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Smart Robotic System Tracks Buried Pipelines, Inspects for External Damage

The complete paper describes the development of a smart robotic inspection system for noncontact condition monitoring and fault detection in buried pipelines. Steered by a pipe locator, the smart robot, called an autonomous ground vehicle (AGV), can autonomously track the buried pipeline and simultaneously inspect it externally with a metal magnetic memory (MMM) sensor. The smart robotic system is designed to overcome the shortcomings of both manual external inspection and noninvasive magnetometric diagnosis (NIMD), making pipeline inspection safer, more efficient, and less expensive.

Introduction

Condition monitoring and defect inspection of buried pipelines has been a constant challenge for all oil and gas operations. Maintaining safety and prolonging the service life of ferrous metal pipelines that are exposed to harsh operating environments and damage from corrosion, erosion, and cracking requires regular inspection to diagnose existing or potential defects.

Pipelines can be inspected in two ways: internally and externally. Internal, or inline, inspection primarily uses an intelligent pipeline inspection gauge equipped with sensors to measure the size, location, and orientation of defects inside the pipeline. In external inspection, which is the subject of the paper, workers drive a vehicle along the pipeline to visually inspect for detection of leakage or any other kind of visible damage. Such manual external inspection is highly inefficient, expensive, and hazardous. It is also difficult to obtain any important information about anomalies brewing in the buried pipes or cathodic protection layers using this method.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Judy Feder, contains highlights of paper SPE 192773, “A Smart Robotic System for Noncontact Condition Monitoring and Fault Detection in Buried Pipelines,” by Xiaoxiong Zhang and Amit Shukla, Khalifa University; Abdulla Al Ali, ADNOC; and Hamad Karki, Khalifa University, prepared for the 2018 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, 12–14 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Smart Robotic System Tracks Buried Pipelines, Inspects for External Damage

01 December 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 12

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