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Tracking of Buoyancy Flux of Underwater Plumes for Identification, Close Visual Inspection and Repair of Leaking Underwater Pipelines in Muddy Waters

[+] Author Affiliations
Jasper A. Agbakwuru, Ove T. Gudmestad, John Groenli

University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway

Helge Skjæveland

As Norske Shell, Tananger, Rogaland, Norway

Paper No. OMAE2013-10028, pp. V04AT04A002; 10 pages
  • ASME 2013 32nd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 4A: Pipeline and Riser Technology
  • Nantes, France, June 9–14, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5536-2
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


The importance of close visual inspection of leaking sections of pipelines prior to repair activities cannot be over-emphasized. Underwater optical cameras are important gadgets for most underwater inspection vehicles and submarines. However, the optical camera ordinarily immersed in a gaseous or liquid plume in muddy water condition will see no reliable trace but nearly blank or the scatter of diffused light of illuminating lamps. The implication is that underwater water tools that could be used in clear water to inspect and identify point of leaks on pressure containment structures would not be useful when such structure is installed in muddy or poor underwater visibility conditions.

Recent developments have demonstrated a diver assisted technique of close visual inspection of leaking containments structures installed in muddy water using clean water injection. This present paper demonstrates a technique of tracking and identifying leaking points on pipelines installed in unclear/muddy water conditions using optical cameras installed in a novel manner. The method leads a remotely operated or hyperbaric system to the point of leak in muddy water conditions for close visual inspection and subsequent repair.

The tool performance is validated in a muddy water of Secchi measure of less than 1 cm and in a number of trials, the tool is found sitting at the leak point. Secchi measure is the visual depth into the water column.

Forces that could be found in the plume and the consequences of buoyancy loss to floating or submarine equipment are also examined. Some techniques using remotely operated vehicles and manned hyperbaric bells for leak identification, close visual inspection and repair of pipelines installed in muddy water using the benefit of this presented methodology are proposed and discussed.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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