This paper will describe diagnostic techniques bases on radioisotope technology to be used to provide pipeline operators and cleaning contractors accurate knowledge of the location, the amount and profile of deposits within a pipeline. This information will determine whether local deposits in a pipeline have caused blockages and if they are present in limited locations or if they are distributed evenly through the line. The total volume of deposits and percentage bore restriction within the pipeline can also be identified. This knowledge enables the work-scope to be more clearly defined and optimised for scheduled chemicals cleaning of mechanical pigging. It increases confidence in the cleaning operations as well. The application of this technology will also determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the cleaning if done prior and after the cleaning processes.
Three non-intrusive detection methods are employed in this technology. Each is depending on specific needs. The three base technologies are:
- Gamma-ray transmission scanning for accurate point measurements.
- Tomography measurements for detailed density mapping of pipeline contents.
- Radioisotope tracer injection technology to determine deposit profiles and inventory over long distances (applicable for buried piping as well).
The paper will give results of recent examples of all of the above, discuss the scope and limitations of the technology, and conclude with the benefits the technology brings to pipeline operators and cleaning contractors.