Pipelines that cross mountainous areas are susceptible to ground movement loading from landslides. In-line inspection using inertial mapping tools provides an excellent method of evaluating the current pipeline integrity. A single inspection only gives an indication of the pipeline integrity at a single point in time. Multiple inspections over a period of time can be used to estimate positional change and the nature of the loading process. An essential element of pipeline integrity management in geohazard areas is the ability to determine future performance so that intervention methods are correctly designed and scheduled and resources are efficiently administered. This requires the reliable prediction of the future development of pipeline integrity based on trends in the mapping data from multiple inspections.
The approach developed by the authors to predict the future integrity of pipelines affected by ground movements is set out in this paper. It involves inertial mapping data from multiple inspections and calculates future strains in the pipeline using finite element analysis. Unlike methods based on interpreting inspection data alone, the finite element model includes the effects of soil-pipe interaction and axial pipeline stress together with the operational loads to provide a more complete assessment of pipeline integrity. The method is illustrated through the use of a case study.