Recent technological advances have provided the operators of plants, terminals and offshore facilities several different options to complete In-Line inspection of pipelines and associated piping that makes up a vital component of their overall operation. In-Line inspection is a critical component of an over all system integrity program. Up until recently there weren?t any in-line inspection technologies that could be effectively utilized in plant, terminal and offshore piping applications due mainly to bend geometry and lack of appurtenances that would economically allow the introduction and withdrawal of inspection vehicles. As well, new regulatory pressures and environmental concerns are making the option of in-line inspection more attractive as a vehicle to lower or control a corporation?s exposure level. This paper explores all the available technologies and innovative methods to carry out in-line inspection on systems that were considered Un-inspectable.
By definition Inspection means to look closely at or examine. In the context of a terminal operator, inspection is the best tool available to assure that the products handling systems are unimpaired and in sound condition. There are several motivating factors to insure that the operator maintains the system?s integrity, such as, protection of the public, protection of employees, prevention of uncontrolled product releases and protection of the environment. Apart from underground storage tanks and above grade storage tank floors?, buried piping is the major risk exposure for undetected product release faced by the terminal operator. There are options to safeguard the day-to-day operations against leaks and spills such as on-line leak detection systems and inventory control measures. As well, there are regulatory requirements such as periodic hydro testing to assure that a system is sound. However, without inspection a terminal operator does not truly have a definitive measure of what the system?s actual integrity is.
This paper will explore the various types of in-line inspection technology available as well as the innovative methods utilized to employ these in terminal type piping configurations.