The site, formerly known as the Flow Centre, has been positioned to complement and enhance the research and testing capability at Spadeadam in Cumbria, increasing the scope across the two centres.
Gary Tomlin, DNV GL Vice President, Safety and Risk, UK, will manage both facilities. He says: “The research and testing site at Bishop Auckland is unique. It has a long history serving the gas industry and primarily does work for the distribution and transmission networks. The facility has now been expanded to serve the offshore sector and we have onsite the only vertical test rig for subsea safety valves in the world. This means a test can be carried out on valves to simulate operational conditions several hundred metres below the seabed.”
The Bishop Auckland test facility boasts one of the largest high-pressure natural gas test facilities in the world. It is connected to the UK national gas transmission system and uses dry natural gas at pressures from approximately 38 to 55 bar and flow rates from 20 to 19,500 actual m3/hr with nominal gas temperature of 5 to 10°C. A wide range of components from 1” to 48” diameter can be gas flow tested. Calibration of pressure and temperature equipment is also performed along with dimensional calibration of orifice plates in laboratories on site. In Cumbria, the Spadeadam Testing and Research Centre is one of the world's most advanced locations for full-scale destructive- and non-destructive testing for the oil and gas, chemical, utilities and security industries. It is the largest facility of its kind in the UK, covering more than 50 hectares within Ministry of Defence land. It gives companies a rare opportunity to conduct ’real-life’ research in a controlled, confidential, and secure environment.
Hari Vamadevan, DNV GL Regional Manager for the UK, says: “The two facilities relate so well to one another, it makes perfect sense to consolidate these world class sites and operate them as one unit. The plan is to make these assets the focal point of research in the UK, where we can capitalise on the many joint industry projects we undertake every year.”