOGV and I can see it being used much more across the globe over the next year or two.  

What project is your biggest achievement to date whilst being with IK-Group?

As I said earlier I have been offshore with my previous jobs many times, but being on my first project here and seeing the AOGV in action for the first time offshore was definitely something special.  

Another project I though of when you asked me that question is a more recent one.  It was a high temperature job and the first time the AOGV was on US soil.  The project had a lot of tricky parts we had to find solutions for, but we managed to do the job with no incident at all and we did it in the time frame we were allocated.  It was a very successful job, and the client was very happy.  It’s the first of many exciting projects in the Americas for Izomax and the AOGV. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I think Izomax is just the start of something that can be really big.  I joined pretty early when it was still the AOGV Business Area and already the change into Izomax has been very exciting.  I know that in the next 10 years we will continue to grow and achieve some great things.  I can see Izomax expanding into offices globally, and I want to be part of the growth and change.  

In terms of my role, I would like to continue to grow there too and gain more experience and responsibility.