No matter the size, developing an inspection solution in most cases includes a number of modifications and customizations. For those, we rely on our expansive and versatile tool fleet in various diameters to meet individual requirements. In this case study, experts from our Asia Pacific region were contracted to inspect a large-diameter crude oil asset.
In 2020, ROSEN experts from our Asia Pacific region were awarded an in-line inspection (ILI) contract for an approximately 7-km-long, 50” VLCC (very large crude carrier) crude import line in one of the biggest refineries in the world. The project now comes to a close after almost two decades of collaboration and preparation between ROSEN and the customer of this manufacturing facility.
Although 50” is an unusual size for a pipeline, the client still had full confidence that our international team of experts was capable of undertaking the necessary modifications and customizations. For this inspection to take place as scheduled, that meant adapting our existing fleet of tools to a 50” size. This pipeline serves as the backbone for the client to receive their raw product supply for refinement and export it back; hence, integrity is of utmost concern.
The pipeline has a length of 7 km and is comprised of underground and exposed sections starting at the jetty and ending at the client’s processing facilities. The client has set up a dedicated engineering and project team to closely work with ROSEN experts to undertake the inspection project – in particular RoGeo XT, MFL-A, RoGeo XYZ and RoCorr UTWM inspections. Additionally, the client requested a technology study and comparison between our MFL and UT technologies. Therefore, one goal is to help contribute to this study and help the client understand the different technologies and their limitations.
Figure 1 – Pipeline route from launcher to receiver at facility
The pipeline was initially built without any pigging facilities. Therefore, the client had to modify the pipeline and fabricate a launcher and receiver prior to the inspection. In order to guarantee a successful inspection with our tools, the client was required to provide a velocity of 1 m/s for a 50” liquid pipeline, which could be done either by tanker pumps using oil as a propellant or auxiliary pumps using water. In this case, the customer opted for the latter.
Comprehensive integrity management relies on inspection intervals of no more than ten years to guarantee the safety and efficient operation of an asset. In case of this specific asset, the client had not done any in-line inspections since 2002, when the pipeline was initially commissioned.
The geometry inspection then carried out reported a few ID anomalies requiring revalidation. In some locations, pipeline is buried more than 10 m underground, which presents an additional challenge because those assets tend to be difficult to locate. Since the project scope includes mapping of the line, we needed to ensure we could guarantee tracking even at depths of more than 10 m to ensure high-quality mapping data.
BENEFITS AT A GLANCE
Carrying out this in-line inspection provided several benefits for the customer, including:
- Updated pipeline routing with GPS coordinates
- Availability of both MFL and UT data, which can be compared to determine pipeline integrity
- Ability to confirm the risk of geometry anomalies from 2002
- Review of ROSEN results based on the client’s available validation spool; client can use this to determine the confidence level of pipeline results
ROSEN completed the ILI campaign within two weeks in December of last year, just before Christmas. Due to travel restrictions at the time, applying for an entry permit was difficult and could take a long time. Therefore, we had to adapt and made some last-minute changes to ensure we were able to mobilize our team in time to complete the project. Ultimately, this is why we mobilized personnel from multiple countries, specifically a total of six field operations teams from Germany, Malaysia, China and Brunei.
ROSEN and the client also faced multiple challenges on-site, including coordination and communication between multiple teams (pumping team, lifting team, pigging team and operations team) divided into two shifts. Additionally, the project was started during the local rainy season, which caused several delays. Other small hiccups during the inspection – such as value issues, the pig not communicating with the PC and pumping issues – were resolved by the client's own staff.
Despite all those challenges, our team was still able to complete the campaign with only minimal delays. Together with the customer, our team of international experts has completed yet another success project – one that might well be described as “successful and essentially safe at the first run.”