Hydrostatic testing has historically been the accepted approach to detecting critical pipeline flaws. While hydrostatic testing is an alternate approach to ensure the reliability of a line, it is not ideal due to the possibility of damage to the asset as well as the interruption in the product flow.
As ILI is the most efficient pipelinemanagement tool, an published a request for proposal (RFP) to develop and provide a solution that delivered a step-change in performance for challenging seam- geometries. End-user expectations were defined, allowing vendors to propose a solution they believed would be most likely to deliver on those expectations.
The RFP included a series of aspirational goals forcharacterization in a range of seam welds, types and morphologies, operational characteristics, and management of human factors. While accuracy and consistency for characterization of the types and severity of cracking in a pipeline was the primary goal, the also expected a new technology to fit within or improve upon the operational envelope of the currently available ILI tools.