A hierarchical Bayesian growth model is presented in this paper to characterize and predict the growth of individual metal-loss corrosion defects on pipelines. The depth of the corrosion defects is assumed to be a power-law function of time characterized by two power-law coefficients and the corrosion initiation time, and the probabilistic characteristics of the parameters involved in the growth model are evaluated using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulation technique based on ILI data collected at different times for a given pipeline. The model accounts for the constant and non-constant biases and random scattering errors of the ILI data, as well as the potential correlation between the random scattering errors associated with different ILI tools. The model is validated by comparing the predicted depths with the field-measured depths of two sets of external corrosion defects identified on two real natural gas pipelines. The results suggest that the growth model is able to predict the growth of active corrosion defects with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The developed model can facilitate the pipeline corrosion management program.

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