ABSTRACT:

A pipeline laid on the sea bottom requires regular inspections for a timely identification of possible risk conditions and a timely activation of corrective actions, to assure the operation and safety of the gas or oil transportation system. Inspection surveys are more and more carried out using Remotely Operated Vehicle, equipped with underwater positioning system, video cameras, scanning profiler, pipe tracker and a cathodic protection probe. During the survey, an intensive on-line data acquisition and off-line data processing activity must be done and the results, data, videos and reports are compared with the findings of previous surveys for the identification and evaluation of possible risk conditions and the optimisation of survey activity. In the last years the digital video technology has been greatly improved. An analysis of the utilisation of digital videos instead of traditional analog ones stored on S-VHS tapes is presented with the resulting benefits. In order to verify and easily manage the survey alphanumeric information stored in a relational database as well as the digital video streams saved using the international standard MPEG‑2, a new computerised system has been developed. It is made up of three applications: SURVEY, NETTUNO and SIS. SURVEY has the purpose of to import the alphanumeric information acquired during a survey into the database. During this process, the program performs several controls; only in case of positive results data is saved into the database. Further controls are performed comparing data with the corresponding ones collected during the previous surveys and highlighting the relevant changes. NETTUNO is the application developed to manage contemporaneously up to three digital videos; it has all the functions available on a standard video recorder with the possibility to synchronise the movies playback and other operations. In addition, the user can select a portion of digital videos saving it as new stream, or grab a single frame saving it as a still image. SIS allows to review and edit all the information contained in the database, both in graphical and alphanumeric modes: profiles, cathodic protection measurements, cross sections, and visual events gathered during the surveys are the main types of data handled by SIS. It also includes a link to NETTUNO so it is possible to directly playback movies containing the images of a specific event and, at the same time, show the corresponding alphanumeric information. Moreover, the program makes several reports about pipeline status that can be displayed using a common Internet browser. The system has been successfully used, allowing a reduction of personnel charged with the quality control, improving the overall efficiency of inspection survey, increasing the capability to handle data and becoming a more efficient tool for the pipeline management.

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