Steve Vick International Wins ‘Champion of Champions’, For ESEAL and FBOS, at IGEM & PIG Lions’ Lair Event

March 8, 2021

Steve Vick International are delighted to announce that Andy Hutchison, Technical Support Engineer, won the coveted title of ‘Champion of Champions’ at the recent Lions’ Lair competition, organised by IGEM London, Southern and Eastern Section and the Pipeline industries Guild (PIG).

This well attended event, which takes place annually, was held virtually, on the 24th February. The format changed slightly, for this year, with six previous winners returning to battle it out for the title ‘Champion of Champions’.

The finalists had five minutes to showcase their innovation followed by five minutes of questions from the “Lions”. In 2019 Andy won Lions’ Lair with Enhanced SEAL (ESEAL) and so in the spirt of the new format, he presented this again along with two further innovations that deal with the complexity of stubs/stranded mains; ESEAL 2, a safe and effective method of abandoning 100% of gas mains under ‘live’ conditions without removing the tee piece and SVI’s latest innovation Foambag Operation on Stubs (FBOS).

FBOS is the long-awaited solution for fully decommissioning mains of engineering difficulty, such as stranded, one way fed, stubs or those found on mains replacement schemes. The FBOS technique fully decommissions mains right up to the last transition joint and is currently available for diameters of 4”-6”. These sections of metallic pipe and associated tee pieces into parent mains, can be impractical and costly to excavate due to the location often being under a busy junction or in a sensitive area. This makes the remote deployment of FBOS the ideal solution.

Andy delivered an excellent presentation and answered some challenging questions which, combined with the innovative products, won the judges over on the day.

The judging panel consisted of Chris Bielby OBE – Chair of Gas Industry Safety Group (GISG), Chris Clarke, Energy Strategy Director at Wales & West Utilities and James Harrison, Director of London Network at Cadent and Paul Denniff, Network & Safety Director at SGN.

Enhanced SEAL was developed by Steve Vick International in collaboration with Northern Gas Networks and FBOS in collaboration with Cadent. Both projects were funded by the Network Innovation Allowance.

Northern Gas Networks has estimated that Enhanced SEAL has saved them £2.75 million to date. In the last 12 months, over 244 operations have been completed for the rest of the UK networks, saving them approximately £1.3 million. ESEAL 2, over the last 12 months has saved NGN and other networks an estimated £1.58 million. Following successful field trials, FBOS, is currently being reviewed by Cadent for final policy sign off. Due to its low costs compared with more traditional methods, FBOS will also produce significant savings to the GDN’s in the future.