Insights from the 2024 Pipeline Pigging and Integrity Management Conference

In February, NDT Global had the privilege of participating in the Pipeline Pigging and Integrity Management (PPIM) Conference, one of the largest events that our US region attends annually in Houston, Texas. Subject matter experts (SMEs) from all over the world display innovative products and services at this conference. They also provide presentations on novel approaches to industry problems and technological developments that increase pipeline integrity. As the conference ended, our technology experts gained valuable insight into emerging industry trends. To learn more about our key takeaways from this year's PPIM conference, we spoke with Ryan Sikes, Product Manager from our US region. 

Ryan has attended the conference for the previous twelve years, and throughout that time he has regularly noted changes in the dynamics of the sector, most notably the recent resurgence following the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year's conference offered a glimpse into the new developments and innovations reshaping the pipeline integrity scene. 

During the conference, Ryan noted important developments that could have an impact on precision-based multi-dataset technology. The following developments could affect ILI and integrity management in the future. 

  • Increased interest in offshore ILI: The industry’s understanding of the unique challenges that subsea pipelines face has elevated the necessity of offshore ILI solutions. Precision ultrasonic-based technologies (UT) play an essential role in the ability to accurately assess and monitor pipeline integrity in deepwater environments, where corrosive conditions present increased risks. As operators expand their offshore activities, there is a growing need for sophisticated UT-based ILI tools that can provide robust data and insights. 

  • Focus on complex operational inspections: As pipelines operate in increasingly varied and challenging environments, there is a growing demand for ILI technologies that can perform complex operational inspections efficiently. These technologies need to navigate complex pipeline geometry, identify small defects, and provide actionable insights to reduce risks to pipeline integrity. As the industry shifts its focus from reactive maintenance to proactive risk mitigation, precision UT-based inspection services will play an increasingly important role in ensuring the integrity and reliability of pipeline infrastructure. 

  • Emphasis on material identification and records verification: The increased demand for suitable ILI technology underscores the importance of accurate material identification and records verification in maintaining full asset records and meeting regulatory compliance requirements. Advanced material characterization and verification capabilities are crucial for operators to evaluate the state of pipeline materials, identify irregularities, and ensure adherence to industry standards. Precision inspection services, offering advanced material characterization and verification capabilities, will become increasingly essential for maintaining operational excellence and regulatory compliance as operators focus on enhancing data integrity and traceability throughout their assets. 

Ryan found the conference discussions to be highly engaging as they covered topics related to regulatory changes, technological advancements, and best practices specific to the North American region's pipeline infrastructure. The conference also provided a platform for addressing critical challenges faced by North American operators, such as aging pipelines, environmental concerns, and regulatory compliance. These discussions were particularly relevant and informative for the attendees. 

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