There are several integrity assessment methodologies that allow us to determine the acceptability of the pipe joint used by the Oil & Gas industry, especially those that present discontinuities generated during the manufacturing, construction and service stages. Some have been included in industry standards such as API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 and are described in recommended practices or investigation articles. Regardless of their development and technical scope, the quality of the input information determines the reliability of the result. Due to the complexity and accuracy of the results, the Finite Element Assessment (FEA) is considered the highest level of evaluation (Level 3) and has the highest sensitivity to input data. The main input parameters are the geometry of the defects and the mechanical properties of the material.
It is common to use simplified geometries to represent the real morphology of the defects. This approach results in excessive conservatism to the evaluation, as well as limiting the precision of the FEA. The continuous development of ILI tools and optimization of the data analysis process has solved this problem. EVO Series 1.0 ultrasonic tools gather hundreds of direct measurements per pipe area, with the highest sampling, both circumferential and axial. This density of measurements has allowed us to create geometric 3D models of the pipe joints including the anomalies with the highest possible accuracy. The use of high accuracy geometric models delivers increased reliability in integrity assessments, reducing the need for excavations and unnecessary repairs. Anomalies susceptible to FEA evaluation include: metal loss, laminations, dents, cracks and interacting discontinuities, all detectable by ultrasonic tools.