This paper describes a non-homogeneous gamma process-based model to characterize the growth of the depth of corrosion defect on oil and gas pipelines. All the parameters in the growth model are assumed to be uncertain; the probabilistic characteristics of these parameters are evaluated using the hierarchical Bayesian methodology by incorporating the defect information reported by the multiple in-line inspections (ILIs) as well as the prior knowledge about these parameters. The bias and random measurement error associated with the ILI tools as well as the correlation between the measurement errors associated with different ILI tools are taken into account in the analysis. The application of the model is illustrated using an example involving real ILI data on a pipeline that is currently in service. The results suggest that the model in general can predict the growth of corrosion defects reasonably well. The proposed model can be used to facilitate the development and application of reliability-based pipeline corrosion management.

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