Challenges in day-to-day pigging

An Online Seminar

Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th November 2020

Presented by

Seminar Format

This year the seminar will be held online using GoToWebinar.

Register now and we will send you the access codes and other details on how to use GoToWebinar closer to the seminar date.


Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th November 2020
13.50 - 16.30 (UK Time, UTC)

The Papers

The seminar presentations will be given by PPSA members, all experts in their own field.

Presentations include:

Overcoming pig loading and removal access constraints
Presented by Dale Millward, STATS Group

The inability to access existing pig launching and receiving facilities due to inadequate isolation capability is a common access constraint for pipelines. The lack of adequate isolation valves or pipelines where launchers or receivers are absent can result in essential pigging activities being delayed or conducted less frequently than required.

This paper will explain how the appropriate application of temporary double block and bleed pipeline isolation tools, and if required hot tapping intervention techniques, can be used to create or restore safe access to pipelines for pig loading and removal operations.

The explanation will be supported with industry examples and case studies demonstrating how safe access for pigging operations can be provided cost effectively, and without affecting production or depressurising the pipeline.

The challenge of inspecting pipelines with ‘unknowns’
Presented by Geert Bontekoe & Danny Molyneux, Quest Integrity

Determining how to inspect pipelines can be challenging when information often deemed critical by ILI vendors is not known.

Older pipelines with no previous ILI history may lack documentation: perhaps there have been undocumented repairs, records have been lost over time (especially when an asset changed ownership), or knowledge has been lost when key personnel retired.

Equally challenging is inconclusive information, for instance, a damaged gauge plate. It indicates a restriction, but does not provide information on where or what. These ‘unknowns’ are what defines these pipelines as unpiggable.

Two case studies will be presented, both involving offshore pipelines.

  1. The first case study involves a shallow water offshore 10x12” dual-diameter pipeline. Previous experience with pipelines in the same field indicated a possibility that 8” valves had been used.
  2. The second case study considers a 14” pipeline, where a prior gauge pig run indicated a restriction to 262mm. The suspicion by the client was that there was a reduced bore valve in the system.

In both cases, the pipelines were inspected using an ILI tool with a wide operating envelope. The large operating envelope compensates for the lack of information, while minimizing the risk of a damaged ILI tool or a stalled pig scenario and sheds light on those unknowns.

Digital pipeline integrity management - A new approach
Presented by Andrew Stevenson, Sustainable Pipelines Ltd

Pigging is often a non-routine operation and managing the risks is a significant challenge to operators / pigging vendors who do not have an intimate knowledge of the pipeline. The typical industry practice is to address the primary pigging challenges with progressive cleaning, pig tracking and stuck pig contingency planning. When these considerations are made with an in-depth understanding of the pipeline system behavior these risks can be managed better. Conventional pipeline systems do not allow this insight to eliminate these pigging risks.

A new approach to digital pipeline integrity management has been developed using spirally wound optical fibre embedded in the pipe structure. This provides a very intimate connection to pipe behaviour making real time monitoring of pressure temperature, stress / strain, vibrations, etc., possible for every 0.2m of the pipe. MASiP is designed intuitively to track pigs, locate stuck pigs and optimise pig cleaning schedules.

The base measurements provide an accurate alerting system for third party interference, ground movement, illegal tapping, leaks, etc. Integrity management then becomes proactive pipe health management and not time-based inspection. The paper will also describe the pipe structure with the integrated fibre optic sensor and recent trials.

In-line inspection tool design and assessment of hydrogen pipelines
Presented by Tod Barker, TD Williamson

Hydrogen is the smallest, lightest, most abundant element. Hydrogen gas is also extremely flammable with a lower explosive limit of 4% concentration and an upper explosive limit of 75% concentration. There is a growing network of hydrogen pipelines owned by merchant hydrogen producers operating in the United States: 1,600 miles (2,575 km) are already in place and one marketer of industrial chemicals and gases has already announced plans to add about 100 miles (161 km) of hydrogen pipelines in the next few years. It is mostly used in refining gasoline, but is also used in fertilizer, and food processing transportation. Throughout their lifecycle, hydrogen gas pipeline assets need to be inspected periodically for safety and integrity material. Magnetic flux leakage (MFL) is a robust and trusted technology for in-line inspection (ILI). MFL is very useful for detecting and sizing both internal and external corrosion in gas and liquid pipelines. MFL tool design has relied on well-established materials susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement, which occurs when a material is mechanically stressed while being exposed to hydrogen. This reduces material tensile strength and ductility, affecting the performance of traditional tools.

