Avoiding Future Pipeline Failures by Detecting, Identifying, and Prioritizing Mechanical Damage

Proceedings Publication Date:

23 Jun 2017
Chuck Harris
Chuck Harris
Part of the proceedings of
Although rare, pipeline failures that result in the release of product can have grave and costly consequences. Personal injuries, environmental impacts, expenses related to property damage, clean-up, and repair, and—ultimately—lost revenue can all occur. One of the leading causes of pipeline failure worldwide is mechanical damage, typically defined as a combination of dents, gouges, and/or cold work caused by the application of external forces. (1) For example, the European Union’s petroleum industry watchdog, CONCAWE, reports that “third-party interference” has been the chief cause of failures in European cross-country liquid pipelines since 1971.(2) The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) indicates that damage resulting from excavation equipment generally results in immediate failure (3). However, there are notable exceptions where the aftermath of mechanical damage has been delayed by several years. Focused on a legacy pipeline that failed as the result of backhoe damage decades earlier, this white paper examines how advanced inline inspection (ILI) equipment with multiple technologies configured on a single inspection vehicle enabled the pipeline operator to identify, rank in severity, and prioritize the repair of 350+ excavation damage locations. Specifically, the white paper addresses how the multiple dataset (MDS) platform for 16-inch pipelines detected, characterized, sized, and provided inputs to prioritization techniques for interacting threats that were most likely to negatively impact pipeline integrity. (1)http://www.api.org/~/media/files/publications/whats%20new/1163%20e2%20pa.pdf (2)https://www.concawe.eu/uploads/Modules/Publications/rpt_98-1-2003-01974-01-e.pdf (3)https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/gasimp/docs/MECHANICAL_DAMAGE_FINAL_REPORT.pdf

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