At the Rio Pipeline Conference last September, we had a chance to talk to over 100 industry professionals, which gave us every opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas about the most critical matters for onshore, offshore and mining assets as well as integrity management as a whole. We gathered the most common questions on these topics and let our experts dive into them to clarify.
INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE AND PLATFORMS
Expert: Leonardo Martinez Forero, Project Manager
What can the industry expect in the future with an integrity management platform?
With new frameworks and platforms, both operators and technology vendors are thinking of, and working on, introducing simplicity to interconnect with maintenance and operations systems, automated processes, and machine learning for performing advanced analytics. With factors like the huge amount of data collected for assets, new complex analyses and the necessity to make decisions based on reliable information quickly to prevent integrity failures becoming more relevant, these aspects play an important role. The latest technologies will make this possible in the coming years; the industry will benefit from it.
What is NIMA?
NIMA is a framework that supports integrity management decisions for different types of assets. It offers an intuitive and reliable way to keep records traceable, verifiable and complete. It allows the definition and modification of integrity management processes and integrated algorithms as needed and enables the connection with integrity management specialists inside and outside the organization.
How does it tangibly help an operator?
Due to the flexibility offered by NIMA, the operator can incorporate their own integrity processes in the framework, enabling them to define their own algorithms, outcomes and dashboards for facilitating the decision-making process. Additionally, the operator has access to an extensive network of engineers with expertise in multiple integrity management disciplines that can provide the exact support required.
What is the difference between existing Asset Integrity Management Systems (like ROAIMS) and NIMA?
The NIMA platform takes a more comprehensive approach. It is the next-generation integrity platform based on a new concept, which affects primarily the implementation process and data and calculation flexibility while supporting integrity workflows and IT requirements. The results (risk assessments, defect assessments, etc.) are comparable between the two, but NIMA is much more flexible and user-friendly than ROAIMS.
Expert: Ricardo Nebias, Sales Manager
How do you best handle the integrity of internally coated slurry pipelines?
It is quite common to design slurry lines with internal coating in order to protect them from erosion. The hardness of slurry particles usually generates an effect referred to as erosion-corrosion. This is “a corrosion reaction accelerated by relative movement of the corrosive fluid and metal surface” (ASME B31.11 – Slurry Transportation Piping System ). Therefore, in order to protect against this threat, many slurry operators apply an internal coating in their slurry lines, such as HDPE or natural rubber. But then, how do you detect the coating thickness, possible disbandment or even erosion?
ROSEN uses the data from high-resolution in-line inspection tools using geometry and internal eddy current technologies. The eddy current data is displayed in a different/new way to give the pipeline operator a picture of the “remaining coating thickness” per spool, as in the following example:
Expert: Ricardo Nebias, Sales Manager
Are liquid pipelines free of cracks?
It is quite common to see cracks associated with gas pipelines. Often, transmission lines can see several types of stress corrosion cracking. However, liquids lines are not necessarily free of cracking either. Various causes may initiate cracking in liquid pipelines, such as pressure cycling (unique to liquid pipelines), susceptible material, residual stress, etc. In fact, it is not rare to find crack-associated failures in liquid lines as shown in the images below.
This means operators need to develop an investigative plan for crack management in their liquid lines as well. ROSEN’s approach is the Crack Management Framework that is applicable for both liquid and gas lines, considering the peculiarities. The framework does not advocate employing the fanciest or most expensive detection technology, as these will also fall short if not used properly; instead, it suggests an added-value approach to ensure the objectives and needs are understood. It includes pre-inspection elements that answer critical questions to allow for optimal system selection. The framework continues to guide the entire process from inspection to integrity, ultimately resulting in a proper threat management plan. It is modular, allowing operators to choose which elements are relevant to them in reaching their objectives and make the decisions needed for safe and efficient pipeline operation.
Expert: Rafael Almeida, Process Professional-Evaluation
What innovations does ROSEN have in terms of geometry inspection?
In terms of innovative developments, I highlight the use of extended mechatronic caliper (XT) technology to perform an internal coating geometry inspection. The basic principle of this approach is to use the proximity sensors of the XT technology to define how much of the non-metallic internal coating is remaining on the pipeline. This method can detect both coating thinning and coating loss.
OTHER HOT TOPICS
Expert: Olaf Stawicki, Sales Manager
When manufacturing metal plates for pipeline construction, is hard spot detection necessary?
The production of heavy steel plates as a process does not require hard spot detection as an additional quality assurance step in the mill. Hard spots are areas on the plate surface where the hardness of the steel is locally increased due to changes in the steel’s microstructural lattice. Areas with locally increased hardness may be more susceptible to embrittlement and, in turn, represent a serious threat to the asset where this steel is used.
International quality standards in the steel industry have become stricter in recent years. Detecting deviations from the standards and flaws in manufactured plates requires suitable inspection solutions to be integrated into the manufacturing process at the earliest possible stage. Automated ultrasonic testing systems are one measure commonly used to uphold the quality standards in the production line. They are used to find imperfections in the plate during its early stage and, thus, help to minimize costs.
However, with the ever-growing pressure to reduce all incidents, the market nowadays is also focusing on threats resulting from improper material properties, such as steel hardness. Specifically worth mentioning are heavy plates used for pipeline construction.
Monitoring heavy plates for hard spots during an early production stage is of particular importance for pipelines running under sour service. They transport media with a significant amount of aggressive hydrogen sulfide. In combination with hydrogen, hard spots may locally promote cracking in areas where the material characteristics have changed significantly.
Expert: Juan David Barroso, Sales Manager
How is external inspection of a pipeline done?
There are multiple techniques available on the market for external pipeline inspection. One utilizes the EMAT (electromagnetic acoustic transducer) technology. This technology generates mechanical waves in ferromagnetic materials, creating an interaction between a magnetic field and a specially designed coil. This allows the use of pulse-echo and emission-reception techniques (analyzing either the echo wave or the same wave emitted, but after traveling through the material), giving the inspector the ability to detect loss of thickness, internally or externally, even in the contact area of the pipeline with the support. The inspection can be performed without any intervention to the system, meaning assets can continue operating normally. The ability to detect corrosion, grooves and loss of thickness offers a great advantage in efficiency.