Axial strain inspection using the AXISS™ is an established tool in the pipeline operator’s toolbox to assess pipeline geotechnical threats and other strain related events. Consequently, there is a large database of axial strain data for several different pipelines operating in different environments and from multiple inspections at the same geographical locations.

The Cheecham slope, located south east of Fort McMurray, Alberta, is a known geohazard site crossed by six individual pipelines. The lines were constructed between 1999 and 2013 and have a size range of 10” to 36”. Five out of the six lines, 12” to 36”, have been inspected using the axial strain tool. The pipelines inspected cover a range of characteristics including, different vintages, pipe diameters and positions in the ROW. These differences, and the ILI runs provide an insight into the effect of a landslide event on the strain response of these pipelines.

Axial strain measurement of the multiple pipelines in the Cheecham slope’s ROW allows: i) a direct comparison between lines ii) evaluation of the strain profile across the slope iii) assessment of the magnitude of the axial strain in terms of pipe characteristics e.g. pipe vintage and mechanical properties. More importantly, the axial strain data may provide an additional tool to assess the effectiveness of strain mitigation steps carried out over the years.

An increase in the frequency of axial strain ILI runs resulted in additional data being available and more importantly data from run to run inspections spread over months or sometime years. A single run captures the strain at the time of inspection but run to run inspections provide an additional comparative tool to evaluate and monitor pipeline movement. Two out of the five lines inspected have run to run axial strain data. This paper takes the Cheecham slope as a case study to discuss the benefits of run comparison of ILI axial strain data either by comparing strain values of repeated runs for a single line or by the cross comparison of strain responses of different lines in the same ROW. The paper aims to demonstrate how run to run analysis of ILI axial strain data can be implemented as part of geohazard risk management program to asses strain risk profiles of these locations and to assess the effectiveness of strain mitigation programs previously undertaken by operators.

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