By Neil Ritchie

ANOTHER small Taranaki energy support company, Independent Oilfield Inspection Services, is proving New Zealand oil and gas service companies can take on the world.

Late last year Oil & Gas Australia featured TDTech, Spill Control NZ and Vortex Dredge Systems – small businesses offering specialist subsurface tools direct to the world. As well, New Plymouth based Independent Oilfield Inspection Services (IOIS) has been performing world-class independent inspections for the New Zealand oil and gas and geothermal sectors for 14 years.

IOIS has grown from a one-man operation – company founder Ross McIsaac – to several fully qualified non-destructive testing inspectors, some trainees and administration staff.

However, the compliance inspections the company carries out do not cover all aspects of the oil and gas and geothermal industries – from pre-spud checks to completion tests – rather they concentrate on the initial stages of drilling a well.

The inspections are truly independent – not the oil or geothermal company or drilling contractors checking their own operations but IOIS inspectors.

The IOIS inspectors are regularly checked and audited by fully qualified inspectors from overseas, usually from Houston.

“So our inspectors are inspected to global standards… you have to have total transparency,” says managing director Ross McIsaac, who worked in the Taranaki oil industry for several years before founding his company in early 2001.

For the initial IOIS years he helped service companies, such as the Taranaki branches of such multinationals as Halliburton and Parker Drilling, and then local companies such as Tasman Oil Tools and Oilfield and Engineering Services, with non-destructive testing inspections – “it was a steep learning curve”.

But with compliance and training being paramount in the industry, he also went to Houston to get fully trained and qualified.

So now IOIS can inspect drill pipe, full length, using the Electronic Magnetic Induction (EMI) method to the following recommended API RP7G-2 and T. H. Hill DS-1 standards.

IOIS also performs inspections from a drilling rig’s crown to the drill bit, and has been performing preventative maintenance inspections for operators since the company’s inception.

The company’s NDT services include magnetic particle inspection for ferrous equipment, and liquid penetrant inspections for non-magnetic equipment, thread profile gauging and visual end area inspection, to what is commonly referred to as an “API inspection”, with API obviously being the American Petroleum Institute.

Dimensional checks are made for compliance to API Specification 7, for new rotary shouldered threaded connections, and also compliance to the used criteria for drill pipe and bottom hole assemblies such as T H Hill, Drill Stem 1. TH Hill is an American world leader in the provision of independent third-party assurance programs for drilling equipment.

“I reckon my inspectors are some of the best in New Zealand,” concluded the IOIS chief executive.