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Inspection Technologies for Traditionally “Unpiggable” Liquid Pipelines

[+] Author Affiliations
Amy Higgins, Ryan Dale, Brian Ellestad, Mark McTavish

Enbridge Pipelines Inc., Edmonton, AB, Canada

Paper No. IPC2014-33598, pp. V004T05A008; 7 pages
  • 2014 10th International Pipeline Conference
  • Volume 4: Production Pipelines and Flowlines; Project Management; Facilities Integrity Management; Operations and Maintenance; Pipelining in Northern and Offshore Environments; Strain-Based Design; Standards and Regulations
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 29–October 3, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Pipeline Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4613-1
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Enbridge safely operates thousands of miles of piggable pipelines throughout North America. Within stations and terminals however, much of this piping has been uninspectable using conventional free-swimming in-line inspection technologies due to design and/or operating conditions. As a result, other direct assessment inspection techniques have been used to determine the condition of these assets. Seeing the need for smarter and more effective inspection and screening technologies for unpiggable pipes, many inspection tool vendors have developed new tools that can inspect these lines, although these often require pipe modifications.

The Enbridge’ Facilities Integrity group manages the integrity of all unpiggable piping and associated piping components associated with approximately 25 tank farms and over 150 pump stations. Inspections are planned based on a systematic analysis of integrity threats and consequence based risk factors. Inspection techniques are selected on a case-by-case basis to best manage the integrity of the asset based on the defined threats. Successful execution of these inspections is dependent on support from many functional areas. The effectiveness of the procedures for the planning, resources, inspection, repair/remediation, and incorporation of the findings is critical to the success of the program.

Enbridge is constantly looking for proven technology that will improve the integrity management of these assets. Enbridge is also actively supporting the development of new technologies that, once proven, will change the way we think about integrity management. Tethered inspection tools, bi-directional free swimming tools and tools that can navigate tight fittings and short radius bends are just a few of the new and innovative in-line inspection technologies Enbridge has been investigating over the past few years. In addition, Enbridge is currently involved in trials and validation of several inspection tools for the purposes of initial screening including guided wave technology, above ground screening methods, and tools that can detect corrosion under insulation.

This paper will discuss Enbridge’s experience with these new inspection technologies, highlighting the planning and preparation required to successfully complete these inspections, the benefits and challenges associated with these technologies, and the ongoing work being done to improve the application of these technologies in the future.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Inspection , Pipelines



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