Inspection of Challenging Pipelines
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Nearly half of the world`s oil or gas pipelines have until recently been considered “un-piggable”. This term is used when a pipeline cannot be inspected with a free-swimming in-line inspection tool without a need to modify the tool or the line. Typical examples are missing launching and receiving facilities, diameter variations, tight bends, low pressure and flow conditions or high pressure and high temperature environments, onshore or offshore. In this paper a new concept is introduced, the so-called “toolbox approach”. The driving idea behind the concept is based on having a large variety of services with all the required technologies, including magnetic flux leakage (MFL), eddy current (EC) or ultrasound (UT), enabling tailor made solutions to be packaged utilizing exactly the right technical resources for a specific inspection and integrity challenge. But it is not limited to a technology perspective. It also uses market information to identify mid- and long term market needs as well as special operational procedures. The resulting combination of understanding market needs, requisite know-how for service execution and the right set of inspection technologies and transportation means results in utmost flexibility and optimal solutions for operators faced with managing the integrity of their challenging pipelines. In addition it must be stated that this type of work relies heavily on the expertise and experience of the crew involved, because of the often extremely complex boundary conditions and operational parameters encountered during the job performance. Several case studies will be presented to illustrate this approach, including special solutions for very difficult access, the need for bi-directional inspection solutions as well as special applications where robotic solutions were required.
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