Successfully inspecting hydrogen-carrying pipelines while reducing the risk of hydrogen embrittlement requires the use of alternate materials and methods to develop a capable ILI tool. This white paper and presentation will discuss challenges of this unique inspection environment, which were addressed through innovative ILI tool design resulting in a successful pipeline assessment.

Pipeline life extension using custom built inspection tools
Presented by Holger Kamps, 3P Services GmbH & Co. KG

Five fields produce oil and gas through commingling manifolds to an FPSO using two main production pipelines. Both lines have exceeded their design life and are known to suffer from a level of corrosion. Inline inspections performed in 2013 and 2019 provided the basis to allow extending their operational life.

Before 2013, the 12” pipeline loop was un-inspectable. Obstacles are present that prevented passage of standard ILI tools:

  • Tool launch & receive at rotating turret with limited trap length and working area
  • Connection to the FPSO via flexible piping with reduced 10” diameter and sensitive internal carcass
  • 12” flexible piping with larger internal diameter between the manifolds (installed after 2013 ILI)
  • Heavy walled topsides and pipe-in-pipe subsea
  • Known presence of debris

Duplex pipe material affects inspection measurements

GEO+, MFL & UT inspection tools were designed and built to negotiate the existing pipeline configuration. A special test loop was constructed to simulate the obstacles. Tool passage and performance were verified and demonstrated in factory acceptance pump tests before being applied in the target pipeline offshore. Cleanliness assessment and metal loss integrity status of the pipeline were provided to the operator. Comparison of the results was used to prepare a corrosion growth assessment.

Advanced flow assurance tools to minimise pigging risks in challenging lines
Presented by Ashwin Pinto & Paul Westwood, ROSEN Group

Pipeline cleaning is often undertaken to manage flow assurance issues such as slugging, corrosion, wax, sand accumulation etc., and for internal inspection. In addition, pigging offshore pipeline assets is, in many cases, becoming increasingly challenging with the development of more deep water applications, the use of exotic materials and increasingly demanding operating conditions. 

This paper will demonstrate how ROSEN has successfully applied advance flow assurance service by combining flow analysis along with pigging feasibility studies in order to optimise pigging operations in very challenging onshore and offshore pigging applications. This integrated approach has shown significant benefit in: quantifying risks, evaluating mitigation strategies, confirming pigging feasibility and optimized pigging campaigns. Advanced flow assurance analysis has helped operators to achieve project goals safely, effectively and within budget.

This paper will demonstrate where integrating flow assurance tools with pigging feasibility expertise can support operators with the execution of complex offshore pigging operations, and provide a few case study examples to illustrate this.

Pigging in the Arctic Circle
Presented by Richard Sharvin, Baker Hughes, Process & Pipeline Services

Often the main focus of inline inspection (ILI) is the inspection vehicle itself; however, the ultimate goal of any ILI operation is reliable and accurate data. This end goal can be challenged by the operational variables that many inspection companies are faced with, for example: line conditions; geographical complexities; changes in pipeline construction.

This paper explores the main factors that contribute to delivering the reliable and accurate inspection reports which pipeline operators demand whilst overcoming complex challenges and several coexisting, non-standard conditions.

A case study will be used in collaboration with IKM (EPC) and Var Energi (Operator) to focus on a unique project, running an inspection vehicle from a subsea pipeline launcher/receiver (PLR) to the Goliat Platform which is the Northern-most oil and gas production platform in the world.

This review is particularly valuable for operators of remote offshore pipelines with subsea launch and receive traps, where utilising ILI technology may not have previously been considered possible.

Effective management of geohazard threats in pipelines
Presented by Derek Storey & Pranav Pasari, INSPIPE integrity Ltd

Geohazards in the form of earthquakes, landslides, mining subsidence, etc., will typically result in ground movement and where a pipeline crosses such areas, it will be subjected to additional distress that may lead to its failure. The geohazard related pipeline failures often drive operators to include rigorous geohazard mitigation strategies in their pipeline integrity management programs. Ensuring and managing the integrity of the pipeline in such cases requires frequent monitoring of the pipeline either by In-Line Inspection (ILI) or above ground surveys (e.g. line walking); however, these can be costly and ineffective to identify all geohazard threats if not performed at the required frequencies.

This paper describes the use of satellite borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology in the monitoring of ground movement in the vicinity of a pipeline as a complimentary alternative to support geohazard mitigation. Differential Interferometric SAR (DInSAR) processing allows for accurate measurements of changes in terrain conditions, which can be in the level of millimetres in terms of accuracy. In addition, we will be looking at how the integrity of the pipeline can be monitored and efficiently managed using the DInSAR system in combination with pipeline strain measurements obtained by running an IMU (Inertial Mapping Unit).


This online seminar is free of charge for both members and non-members.


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