The growing concern with safety and environment has brought new challenges and needs to the inspection and maintenance activities in pipelines for gas, ethanol, oil and derivates. Such new needs ask for the development of new technologies and complex and expensive test assemblies, availability of these products for tests and adequate means of disposal and reuse.
The overall cost of such installations, of eventual and discontinuous use, is very high and the recent disassembling of existing testing loops suggests that the cost of construction is not the most important and other issues must be considered, in order to allow the resources sharing and the apportionment of expenses, reducing installation and maintenance costs.
A model of shared research facility is discussed, with emphasis on some key aspects like confidentiality of the tests and collected data, flexibility of the installations to fulfill newer needs and availability at low costs.
A not-for-profit institution, operating since 2006 under this model is presented, with some results and a brief description of facilities that support those results.
According to this shared model philosophy, CTDUT – Pipeline Technology Center was founded by Petrobras, Transpetro and PUC-Rio as an open and independent association of institutions and now has 45 members. The facilities are open to use by any company in the pipeline industry, regardless of being or not an associate, through a shared and self sustainable utilization model, contributing for the development of the segment and for a cost reduction in research and development. It is based on the utilization of the existing expertise in the universities and research centers, instead of relaying on a permanent group of researchers. Such specialists are invited to cooperate in the ongoing researches trough a network of competence in pipelines.