Very high day-time temperatures, sand wherever you are looking, and flow lines with a three-way ball valve access — this is what the ROSEN solution experts faced on a project in Saudi Arabia. The country in the Middle East has a pipeline system with a length exceeding 17 thousand kilometers. It is the world’s largest oil producer behind the US. Saudi Arabia is dominated by the Arabian Desert, which contains the largest contiguous sand desert in the world: the empty quarter. Near this region, ROSEN cleaned and inspected a multi-phase infield pipeline.
The pipeline could only be accessed through a three-way ball valve, which meant that no launcher or receiver was available. Because of this, and the fact that the pipeline contained tight 1.5D bends throughout, a small and compact tool was required for the inspection. The main concern of the operator was corrosion, so the ILI solution needed to not only be a single segment, but it also had to be equipped with ROSEN’s proven MFL technology. Due to the short, single-segment tool design, there was no room left for an odometer, which posed challenges related to locating features later on. Other aspects the ROSEN solution experts had to consider were the low pressure in the pipeline and the fluctuation of flow by the well source. Consistent speed is desired in order to properly magnetize the pipe wall and collect the necessary data with the highest possible quality.
The client requested that the inspections be carried out during regular operations. Prior to the inline inspection, a cleaning tool went through the pipeline to remove expected heavy debris. However, the cleaning requirements were minimal because the newly-developed ultra-compact ILI tool was equipped with proven and robust MFL technology, which can handle a moderate level of debris.
The customized RoCorr MFL-A service solution package consisted of:
- Electronic and battery units integrated inside the magnetizer body
- Short design with optimum flexibility and passage
- Strong and flexible magnetizers to maintain constant contact with the pipe wall
- High-resolution MFL sensors to collect quality inline inspection data
- A large polyurethane buffer for the protection of the tool and valves
- Bidirectional capabilities and
- Special launching and receiving equipment
- External tracking and referencing system
This customized inline inspection offered many benefits: The most important ones were detailed corrosion analysis and maximized operational uptime. Because of the ultra-compact ILI tool, pipeline modifications were not required, no liquid filling or nitrogen pumps were needed, and hydro-testing could be avoided. After the preparation work was done, the inspection was completed within half a day, which limited the interference with regular operations.
Furthermore, the lightweight solution is cost effective. There was no need for expensive onsite support equipment, manpower, or pipeline modifications.