Operational Pipeline Pigging

Wednesday 15th November 2023

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The seminar has now taken place. We look forward to receiving your feedback. Thank you to all those who attended, especially the presenters, tutorial facilitators and chairmen.

The Presentations and Papers will be added to the website soon.

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The Papers

Cleaning & ILI of heavy wall subsea pipeline with improved differentiation between debris and corrosion
Presented by Abeeruddin Syed of 3P Services GmbH & Co. KG

An 18", North Sea, heavy wall, offshore wet gas flowline with known debris interference, had to be inspected. The total length is 286km with up to 27.3mm nominal wall thickness. Potential corrosion had been detected in a previous 3rd party in-line inspection. However, the POI was limited and no clear differentiation between corrosion and debris was possible. Hence, the previous inspections were not fully successful, and the data couldn’t be used for a full evaluation of the clients problems. 3P Services was asked to perform a metal loss inline inspection of the pipeline as soon as possible. Following on from a specific cleaning program, 3P proposed an 18" GEO/MFL/DMR combo tool. This tool combines a heavy wall magnetizer with a geometry measurement segment and special DMR sensors, wall guided as well as in a stand-off configuration. The combination of these different sensor technologies allows an optimized differentiation between debris, internal corrosion, or internal corrosion with debris. This information was used to improve the POI and anomaly sizing. The challenges and solutions of this outstanding project are explained in this paper.

Assessing the accurate topography of complex channeling corrosion by means of ultrasonic wall measurement tools. A case study and experiences
Presented by Katherine Hartl, NDT Global

This paper presents a case study of an offshore pipeline with pitting and long axial corrosion that had been continuously inspected by Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) and was recently inspected with an Ultrasonic Wall Thickness Measurement (UTWM) tool. An anonymized comparison of 3 MFL inspections and the recent UTWM inspection is presented. This analysis demonstrates the challenges associated with the two methods, and how UTWM can be used to acquire topography that describes the complete extent of metal loss. Further, the case study also shows a new and more customized approach to providing data that enables a better comparison of results between different ILI methods. Finally, direct measurement data enables advanced integrity methods, like DNV-RP-F101 Appendix D, which uses wall thickness and standoff data to calculate pipeline capacity and system effect considering the effects of long axial corrosion continuously spanning multiple pipe joints.

16” / 24” / 34” multi diameter operational pigging
Presented by Vince Garton of PigTek Ltd

In 2019 the existing 16” pipeline from Gannet to Fulmar was rerouted to a new 24” subsea wye at the Judy platform location, in readiness for the Fulmar platform to be decommissioned in 2022. By performing this pipeline rerouting operation this meant that the pipeline from the 16” Gannet pig launcher now had three subsea diameter transitions from 16” to 24” to 34” over 477km before terminating at the 34” pig receiver at Teesside. This combined 16”, 24”, 34” pipeline system now posed an issue for Gannet oil production into the system as the 16” export pipeline requires regular cleaning to remove wax deposits. Pigtek were then tasked in developing a pig which could travel through all 3 pipeline diameters along with providing the cleaning of wax in 16” / removal of water in 24” and ultimately being received at the Teesside 34” pig receiver whilst the pipeline and respective platforms ran in normal operating conditions.

Deepwater Pipeline Inline Inspection – A Tool Box Approach
Presented by Lauren Guest of ROSEN Group

To ensure continuity of hydrocarbon supply, opportunities are sought by Exploration & Production companies in continually increasing water depths. A range of pipeline technologies and manufacture methods are generally employed to increase the technical feasibility of Deepwater developments. While a combination of pipeline design facilitates high pressure and high flow production, it also brings challenges for internal inspection techniques due to an amalgamation of demanding inspection criteria such as: heavy wall thickness, high temperature and pressure, flexible riser transit, trap constraints and internal diameter reductions.

To address these challenges, ROSEN is able to provide an holistic approach to inspection, whereby a portfolio of solutions can be considered, with an aim to deliver optimum integrity data while also mitigating risk. This paper will discuss ROSENs toolbox approach to Deepwater pipeline inspection through presentation of case studies.

The challenge of an all-in-one inspection - first results and benefits
Presented by Stéphane Benichou and Chloé Senah of TRAPIL

For more than 5 years, TRAPIL has been researching, as a pipeline operator, an inspection tool that would allow, in a single run, the detection, location, identification and sizing of dents, metal losses and crack anomalies (axials and circumferentials) affecting liquid product pipelines.

