New Partnership Targets Development of Pipeline Inspection Technologies

Officials with Enbridge and NDT Global recently signed a multi-year collaboration agreement to develop a new generation of inspection tools. Photo courtesy of NDT Global.

Energy infrastructure company Enbridge (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and ultrasonic pipeline inspection and pipeline integrity management supplier NDT Global (Houston, Texas) are partnering on a multi-year research and development project to advance innovation in pipeline inspection technologies.

Announced earlier this month, the agreement focuses on the development of a new generation of inspection tools targeted to further improve pipe crack assessments.

The two companies say they have already been working together for 15 years on pipeline inspections, placing them at the forefront of the industry in advancing crack assessments with high-resolution ultrasonic inspections. They believe the joint investment will bring further innovation and new technologies to existing integrity management programs.

“At Enbridge, we are continually looking for opportunities to enhance existing technologies, and progress new ones, in the areas of design, construction, operation and maintenance, to keep our pipelines safe,” says Walter Kresic, vice president of the company’s pipeline integrity business. “We believe this next-generation project will build on the industry leading tools and technology we already use, and further enhance our ability to inspect, monitor, and prioritize cracking threats in pipelines.”

Kresic says his company works with organizations around the globe that provide technologies to keep pipelines safe. In addition, the company says it assists many of those organizations in the development of relevant technologies, including in-line inspection (ILI) tools. ILI tools, also known as “intelligent pigs,” use sophisticated sensor technologies and powerful computation to inspect pipes millimeter by millimeter, with a level of detail similar to that provided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound technology in the medical industry.

“NDT Global's long-term goal is to eliminate pipeline failure due to pipe integrity defects,” says CEO Mario Lemme. “Achieving this requires collaboration in long-term research and development projects. We are delighted to collaborate closely with Enbridge on this initiative, which offers a real opportunity to make a breakthrough in crack assessment capability.”

The scope of the new project is aimed at improving existing ILI performance, with test runs to be completed using Enbridge’s pipeline network in Canada and the United States.

“Investing in research and innovation is an important component of our approach to pipeline safety, benefiting Enbridge and the industry as a whole,” Kresic says.

Source: NDT Global,