01/07/2022  •  4 mins read

Pipeline of the Future: Real time is everything.

Techbyte Series #04


Hidayah Mazlan | Illustrations by Ahmad Saiful Syazwan Ahmad Jamil

When it comes to prevention, time is the essence. Arrest a problem early, you might avert or save it. Catch it late? Then bear great consequences. In the world of pipeline maintenance and integrity, the element of time determines cost, productivity and even lives.

Who could forget the swirling fire that raged for hours in the Gulf of Mexico in May 2021? Caused by a gas leak from an underwater pipeline, the harrowing episode was one of the many stark reminders on the dangers of not paying close attention to operations safety.

The environment and climate are suffering direct impacts from our afterthoughts in doing business and living our lives. Operating safely and sustainably is no longer an option, but an obligation and the best way is to change right from the beginning. Cures can only do so much. Prevention at the right time is what makes the difference. This is PETRONAS’ thinking for our multipronged solutions with Pipeline of the Future.

Leveraging digitalisation via big data producing and accurate predictive analysis that could prevent pipeline damages in time, this approach and design for Pipelines of the Future ultimately leads to more efficient operations of maintaining and fixing both onshore and offshore pipelines. This suite of solutions goes on to contribute to long-term emission reduction efforts.

Pran3rdG: For those faraway and hard-to-reach terrains.

A two-pronged solution with both hardware and software, the Unmanned Surveillance System (UAS) has been widely used to monitor third party activity and geohazard hazards along the pipeline’s right of way.  Currently, the manual interpretation of massive dataset in videos and images is a lengthy process, using up a lot of resources and is prone to human error.

With 70 per cent accuracy from validated tests, Pran3rdG performs faster, safer and cheaper than ground and air patrol with reduced risks of missing important spots as it covers a broad coverage area.

PrAnCorr: Save your metal, save your time.

Tested under multiple types of product services and excelled in durability testing, PrAnCorr acts by predicting internal and external corrosion for onshore and offshore pipeline by using big data analytics. It is an analytic tool that automatically predicts a pipeline’s defect location and size using Machine Learning (ML).

With real-time monitoring and tapping into big data, PrAnCorr is able to provide analysis and facilitate seamless decision making via the PETRONAS Integrated Pipeline Integrity Assurance Solutions (i-PIMS). Its predictive ability eliminates downtime in operations that can save up to 20 per cent of operating expenditure through reduction of intelligent pigging cost, chemical injection and operational pigging optimisation.

PrAnSpan: Optimised survey vessel with prediction.

A new approach in managing offshore pipeline dynamic freespan that utilises machine learning and combines a number of data types such as asset specific, metocean and historical freespan.

PrAnSpan is a web-based predictive analytic algorithm and dashboard that predicts free span formation and behaviours along pipelines at selected years.

Its predictive analytic model is validated against accuracy model as well. It has the potential to optimise operational expenditure by 20 per cent for underwater inspection and RM500,000 per location for decision-making on immediate repair intervention. It also reduces GHG emission with prolonged usage of inspection vessel and equipment deployment.

ORCA: No pigging, no problem.

This new intelligent pipeline integrity management system technology consists of hardware (Acoustic Emission sensors, X-Proof Permanent Clamping Mechanism), and software (risk assessment tool), which enables real-time assessment of pipeline integrity status using real-time and historical pigging data. Ideal for unpiggable pipelines, ORCA continuously collects, processes and analyses data to detect, identify and locate corrosion activities for real-time and future pipeline integrity projection.

Reducing cost, ALARP risk and downtime all at once, this solution can save up to 20 per cent of operational expenditure in maintaining the integrity of an unpiggable pipeline system.

These breakthroughs are set to redefine the landscape of pipeline management with their offer of risk-minimised, cost effective and sustainable ways to better pipelines. Safer and more sustainable ways are already here. Now it is up to us to adopt them.

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