The search for an “all-in-one” tool would indeed allow significant gains in terms of pipeline operation. The runs are indeed done at reduced speeds, an “all in one” tool would therefore make it possible to limit the runs number, and thus the flow reductions, and thus the operating losses.

Phased Array UT technology is a disruptive technology that allows for a wide range of adjustments. TRAPIL therefore turned to this technology to try to achieve this all-in-one run.

TRAPIL relied on its existing tool XTRASONIC NEO, its test bench based in Poissy, regulatory obligations, its experience, and its buried pipes in order to establish its specifications.

The objective of this presentation is to present how TRAPIL managed to develop this tool, the successes and points for improvement generated during this process, as well as the first encouraging results obtained.

First use of Temporary Isolation Plug Technology on the National Transmission System
Presented by Neil Mackay of STATS

National Gas Transmission (NGT), formerly National Grid, own and operate the National Transmission System (NTS), the backbone of British Energy. The NTS feeds homes and businesses the essential gas required for life today in the UK. This year, for the first time NGT has conducted an Isolation Joint replacement using the STATS Remote Tecno Plug (pipeline isolation pig), instead of costly traditional venting or recompression operations. The technology provided a fail-safe, leak tight double block and monitor isolation, keeping the 48” pipeline fully pressurized at 56bar for 56km to the nearest block valve upstream. Crucially, the Remote Tecno Plug has helped to reduce NGT’s emissions and will support the undertaking of critical repair activities more responsibly on the road to net zero.

Application of Advanced Data Analytics to Improve Metal Loss Tolerance Specifications
Presented by Phil English of Baker Hughes

In-Line Inspection (ILI) is a key tool in the assurance of pipeline integrity. Magnetic flux leakage (MFL) inspection has been used to identify and quantify corrosion and other metal loss defects. However, MFL remains an indirect measurement of such features and therefore requires truth data either from in-field measurement or machined defects to evaluate and improve tool performance.

The emergence and increasing adoption of laser scan technology in the measurement of in-field (dig) results has led to an exponential increase in the volume of valuable truth data from real corrosion features. Baker Hughes has long maintained performance databases of such in-field results.

Application of machine-learning algorithms to this database has allowed Baker Hughes to address the inherent conservatism and other shortcomings of the Pipeline Operators Forum (POF)-categorised performance specifications previously used to express the uncertainty associated with MFL measurements.

In utilising this approach, Baker Hughes has developed feature-specific tolerances allowing for a more accurate assessment of feature integrity enabling a more targeted, cost-effective, and ultimately safer prioritisation of repair and other pipeline integrity activities.

High Flowrate overboarding of pipeline flushing and pigging returns using non-consumable media when facing high oil inlets
Presented by Kris Frampton of CETCO Energy Services

Processing pigging returns at a flowrate of 281m3 p/h with a 10000ppm OIW inlet event and providing a 15ppm OIW outlet. Without consumables.

On a recent project CETCO provided a rental separation package to enable the real-time overboarding of fluids from a line reinstatement project taking 17 pig runs at 281m3 p/h between 2 North Sea Assets.

Working closely with the Operator and their 3rd party engineering house the Project Team jointly developed a fit for purpose package for this project from CETCO’s Aberdeen equipment inventory.

The DNV skidded package uses CETCO’s field proven, proprietary oil in water separation technology Hi-Flow™, a fully regenerable, backwashable technology.

Hi-Flow™ processes variable inlet quality fluids without needing to break containment, batch treat or rely on consumable media.

Oil droplets from 6 micron can be coalesced with clean water for discharge and dry oil recovered.

This technology has also demonstrated an ability to reduce BTEX contamination from fluid stream via the oil reject.

The science and technical application of radioisotopes for safe, accurate & reliable pig tracking
Presented by Donald Ballantyne of Tracerco Ltd

The accurate and reliable tracking of pigs using radioisotopes is an established pipeline industry methodology. When there is misuse of nuclear elements, accidental or otherwise, it tends to make adverse headlines and create a negative perception toward using radioactivity. With over 65 years’ experience, Tracerco is the subject matter expert in the use of radioactive sources for industrial measurement and diagnostics. The safe use of pig tracking radioisotopes will be explored from a first principles approach of the science, to the practical implementation, logistics, environmental impact, health and safety. Examples of isotope tracking in the pre-comm and operational pigging markets will be explored through international case study and client feedback. The objective is to inform, provide perspective and de-bunk myths surrounding the safe use of radioisotope source for pig tracking.