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In-Line Inspection using Ultrasonic Technology

In-line inspection (ILI) tools are used since the 1960s and are crucial to maintain and secure safety, efficiency and environmental integrity for oil and gas pipelines. They utilize NDT (Non Destructive Testing) to collect data on flaws and defects during operation of pipeline. Especially ultrasonic (UT) inspection tools provide accurate and reliable quantitative data. Latest developments show big steps forward in specifications with regard to resolution of wall thickness, as well as axial and circumferential direction, subsequently leading to increased detection and sizing capabilities, especially for small scale corrosion, e.g. pitting or pinholes. Due to pipeline operator requirements efforts have been spent during the last few years to allow running UT tools under more challenging conditions with regard to high pressure, high temperature, and high velocities. Special configurations for dual and multi diameter pipelines, bi-directional operation and combined wall thickness and crack measurements are available.

Solutions to inspect wax-rich crude oil pipelines, which are nearly impossible to inspect with MFL tools, exist and provide reliable data for the entire pipeline due to an advanced sensor carrier design with a flushing system.

Ultrasonic tools allow to inspect CRA (Corrosion resistant alloy) - clad pipes without harming their surface, which is more and more applied offshore. Evidence shows that ultrasonic tools can even provide realistic data in flexible pipe systems.

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