Abstract

To ensure the safe transportation of energy, Canadian pipeline operators spend roughly $1.5 billion every year on pipeline integrity. The most practiced form of pipeline integrity is the use of inline inspection (ILI) tools. To ensure that an ILI inspection occurs with minimal to no complications, operators often utilize tracking techniques for the runs. These techniques can be costly and have large safety risks and environmental impacts due to the nature of using manpower to perform the operation.

Using advanced Intemet of Things (IOT) telemetry devices, the tracking of ILI tools can be completed from remote locations by installing IOT devices semi-permanently along a pipeline right -of-way. This advancement has ensured the efficient, safe and reliable tracking of ILI tools while eliminating risks involved with conventional tracking. Furthermore, the current generation of IOT telemetry devices offers a tailored suite of ILI tracking sensors such as magnetics, ultrasonic frequency, extremely low frequency (22 Hz), and geophone. This multi sensor tracking solution increases an operator’s confidence in pig passages and flow rate estimations which allows the operator to optimize pump station bypassing. Finally, the IOT telemetry devices are supported by Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and satellite link which has ensured global coverage to remotely track tools. The communication module for the semi-permanent tracking solution is decided based on network availability and endpoints.

This paper will present a comprehensive analysis that compares conventional ILI tracking to cutting-edge IOT telemetry ILI tracking and illustrates improvements in operational efficiency, operational risk, overall safety, environmental impact, and cost-effectiveness. In addition, case studies from recent tracking runs will be shared to demonstrate advancements in IOT telemetry, tracking sensor technology, dynamic user interface capabilities, advanced data dissemination methods, and high precision benchmarking.

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