Camera monitors structural integrity of underwater oil and gas pipelines

Paul Boughton

Sony Image Sensing Solutions has announced its FCB camera block modules have been adopted by MacArtney Benelux for a range of high-definition deep-water pipe inspection cameras for the oil and gas industry.

The LUXUS range of inspection cameras are used to monitor the structural integrity of underwater pipelines, oil well caps and rigs in depths of beyond 4000m and pressures in excess of 400 atmospheres.

The need for such monitoring was highlighted in 2010 by the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, which led to one of the largest offshore oil spills in history. Vision systems are among the most reliable means of monitoring integrity for these applications.

The LUXUS system uses Sony’s FCB-H11 and Sony FCB-EX20D/P cameras for low light conditions. These deliver true HD resolutions and allow the LUXUS camera to operate exceptionally well in low-light levels down to 0.25lx. They also have one of the industry’s widest viewing angles, enabling the LUXUS system to cope with the breaking index of water, which shrinks the field of view by 25 per cent.

These Sony high-definition camera modules are encased inside MacArtney’s bespoke waterproof casing capable of resisting high pressures with an LED light that can be remotely adjusted to minimise blinding reflections from silt and maximise visibility range. As HDMI, USB and GigE transmission would not be feasible over such distances; the camera modules and lights are controlled via a high-speed fibre optic cable, up to 7km in length.

Ron Voerman, managing director of MacArtney Benelux, said: “Such depths represent some of the harshest operating environments and the consequences of missing a even a minor crack are unthinkable. We tested a huge range of cameras from many manufacturers before selecting the Sony modules, and the result is a camera module that delivers exceptional images in the most extreme of environments. In fact, we’ve even had it working in shipwreck salvaging expeditions at depths of 9,000m, and pressures of 900 atmospheres.”

For more information, visit

Recent Issues