Integrity management of dents on pipelines is currently performed through the interpretation of In-Line Inspection (ILI) data; this includes Caliper, Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL), and Ultrasonic Testing (UT) tools. Based on the available ILI data, dent features that are recognized as threats from a mechanical damage perspective are excavated and remediated. Federal codes and regulations provide rules and allow inference on what types of dent features may be a result of mechanical damage; nonetheless, there are challenges associated with identifying dents resulting from mechanical damage. One of the difficulties when managing the mechanical damage threat is the lack of information on how MFL and UT ILI tool performance is affected by dented areas in the pipe. ILI vendors do not offer any technical specifications for characterizing and sizing metal loss features in dents. It is generally expected that metal loss tool performance will be affected in dented areas of the pipe, but it is not known to what degree. It is likely that degradation will vary based on feature shape, sensor design, and sensor placement. Because metal loss tool performance is unknown within the limits of the dented pipe, other methods for recognizing mechanical damage have been incorporated into the management strategies of mechanical damage. Some of these methods include strain based assessments and characterization of shape complexity. In order to build a more effective integrity management program for mechanical damage, it is of critical importance to understand how tool technology performance is affected by dented areas in the pipe and what steps can be taken to use ILI information more effectively. In this paper, the effectiveness of MFL and UT wall measurement tools in characterizing and sizing metal loss features within dents is studied by evaluating against field results from non-destructive examinations of mechanical damage indications. In addition, the effectiveness of using shape complexity indicators to identify mechanical damage is evaluated, introducing concepts such as dents in close proximity and multi-apex dents. Finally, the effectiveness of ILI tools in predicting dent association with girth welds is also explored by comparing ILI and field results.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.