Pipeline operators invest in a safer future

Whether continuing education or new technology, investing in a safer future is standard practice within the oil and gas industry.

For the pipeline operations and maintenance engineers and the field technicians who attended this year’s Practical Inline Inspection Workshop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, their return on investment included real-world demonstrations and hands-on learning activities with some of the industry’s leading experts and most progressive integrity technologies.

Co-sponsored by the Southern Gas Association (SGA), engineering and technical services provider Kiefner & Associates, and global pipeline services provider T.D. Williamson (TDW), the workshop provided operators from the United States and Canada with introductions, education, and demonstrations of both inline inspection (ILI) and non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technologies.

Pipeline Integrity Engineer Evan Kostelka of Enable Midstream in Shreveport, Louisiana, says he would recommend the workshop to anyone remotely involved with ILI.

“The workshop was a great introduction to the various ILI devices and NDE methods,” Kostelka says.

The three day event, held 5 - 7 May at the TDW Technology Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, featured lectures, hands-on equipment demonstrations, and group exercises led by experts from Kiefner & Associates, N-Spec Pipeline Services, Quest Integrity Group, Rosen USA, and TDW.

The sessions were designed to familiarise participants with ILI technology and to help them identify the best tools and practices for their company’s unique operational goals.

“The ILI workshop was well-rounded with information beneficial to beginners and experienced pigging personnel,” says attendee Nikki Sims, Coordinator of Pipeline Integrity for SourceGas in Casper, Wyoming. “I wish I would have attended the workshop prior to coordinating my first ILI run because the information provided on selecting tools and preparing for a tool run was invaluable. I will be able to carry this newfound knowledge into the future of pigging for my company, ensuring we assess our pipelines with the proper technology and do it safely and efficiently.”

Randy Roberts, N-SPEC PL Applications and Project Management Manager with Coastal Chemical, LLC in Tyler, Texas, has been one of the ILI workshop facilitators for more than 10 years. “I continue to run into people who have attended the workshop and still say, it was one of the best trainings on ILI tools and pigging they had attended,” Roberts says.

The workshop covered topics such as:

  • Introduction to intelligent pigging.
  • Pigging success factors.
  • Chemical cleaning.
  • Practical considerations for inspecting for cracks and crack-like anomalies.
  • Determining tool specifications.
  • Validation with field results.
  • Data analysis.
  • Principles of ILI tool operations.

Expert-led sessions were just one part of the workshop experience. During a tour of the TDW Test Loop Facility, workshop participants got to see tools in action when Lee Shouse of TDW demonstrated tool launching and receiving.

By day three of the workshop, participants were putting their new knowledge to the test. Greg Donikowski from TDW, for example, presented a hands-on demonstration of in-the-ditch pipeline defect measurements. Then he challenged participants to measure pipeline pits using pit gauges and bridging bars so they could compare labor times and accuracy.

And during the MFL Signal Scavenger Hunt, participants attempted to locate defects based on the data they collected during an ILI test run.

Participants say they’re looking forward to putting their new knowledge and experiences to work for their operations.

“The class gave me a greater appreciation for the technology that goes into the tools and how I, as a Project Manager, can help to achieve successful inspections,” Kostelka says.

Adapted from press release by Hannah Priestley-Eaton

Published on 22/05/2015

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