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Title: Managing the threat from weather and outside force using ILI
Category: Technical papers from the Journal of Pipeline Engineering
Downloadable: Yes 
Project No.:
Research Agency:
Catalog No.: 2416s
Date of Publication: 2017-12-01
Price: $85.00 US
Authors: Jane Dawson and Ian Murray
Abstract: WEATHER AND OUTSIDE FORCES are a threat to many pipelines. Pipelines can be loaded by external forces caused by different types of events, including settlement, wash- out/flooding, subsidence, landslides, earthquakes, and human activity adjacent to the line. In some cases the effect can be immediate. However, in other cases, the progressive increase in loading can occur over time. There are various methods to monitor pipeline movement in-situ, such as slope inclinometers or strain gauges, but these techniques have limitations. Pipelines are typically long, running through areas of remote terrain or areas which are challenging to access. Thus, there are considerable practical challenges to operators to monitor their full systems using in-situ techniques.

Running an IMU (inertial mapping unit) tool as part of an in-line inspection (ILI) survey has become a routine practice for many pipeline operators. The IMU provides a synchronized stream of mapping information which, aligned to the ILI data, provides the means to accurately and easily locate pipeline anomalies, features, and fittings. Specialized assessment of the IMU data can be performed to calculate curvature and the consequential bending strain levels throughout the pipeline to identify potential locations which have been affected by weather and outside-force events. When bending strain information is combined with the anomaly data collected by other ILI sensors (ovalities, dents, buckles, girth or spiral weld cracks or anomalies, pipe-body cracks and widespread metal loss) this facilitates the identification of immediate and sub- critical integrity concerns in the pipeline that may otherwise have been missed in the absence of the x, y, z mapping data. Furthermore, the comparison of repeated mapping runs enables more accurate identification and assessment of pipeline shape changes, indicating areas of potential movement that may have occurred between inspections, providing further information which can assist the management of on-going threats from weather and outside forces.

This paper describes the pipeline- integrity assessments that are possible from single and repeat IMU runs. The stress and strain limits that can be applied to both anomaly-free pipe and when anomalies are coincident with the bending strain are discussed. We share our experience of conducting numerous bending- strain assessments and operator feedback from in-field investigation work.

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