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TWI hosts Woodside Energy Ltd sub-sea pipeline workshop

The Grand Challenge - A fundamental step change in the productivity of laying sub-sea pipe lines


Western Australian oil and gas company, Woodside Energy Limited sponsored and TWI hosted a first event of its type to make a fundamental step change in the productivity to lay sub-sea pipe lines. ‘The Grand Challenge’ focussed on generating solutions for the 2min welding of pipe line and its adjoining processes which was supported by a panel of experts from across TWI and associated supply chain organisations.

The workshop process captured many innovative opportunities in a spirit of co-operation and openness across the many suppliers who also gained valuable insights for their future support. Woodside and TWI have received credit for a stimulating workshop which is now a model for future events.


Woodside Energy wanted a solution that would allow enhance productivity and reduce the cost of joining hundreds of kilometres of sub-sea pipeline. In order to realise the opportunity to reduce the substantial billion dollar cost of this procedure, Woodside approached TWI to organise a meeting with TWI’s experts in joining, materials and integrity management, and representatives from companies including Saipem, Shawcor Ltd, The Mitsubishi Corporation, independent welding company CRC Evans, welding codes and standards professionals DNV GL, Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, Siemens, Huisman, fixturing supplier MetLase, and Rolls Royce. 

This approach ensured a comprehensive solution was achieved spanning the many technology facets associated with ‘The Grand Challenge’.

Speakers included TWI, Woodside Energy, Saipem
A cartoonist captured the key moments
Facilitators Liz Salter and Colin Haden kept the discussion moving

After much deliberation and technical debates, it was concluded that the best way to effect the 2-minute welding of the pipeline was to use Reduced Pressure Electron Beam Welding (RPEBW) as the key approach to developing a single-pass process.

Using previous successes using Electron Beam welding, it was felt that with a high degree of confidence  this process could be adapted for offshore operations. Whilst other competing technologies such as laser and friction welding were also considered as future potential candidates.

However, a comprehensive solution was required and so automated handling, materials, protective coatings, and quality assurance were also considered which was supported by the relevant experts on-hand during the workshop.


This event proved to be a success in finding a comprehensive solution focussed on end-to-end processing for various challenges from welding to integrity management and coatings to automated robotic inspection.

This challenge represented the first time a cross-disciplinary panel of experts on this scale had been assembled at TWI to find a solution to a particular problem. By drawing on the knowledge and input from the many different representatives, TWI were able to help find an integrated turnkey solution to Woodside Energy’s dilemma.

While work is due to continue on this challenge, the event showed that TWI has the capability to draw together a multi-disciplinary team of industry experts to find the best solution to a specific problem.

Perhaps we could help you with your challenge too?

For more information, please email

Avatar Andrew McCluskey

‘Well run, great process, great networking’


Avatar Steven Lowth

‘Well run and interesting looking at a wide-reaching problem outside my usual area of expertise’

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