Oceaneering NDT expert recognised as innovation influencer


Jim McNab, NDT Subject Matter Expert at Oceaneering International, has been recognised by E&P Magazine in its list of Energy Innovators for 2020. Nominated by peers and colleagues, all of the people in the list have shown a dedication to advancing technologies in the oil & gas industry and have demonstrated strong leadership in ensuring the innovations and cutting-edge technologies will help to facilitate a thriving future for the industry for generations to come.

Jim has invested 45 years within Oceaneering, solving challenging problems and developing industry-changing solutions.

As a subject matter expert in radiation methods and non-destructive testing (NDT), he has been at the heart of NDT in the energy industry, particularly the oil & gas sector, for more than four decades. He has led the pursuit of new testing methods that improve safety, efficiency and cost reduction.

Jim is credited with conceiving the idea for a radiography system without the traditional disruption and danger to associated trades. He was instrumental in developing the Small Controlled Area Radiography (SCAR) system, which is accepted as the only fail-safe industrial radiography system in the oil & gas industry.

While Jim has distinguished himself as an NDT leader in oil & gas, he has not confined his innovative ideas to the energy industry. Following publication of the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Return to Flight activities, he shared his technology ideas with NASA, transferring his skillset to aerospace and taking his expertise to a new sector as a professional consultant. In this role, he worked to develop NDT solutions for on-wing inspection of leading edge panels.

Jim has changed the face of NDT in the oil & gas industry with the advances he has spearheaded. For more than 25 years, there was no reliable NDT method for detecting and measuring corrosion and corrosion under insulation (CUI) in the vicinity of pressurised plant and equipment using nucleonics for process control. Inspections were compromised by radiography, which can interfere with nucleonic sensors, causing a ‘trip’ and the subsequent risk of unscheduled production shutdown and major process disruption. Historically, inspections around pressure vessels were either carried out during scheduled shutdowns or performed while running the plant ‘blind’, introducing safety risks.

Jim tackled this problem head on, bringing his latest idea to fruition in March 2019. He and his Oceaneering team launched a new digital radiography solution, the Trip Avoidance X-ray Inspection (TAXI) system. Jim formulated the concept of this testing method, which assures the integrity of the pressure systems and facility piping in the vicinity of nucleonics, eliminating the need to defer inspections until a scheduled shutdown.

These projects are representative of the significant contributions in asset integrity management Jim has produced to improve inspection practices in the oil & gas industry. His work has created a fundamental change in inspection safety standards, introducing better methods that allow inspections to be carried out to the highest standards of quality and safety efficiency.

“We all have a responsibility to bridge the transition from the current reliance we have on oil and gas energy sources, to the ideal situation of 100% renewable energy worldwide. At Oceaneering, our goal is to lower our carbon footprint as much as possible and we are continually seeking opportunities to help our customers deliver and process hydrocarbons more efficiently with less environmental impact,” commented Jim.

The full list of individuals honoured as 2020 Innovation Influencers by E&P Magazine can be found at: