A smarter way to provide NDT services during pipeline incidents and save cost

A pipeline operator experienced an in service failure of a 30” natural gas pipeline. In response to the incident, the client initiated an extensive investigative dig program throughout the system. Mears Group, Inc. was retained to perform the investigative dig analysis throughout this project. The anomaly locations were provided by the client, along with data gathering and reporting requirements. Several hundred digs were performed in the 6 months from May to November across several hundred miles.

To provide the level of support required, Mears utilized ten two-person laser scanning crews. Each crew consisted of level 2 DE technicians, working alongside engineers. Each crew utilized Creaform Handyscan 700 laser scanners to evaluate the anomalies at each site. These enabled client parameters such as the feature interaction and percentage thresholds of corrosion to be applied automatically over the scanned surface. It was found that the use of the laser scanner greatly increased the efficiency, quality, and repeatability of data collection in the field.

Each excavation included documentation on existing coating type and condition, soil resistivity, pipe to soil potentials, deposit/soil sampling, MIC testing, pH testing, complete evaluation of each anomaly, and mag particle inspection. All anomaly data was required to be input into the client’s anomaly workbook, while also providing comparisons to ILI features.

Due to the nature of the project, field evaluation reports were required to be delivered to the client as soon as possible. Mears developed a custom reporting program, which was utilized to enhance the field laser scan reports by integrating data requested by the client, while also increasing the productivity of reporting. This provided visual comparisons between ILI features and laser scan features; enabling quick turnaround of repair decisions and validation of existing anomaly data. Mears targeted having each anomaly report delivered to the client within one day of completion in the field.

The use of state of the art laser scanning equipment, coupled with Mears DE technician and engineers technical knowledge played a vital role in the completion of this project. This was recognized by the client who was impressed by Mears ability to adapt and provide innovative solutions throughout the project.


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