In the transition to a digital environment for pipeline integrity management, the traditional methods for assessment of in-line inspections (ILI) and subsequent repair planning, are progressing from a manual process of utilizing paper-based information sources and relatively simple spreadsheet calculations, to an all-encompassing digital process.
There have been significant improvements to the management and alignment of pipeline and related inspection / survey data. The subsequent algorithms and procedures used to determine pipeline repairs need to evolve in conjunction to benefit from the extra information readily available. As part of the development of integrity management software, we made advancements in repair planning procedures and this paper describes the challenges encountered and the subsequent solutions adopted.
The traditional approach to repair and dig site planning has been based on the ILI vendor’s dig sheet, reviewed in conjunction with the pipeline listing, allowing an integrity engineer to identify necessary repairs following an integrity assessment and repair rules adopted by the pipeline operator. It can then be determined whether multiple repair locations can be combined into a single dig site, or if a more advanced repair method is required due to the presence of other pipeline features (e.g. an existing pipeline repair). An experienced engineer, provided with sufficient information about the state of the pipeline, should be able to provide an appropriate repair solution that requires only minor adjustment once excavations begin, saving a significant amount of cost and effort for the repairs, at the expense of high efforts on the engineer’s part.