PRCI Completes Key Research in Response to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Recommendations


Fri, March 02, 2018

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA, March 02, 2018 —

PRCI received notice from the NTSB that the research it conducted to address Safety Recommendation P-12-18, as a result of the investigation into the Marshall, Michigan, incident on July 25, 2010, will be used "to assure the safety of the network of pipelines in the United States."

The safety recommendation, which resulted in two critical research programs, asked PRCI to conduct a review of various in-line inspection (ILI) tools and technologies including; tool tolerance; probability of detection; and probability of identification, and to provide a model with detailed step-by-step procedures to pipeline operators for evaluating the effects of interacting corrosion and crack threats on the integrity of pipelines.

The first program consisted of establishing the technical means, and the collaborative forum, for coordinating the collection and assessment of industry crack management experience, enabling researchers to examine many facets of inspection tools and technologies, including their ability to detect and measure interacting corrosion and crack threats. The first report generated by this effort was a reliability analysis of ILI technology, "In-line Inspection Crack Tool Performance Evaluation." The study resulted in the collection and analysis of over 50,000 crack features that were identified through crack tool ILI technologies and then compared against in-ditch non-destructive examination (NDE) results.

The project and the resulting database, which represents the most advanced industry analysis of crack ILI tools, has established the means for future industry collaboration on other ILI technologies. PRCI is in the process of using these results to establish a pipeline data hub that will facilitate the development and enhancement of tools, processes, and people associated with pipeline integrity and safety.

The second project was the construction of a state-of-the-art pull test facility at PRCI's Technology Development Center (TDC). The site enables the pipeline industry to validate and enhance ILI tool capabilities. The TDC provides researchers with an in-service environment that allows for the comparison of ILI tool data to actual NDE results.

The TDC has three parallel pull lines of varying diameters with lengths up to 500 feet. The pull-test facility allows for a wide-range of pipe diameters and for ILI tools to reach speeds up to 11-miles per hour. In addition to the pull-test facility, the TDC also has two parallel flow loops. These assets will be key tools for assisting the pipeline industry in continuous improvement and attainment of the industry goal of zero incidents.

"It is rewarding to know these projects, which have had an immediate impact on pipeline safety, have satisfied the NTSB's Safety Recommendation in full. We look forward to working with the NTSB, our members and other industry stakeholders to ensure we have the safest pipeline network possible," stated PRCI President Cliff Johnson.