In 2009 a pipeline within the TransCanada pipeline system experienced a rupture. As this pipeline was already under a rigorous In Line Inspection (ILI) based corrosion management program this failure led to an extensive root cause analysis. Even though the hazard causing the failure was microbiologically induced corrosion (MIC) under tape coating, the more troubling question was “Why had the severity of this anomaly not been determined by the ILI based corrosion management program?” This led to an investigation of what key characteristics of the ILI signals resulting from areas of “complex corrosion” are more difficult to correctly interpret and size and furthermore where the line condition is such that manual verification is needed. By better understanding the limitations of the technology, processes used, and the critical defect signal characteristics, criteria were developed to ensure that “areas of concern” are consistently identified, manually verified and therefore the sizing is validated at these potentially higher risk locations.

These new criteria were applied on ILI data and then validated against in-the-ditch measurements and a hydrotest. This process in conjunction with optimization of ILI sizing algorithms enabled the operator to overcome some of the known challenges in sizing areas of complex corrosion and update its corrosion management process to improve the detection and remediation of critical defects. This paper describes this investigation of the failure location, development of the complex corrosion criteria, and the validation of effectiveness of the criteria.

The criteria are focused on external corrosion and have been currently validated on pipelines of concern. Application to other lines should be similarly validated.

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