With the increased number of In-Line Inspections (ILI) on pipelines, it is important to evaluate ILI tool performance to support making rational integrity decisions. API 1163 “In-Line inspection systems qualification” outlines an ILI data set validation process which is mainly based on comparing ILI data with field measurements. The concept of comparing ILI results with previous ILI data is briefly mentioned in API 1163 Level 1 validation and discussed in detail in CEPA metal Loss ILI tool validation guidance document. However, a different approach from API 1163 is recommended in the CEPA document. Although the methodologies of validating an ILI performance are available, other than determining whether an inspection data set is acceptable, the role of ILI validation in integrity management decision making is not well defined in these documents.

Enbridge has reviewed API 1163 and CEPA methodologies and developed a process to validate metal loss ILI results. This process uses API 1163 as tool performance acceptance criteria while CEPA method is used to provide additional information such as depth over-call or under-call. The process captures the main concepts of both API 1163 and CEPA methodologies. It adds a new dimension to the validation procedure by evaluating different corrosion morphologies, depth ranges, and proximity to long seam and girth weld. The process also checks ILI results against previous ILI data sets and combines the results of several inspections. The validation results of one inspection provide information on whether the inspection data set is acceptable based on the ILI specification. This information is useful for excavation selection. Tool performance review based on several inspection data sets identifies the strength and weakness of an inspection tool; this information will be used to ensure the tool selection is appropriate for the expected feature types on the pipeline.

Applications of the validation process are provided to demonstrate how the process can aid in making integrity decisions and managing metal loss threats.

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