Self-Propelling Robotic In-Line Inspection (ILI)
Proceedings Publication Date
Mohamed Ali Abdullah
Mohamed Ali Abdullah, Mohd Nazmi Mohd Ali Napiah, Mohd Nazri Ahmad, Aishah Mastura Supian, Hendra Luthfi Bin Hassan, Mohamed Ridzuan Bin Mohamed Abd Salam, Denis Gurin
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This paper is to share the development and of Self-Propelling Robotic ILI technology that PETRONAS embark as OPEX optimization for un-piggable pipeline. Lack of conventional inspection methods to inspect un-piggable pipelines such as vent pipelines without pig traps facility and low flow pipelines, has prompted PETRONAS to embark on technology development journey for Self-Propelling Robotic ILI.


The development of the Self-Propelling Robotic ILI technology consists enhancement of robotic tethered crawler tool to a wireless robotic tool, testing and validation using actual full scale fabrication test loop. Fabricated test loop includes horizontal and vertical section with bends of 1.5D to simulate the inspection tool travel as per actual site condition representing vent line.

The enhancement consists of wireless connection range, optimum speed and distance, movement of slippery surface which grease was applied on the vertical section and emergency extraction of inspection robot.


Robotic ILI qualification test which was successfully met PETRONAS requirement based on full scale factory acceptance test. The test was focused and able to meet below success criteria: -

  1. Robotic ILI tool able to self-propel on vertical test spool.
  2. Robotic ILI tool able to move with wireless connection for the intended travel length.
  3. Emergency retrieval tool procedure and mechanism in the event of faulty robotic ILI or loss of connection.
  4. Sensor detection capability at POD 90% and POI 80%.


Based on the evaluated technology, Robotic ILI solution is feasible in ascertaining the un-piggable pipeline integrity and recommended solution to tackle high operational costs that upstream operators face when inspecting their pipelines using current available methods. Deployment of this technology is estimated to provide up to 30% OPEX optimization and contribute to 538kg CO2e GHG reduction. The technology has been evaluated to be technically ready and tested which currently in the stage of pilot testing.

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