As federally mandated pipeline integrity requirements have become increasingly stringent, pipeline operator personnel are under greater pressure to keep pace. In an effort to assist its members in acquiring a broader scope of inline inspection training, Southern Gas Association (SGA), based in Dallas, is now offering its respected four-day “Pipeline Inspection Using Intelligent Pigs Workshop” as two distinct three-day programs: “Practical Inline Inspection” and “Advanced Inline Inspection.” One-half of this fresh format was recently implemented in conjunction with T.D. Williamson (TDW) with the first-ever “Practical Inline Inspection Workshop.”
The three-day workshop was conducted May 7-9 at TDW’s manufacturing plant in Tulsa, Okla. The TDW Technology Center housed the classroom portion of the training, while its 1,100-ft, 12-in. test loop was the site for much of the hands-on portion. SGA’s curriculum included topics such as: “Introduction to Intelligent Pigging,” “Pigging Field Operations Success Factors,” “Data Handling and Reporting,” “Data Analysis Demonstration” and “Pipeline Defect Analysis.”
Due to the extensive pipeline histories of both SGA and TDW, combining expertise and efforts on the new “Practical Inline Inspection Workshop” made sense. The purpose was to provide operations and maintenance engineers and pipeline field technicians with the knowledge to establish and manage an intelligent pigging program that contributes optimum value toward improved pipeline integrity.
“Hosting the meeting at the TDW facility really added value to the training experience,” said Mike Grubb, president and CEO of SGA. “Seeing equipment and tools up close helped the participants better understand how inline inspection works. TDW worked really hard to make sure the students got to experience, in a lab environment, something similar to what they will experience in the field.”
Offering to host SGA’s inaugural workshop was a positive for both TDW and the association, according to Chuck Harris, manager of strategic commercialization for TDW.
“We engineer the customer solutions that the attendees will actually utilize in the field,” Harris said. “What better place for them to get hands-on experience and training, than from the manufacturer of the equipment and technology they will use?”
SGA Works for the Industry
Fraser Farmer, director of operations support for SGA, kicked off the workshop by bringing attention to the many talented contributors who were in attendance and would be presenting, including two of the original course founders (Dr. Tom Bubenik of DNV Columbus and Dr. Bruce Nestleroth of Battelle). Farmer promised that the students would receive an empowering three days of knowledge sharing and unparalleled hands-on experience.
One of the first lectures of the multiday training event was presented by Nestleroth, who introduced the class to a variety of inline inspection technologies including magnetic flux leakage (MFL), ultrasonics and electro-magnetic acoustic transducer technology.
Discussing tool launcher and receiver design, Lee Shouse and John Morrow of TDW prepared attendees for physically locating and tracking a pig at TDW’s test loop. At the loop, Shouse shut down the pumps to stall a tool in the line. Morrow then demonstrated the location/tracking process with TDW’s TracMaster Magnetic Pig Tracking and Locating System. TracMaster provides a visual display, as well as an audible signal of pig movement within a pipeline.
Another technology driven lecture, “NDE Techniques for Field Validation of Inline Inspection Results,” was presented by TDW’s non-destructive evaluation (NDE) coordinator, Jeremy Clark, who led the groups through various types of cutting edge NDE. Clark’s presentation included rapid corrosion assessment, quick repair determination and thorough anomaly reporting.
Arguably the most popular activity, the “Defect Scavenger Hunt” was led by Nestleroth, who created this session during the early implementation of the course. Attendees take what they have learned from the workshop, including technologies, defect detection capabilities and detection signatures, and they attempt to match actual defects with recorded signatures from “raw” inspection data. In this session, an 8-in. by 20-ft pipe section was provided with known defects. TDW’s Multiple DataSet technology had been pulled through the pipe prior to the exercise. Raw data samples for a defect set were then provided from both axial MFL and SpirALL MFL technologies. SGA attendees set out to match the raw data signatures to actual defect geometries, which included typical volumetric, as well as notch or crack-like shapes.
Grubb wrapped up the inaugural workshop by stating, “SGA is a member-driven organization. It is the support of our members like TDW that helps keep us relevant. We very much appreciate our long standing relationship and are thankful for the opportunity to serve our members.”
In addition to the “Practical Inline Inspection Workshop,” SGA offers its 160-plus members a multitude of continuing education, training and industry specific events focusing on natural gas distribution, transmission (pipeline) and gas supply marketing. To learn more and get involved, visit www.southerngas.org.