Energy Transfer has implemented a new, comprehensive field-inspection system for the pipe inspection lifecycle that encompasses aerial observations, pipe exposures, foreign line crossings, in-line inspections, anomaly remediation, pipe inspection, and integrity sheet generation. In order to ensure the integrity of the pipe inspection program, the field inspection solution required full audit-trail capabilities, front-side data validation, and full integration with the corporate-wide GIS and Engineering Data Management System. Additionally, to ensure the success of the new inspection program, the inspection solution required a highly intuitive and field user-friendly interface, the ability to work equally well in both connected and disconnected environments, interactive mapping functionality, very high reliability, and a process-driven architecture.
Energy Transfer owns and operates approximately 43,000 miles of natural gas, natural gas liquids, refined products, and crude oil pipelines. Due to the size and diversity of Energy Transfer’s assets, the corporate GIS system must be distributed across seven independent instances consisting of server pools and large-scale relational database management systems (RDBMS). Although each system must be functionally independent, the field inspection system and the inspection process must interact with each server and RDBMS instance with equal functionality and be able to report on all pipe inspection activities across the enterprise.
The inspection system is used by over 1,200 Energy Transfer employees and contractors, and approximately 15,000 inspections are performed annually. The system supports a variety of devices, such as: laptops, tablet computers, iOS devices (i.e., iPads, iPhones), and Android devices. Whether on foot, in vehicles or aircraft, users can enter information from the platform that best meets the needs of their individual environment. Information collected on any device is available for continuance of the pipe inspection lifecycle on any other device and is available in real time at the corporate offices via a Web portal. The Web portal provides visualization tools for both business and engineering analysis such as progress tracking and remediation planning. These functions are supported through the portal’s integrated mapping, dash boarding, and a reporting functionality that includes advanced search capabilities for both comparative and predictive analysis. In addition to utilization for the pipe inspection lifecycle, the inspection system is being used for a variety of other inspection and regulatory compliance-related activities, including: cathodic protection, incident reporting, corrosion assessment, DOT structure location, MAOP-MOP establishment, shallow cover, unmetered gas loss, and many more right-of-way related activities.