DNV GL has expanded its research and testing capabilities in the UK with the addition of a further facility at the Bishop Auckland site, County Durham. 

Earlier named the Flow Centre, the site is expected to complement and bolster the research and testing capability at Spadeadam in Cumbria, which will increase the range of opportunities at the two centres. 

DNV GL UK vice-president for safety and risk Gary Tomlin will manage both facilities.

Tomlin said: “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.”

Besides featuring one of the largest high-pressure natural gas test facilities in the world, the site is linked to the UK national gas transmission system and uses dry natural gas at pressures from around 38bar to 55bar and flow-rates from 20m³ to 19,500m³/hr, with nominal gas temperature of 5°C to 10°C. 

"A test can be carried out on valves to simulate operational conditions several hundred metres below the seabed."

A wide range of components from 1in to 48in in diameter can be gas-flow tested. The facility also calibrates pressure and temperature equipment, along with dimensional calibration of orifice plates in laboratories on-site.

In Cumbria, the Spadeadam Testing and Research Centre is an advanced location for full-scale destructive and non-destructive testing for the oil and gas, chemical, utilities and security industries.

It covers more than 50ha of Ministry of Defence land. It gives organisations an opportunity to conduct ’real-life’ research in a controlled, confidential, and secure environment. 

DNV GL UK regional manager Hari Vamadevan said: “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.”

Image: Bishop Auckland facility. Photo: courtesy of DNV GL.