Inspecting Pipelines With Discovery™, The World’s Only Subsea CT Scanner
Proceedings Publication Date
As an increasingly large number of “unpiggable” pipe systems approach the end of their design life, Operators are requiring new and innovative inspection technologies to verify that their pipelines remain safe for continued operation. An inspection technique now available to operators is Tracerco’s Discovery™, the world’s first subsea Computed Tomography (CT) scanner. Discovery™ is a non-intrusive external scanning technique which does not affect the operation of the pipe and does not require removal of any external coating applied to the pipe, being equally adept at scanning through 50mm of heavy concrete weight coats as it is at scanning through micron-thick fusion bonded epoxy coatings. With Discovery™ now having performed over 500 scans on pipelines, flowlines and risers in the Gulf of Mexico, and a similar number across the various North Sea sectors, Discovery™ has proven itself across a wide variety of pipe systems, a selection of which will be discussed in this paper and include: piggyback pipe systems, pipe-in-pipe systems, pipe bundles and heavy concrete weight coated pipes. In addition to providing high quality wall thickness measurement data, Discovery™ can also concurrently provide an assessment of the flow conditions inside the pipeline. This means that, at the same time as determining a pipeline’s ongoing integrity, the Operator can enhance their understanding of the fluid conditions enabling improve inhibition strategies, as well as allowing for a safe method to determine the cause of any pipeline blockage and enabling targeted remediation strategies. As well as discussing previous projects, this paper will outline the developments taking place with Discovery™, including Tracerco's innovative “fast screening” technique, an approach can provide basic information about a pipe’s condition in only a tenth of the time it would take for a conventional CT assessment of the pipe.