Differential Diagnostics Episode 6

A single assessment revealed urgent threats on a legacy transmission pipeline with hundreds of dents, avoiding failure and saving possibly millions of dollars.


By utilizing multiple datasets, or MDS, to assess their lines for mechanical damage, operators do far more than identify anomalies. Because MDS incorporates multiple inline inspection technologies on one platform, it's able to provide thorough detection, characterization, sizing and prioritization of pipeline threats after just one run. Those findings can then be verified by Non-Destructive Evaluation or NDE. Let's return to the operator we met during Episode 1. Mechanical damage left the operator with hundreds of dents on a 40-year-old transmission line. Their existence is known, but that doesn't help determine where to begin addressing them.

After a single MDS inspection, the operator has an accurate assessment of the mechanical damage the pipeline has suffered. The operator’s prioritization report revealed nine priority 1 or high severity anomalies. NDE testing then verified three of those high severity locations were found with metal loss, and five with gouging. It also turned out that three of the five gouges contained cracks. None had been appropriately identified by prior individual technologies, nor through comparison of those individual technology inspection results. Imagine what would happen if the operator had no way of determining which of the hundreds of defects in the pipeline were urgent threats.

Without the ability to prioritize, the operator would have wasted precious resources and time on subcritical anomalies. If left unidentified, the highest priority mechanical damage locations could have worsened and resulted in pipeline failure. Failure that could have cost fifty thousand dollars to millions of dollars to resolve, not to mention environmental damage, negative publicity, increased regulatory pressures, and remaining uncertainty of whether the most critical mechanical damage has been mitigated. Instead, thanks to MDS technology, operators like this one have the accurate, comprehensive information they need to implement effective integrity decisions. Differential Diagnostics, the power to know more.