Canada has approximately 100,000 kilometers (62,000 miles) of transmission pipeline ranging from 4 to 48 inches in diameter. With the large distance of pipeline and the expectation that Global energy demand will increase by 33% by 2035, safe pipeline operations will continue to be at the forefront for operators.
To reduce costs associated with inline inspection (ILI) programs, pipeline owners sometimes consider batch tracking estimations as an effective way to track tools. When batch tracking, field technicians send various liquid products in batches down the pipeline and measure pump and flow rates to estimate how far a pig moves through the pipeline.
Although batch tracking reduces overall costs, it does not provide pipeline owners with confidence about the location of a pig. Depending on the tolerance of the metering system and the bypass rates on an individual pig, locating the pig can be quite challenging, which increases the chances a tool will be lost. If retrieval of a lost pig is required, an unplanned shutdown might be necessary and ultimately negates any cost savings from using batch tracking as an alternative to pig tracking.
In recent years, the development of remote pig tracking has helped reduce the costs of traditional tracking while increasing the reliability of information coming back. PureHM’s Armadillo above-ground marker (AGM) allows a technician to record a pig passage with seven sensors – three 22 Hz channels, three magnetic channels, and one geophone channel, all from a central monitoring location. The AGM generates a snapshot of each pig passage, providing dynamic information about the tool run and owners with a defensible record that a pig has passed each AGM location.
Read more about the Armadillo AGM.