Integrity management for the aging US pipeline infrastructure looks very different than it did a decade ago. Information, analysis, and depth of data have improved and evolved, which begs the question – has your approach to integrity management evolved with the data and industrial knowledge of these ILI systems?

The Danger of Oversimplification

Oversimplifying the in-line inspection process to “pigging and digging” minimizes the value of the data and the ILI vendor relationship. Relying on reporting criteria and comments found in pipe tallies or feature lists is textbook oversimplification. Operators can reverse this effect by leveraging their investment in an ILI-based integrity assessment with post-ILI engineering practices.

Proper ILI processes with post-ILI engineering uncover stories in the data to avoid missing critical integrity threats. Having the right post ILI protocols maximizes the value of each ILI technology and prevents common misuses of each ILI technology.

A great way to maximize value is to start by asking the right questions. Start with:

  • Which corrosion morphologies are you assessing, and can the ILI systems selected provide that data I need?
  • Do I need to leverage Effective Area Method-based burst pressure calculations, and does the ILI system provide the necessary data to calculate it accurately?
  • Why am I not using IMU?

The First Step to a Clear Data Story

The first step towards understanding these questions and driving towards answers is to contact the Pipeline Integrity Engineering group at ADV Integrity. Christopher De Leon and Rhett Dotson will walk through your ILI report and interpret the data, so you get the full story.

“If you’re still running the traditional MFL and caliper, a threat will probably find you before you find it,” Chris said. “When it comes to keeping up with the integrity and the health of your pipeline, it depends on if you’re using the right technologies in the right situations, with the right post-inspection analysis.”

Understanding ILI data, and interrogating it properly, is a complex process that requires engineering analysis and peer review in many cases. Ensuring long-term and short-term asset integrity requires focused assessments and efforts to point the operator’s attention to the right next steps and with the right method.

“If all you’re using is a pipe tally to manage your threats, you are not listening to your data. You are not maximizing the value of your data, and you’re not maximizing your value with your ILI vendor,” Rhett said. “Chris and I can help you know what to look for, and know how to read the signs in the data to give you a better idea about the health and safety outlook of your pipelines.”

Opt for Better Glasses

Traditional methods, including MFL and caliper, might have at one point given operators all they needed to know in ensuring the integrity of their pipeline assets. Today’s landscape tells a different story. Traditional methods only provide a partial snapshot of a much bigger picture. If you want to get a view of the whole picture, you need better glasses – in other words, you need a holistic ILI process that uses post-ILI engineering to establish an appropriate response to the data. The response may include not only excavation efforts, but also strategic analysis of the data or even deploying an additional ILI system to collect needed information.

Inline inspection graph illustration

Adopted from: Pipeline Operators Forum

For Better Integrity Management

Integrity management is an iterative cycle of asking questions, collecting data, understanding the likelihood of each threat, performing integrity assessments, and mitigation.  ILI alone is not an integrity assessment—it has to include the appropriate post-ILI integrity engineering analysis. Traditional baseline MFL and caliper can be (and should be) combined with ILI-based engineering techniques. The combination ensures near-term integrity and indicates where additional data or mitigation activities are required.

Contact Chris and Rhett at ADV Integrity. They’ll ask the right questions to dig into your ILI process. Then, they’ll lay the groundwork for moving forward with a smarter, updated integrity management plan.

The pipeline industry never stops moving and evolving, and neither should you. Make sure your inspection process provides the right protection for your pipelines.

Chris De Leon Headshot Picture

For more information, please contact:

Christopher De Leon
Director of Pipeline Integrity

Christopher De Leon has 12 years of experience with pipeline integrity. His expertise lies in pre- and post-in-line inspection activities, integrity management, MAOP reconfirmation, material verification, and regulatory consulting.

Rhett Dotson, PE Headshot Photo

For more information, please contact:

Rhett Dotson, PE
Chief Engineer of Pipeline Integrity

Rhett Dotson has 16 years of experience in the pipeline industry. Rhett has experience in helping operators use data collected from in-line inspection, analysis, and full-scale testing to manage threats associated with mechanical damage, weather and outside forces, and vintage pipe materials.