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Pipeline Pigging Technology

Pipeline Pigging Technology

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Published by: api-3869181 on Dec 01, 2009
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03/18/2014

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A 48-in diameter crude-oil loading offshore pipeline with an approximate
length of 11km was required to be inspected (see Fig.l).

Pipeline details

Nominal diameters:

42-48in

Fluids:

crude oil, product oil, seawater, fresh water

Fluid pressure:

10 kg/cm2

and less

Fluid temperature:

normal temperature

Bend radius of pipe:

1.5 times pipe diameter

Specification of inspection pig

Type:

ultrasonic

Measuring method:

inspection of inside wall and outside surface
for corrosion

Total number of sensors: 240
Travelling method:

bi-directional

Weight:

1,800kg

Overall length:

2.125m

Data analysis system

Inspection data from the designated areas can be regenerated by an on-site
data-analysis system. The data regenerated is output to a monitor display in the
form of a picture image as if seen from inside the pipeline. Following analysis
on the monitor display, data for the whole line is transferred to an engineering
work station at the NKK Engineering Centre, where a complete and detailed
analysis is conducted, using reporting formats such as tabulating corrosion,
and providing a planar view (plane pattern), a longitudinal cross-section, a
circumferential cross-section, a contour map, and a colour planar view. Fig.3
shows the data-analysis system.

Reporting formats

With an internal, natural corrosion sample patched on the NKK test loop,
the detection capability of the bi-directional ultrasonic inspection pig has

327

Fig.4. Longitudinal cross-section.

328

Fig.3. Outline of the data-analysis system.

Pipeline Pigging Technology

Bi-directional ultrasonic pigging

been confirmed, as shown in photos 1 and 2. Figs 4-6 show the inspection
results using the internal, natural corrosion sample (shown in Photo 3, which
was 6mm deep, 41 Omm circumference and 20mm long) which was generated
on the girth weld.

Overview of inspection work

Inspection period: September, 1988.

Pigging operation: A launcher/receiver was temporarily set at the shore
end of the pipeline. On the PLEM, a tanker was moored and a flexible hose
connected to the tanker from the PLEM.
Initially, the pig was launched into the pipeline from the shore to the PLEM,
propelled by seawater injected from a brine pump installed on the shore; the
seawater was drained into the oil hold of the tanker. Upon arrival at the PLEM,
the pig was returned to the shore by means of a cargo pump mounted on the
tanker, and recovered in the launcher/receiver. The seawater was then
drained into a crude-oil tank on the shore.

Profile pig: A profile pig with the same outside diameter as that of the
inspection pig was provided with an aluminium fin in the equivalent location
of the ultrasonic transducer ring. After its passage through the pipeline, the
profile pig was examined to investigate any deformation of the fin and the
state of disc abrasion; it was confirmed that there was no obstruction to the
subsequent safe passage of the inspection pig. Photo 4 shows the bi-direc-
tional profile pig.

Ultrasonic inspection pig: Following confirmation by the profile pig that
there was no obstruction in the pipeline to the safe passage of the inspection
pig, the inspection pig was launched to examine the condition of the inside
wall of the pipeline. The travel speed during inspection averaged 0.24m/sec;
photo 5 shows the ultrasonic inspection pig.

Site review: Immediately following inspection by the ultrasonic pig, data
analysis was undertaken, firstly by analyzing the data from a calibration
section (comprising an artificially-corroded test pipe installed downstream of
the launcher/receiver), followed by validating the accuracy of the data
acquired from the pipeline under observation. Data analysis was conducted
and observed on site.
After detailed data analysis, a final report was delivered to the client
approximately one month after completion of the pig inspection.

329

Fig.6. 3-dimensional reproduction.

330

Fig.5. Circumferential cross-section.

Pipeline Pigging Technology

Bi-directional ultrasonic pigging

Photo 1. Overview of the test loop with patched samples.

Photo 2. Internal natural corrosion sample patched onto the test
loop.

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Pipeline Pigging Technology

Photo 3. Internal natural corrosion sample on the girth weld in the
test loop.

Photo 4. The bi-directional ultrasonic pig.

332

Bi-directional ultrasonic pigging

Photo 5. The bi-directional ultrasonic pig after passing through the
pipeline.

CONCLUSION

The bi-directionally-travelling ultrasonic inspection pig has successfully
been used to undertake an inspection of an offshore pipeline to a PLEM, and
has proven its technological ability to provide valid data for efficient, cost-
saving maintenance.
NKK will apply this technique to the inspection of offshore crude oil
loading pipelines, where to date inspection has been considered impossible
by means of conventional inspection pigs.

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Corroston surveys with the 'UltraScan' pig

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