The intelligent inspection tool being loaded into the launcher trap in Sicily: The ROSEN Group succeeded in the Strait of Messina with a new 20-inch inspection tool especially designed for the energy infra-
structure company Snam S.p.A.
The ROSEN Group was given the challenge to design and build a tool to inspect three parallel lines in the Strait of Messina. Tool design and build had to be within the extremely short time frame of only 14 weeks, with another four weeks to complete the three inspections. The lines connect Sicily to the main land of Italy over the length of approx. 16 kilometres. The complete pipeline system is operated by the Italian natural gas infrastructure company Snam S.p.A.
One of the technical challenges was the high wall thickness of the pipeline and the high flow rate. ROSEN was faced with the need of creating a completely new, unique speed control unit – obviously extremely challenging regarding the given time schedule. Never before a 20-inch pipeline was inspected by a ROSEN tool equipped with a speed control unit. Up to now, this feature was only available for 24-inch or bigger tools. The gas flow inside the Snam pipeline is usually around 4-7 m/s – not optimal for reliable data quality and a safe inspection. The new ROSEN speed control unit allows the medium to pass the inspection tool in a controlled way – basically by slowing it down to a speed of 1,5-2 m/s. This results in a constant inspection speed, correlated with significantly better inspection data quality. In addition, the design had to enable all tool segments to allow for enough by-pass.
The inspection tool carries three inspection technologies: magnetic flux leakage sensors assess the pipeline integrity regarding metal loss caused by corrosion. The high level geometry assessment sensors detect inner diameter anomalies that can be caused by for example by ground movement or third party damages. Therefore, formerly unknown deviations from the original pipeline shape can be identified. The ROSEN tool was also equipped with a high resolution inertial measurement unit, delivering a reliable bending strain analysis. Possible movements due to seabed ground movements or bending strains can be recognized with this technology. The IMU can also be used for XYZ mapping and (in combination with previous inspections) pipeline movement. The customer advantage of the combined in-line inspection tool is the remarkably increased efficiency due to less downtime and as result a reliable pipeline operation. Additionally, ROSEN equipped the inspection tool with anti-static measures by design, to minimize the occurrence of static electricity caused by friction between the inner pipe coating and the tool. The cups used in this inspection are mostly the same as on the proven, fully ATEX-certified ROSEN cleaning and inspection tools.
The ROSEN Group proved its outstanding capability to quickly react on market demands by leveraging the group approach. Teams from ROSEN Europe (Oldenzaal, The Netherlands) and the ROSEN Technology & Research Center (Lingen, Germany) worked together hand in hand to provide a solution in well-known ROSEN quality. The complete inspection tool was designed in only 3 weeks. After an another intense 8 week program of manufacturing and assembly as well as full scale testing in the Lingen facility, it was ready for the run. Coming directly from the ROSEN Technology & Research Center (RTRC) in Germany, it was loaded and launched in Sicily. Finally the medium started to flow and the ROSEN tool was received on the same day on the other side at Italy’s main land.
After the first run, all three pipelines were inspected in four weeks thus rendering the project a well-deserved success. Within a lead time of only 14 weeks from receiving the formal order to the successful inspection runs, the task has been completed. Technological challenges in a time schedule previously thought un-manageable: The Snam project was another chance taken by ROSEN to prove the capability to deliver outstanding solutions adding real value to a customer’s operations.