Oil/Gas Pipeline Leak Inspection and Repair in Underwater Poor Visibility Conditions: Challenges and Perspectives

DOI: 10.4236/jep.2012.35049   PDF   HTML   XML   7,779 Downloads   13,723 Views   Citations


Mechanical pressure clamps are examples of innovative tools commonly used in the oil and gas industry for arresting leaks from damaged oil and gas pipelines. However, if leaks result from pipeline rupture, clamps are not usually recommended. It is therefore obvious that inspection of the leaking pipeline is very crucial in deciding the strategy for repair. For subsea pipelines where underwater poor visibility is pronounced, this important aspect of the pipeline repair process becomes difficult to implement. The result is a repair-leak-repair cycle. This challenge is commonly found in repairs of old pipelines in unclear water conditions. Old pipelines and their vulnerability to fractures that often lead to ruptures are discussed. In this paper, the challenges and technologies available for visualisation and examination in such unclear water conditions are discussed. There appears to be a gap in the existing pipeline integrity management system with respect to inspection and repair of pipelines in unclear water conditions. This gap needs to be filled in order to minimise spills and pollution. For pipelines installed in unclear water condition, a perspective is suggested to extend the capability of existing remotely operated vehicles to employ the use of clear laminar water system or a related technique to provide integrity engineers and operators with close visual assess to inspect leaking pipelines and effect adequate repairs. This paper suggests that the use of optical eye as the main tool for examination remains valuable in managing the challenges in underwater pipeline repairs in unclear water condition.

Share and Cite:

A. Jasper, "Oil/Gas Pipeline Leak Inspection and Repair in Underwater Poor Visibility Conditions: Challenges and Perspectives," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 3 No. 5, 2012, pp. 394-399. doi: 10.4236/jep.2012.35049.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. Agbakwuru and O. T. Gudmestad, “Integrity of Pipeline: Some Challenges and Perspectives,” 2nd Annual Global Pipeline Integrity Interactive Technology Workshop, Istanbul, 28-November-1 December 2011, Praxis Global Research.
[2] E. Ugwuani, “Shell Records 2580 Barrel Oil Spill,” The Nations, 2011. http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/business/energy/8578-shell-records-2-580-barrels-oil-spill.html
[3] P. Hopkins, “The Structural Integrity of Oil and Gas Transmission Pipelines,” Comprehensive Structural Integrity, Elsevier Publishers Penspen Ltd., Berlin, 2002.
[4] H. H. Sayyed, “Apportion of Charpy Energy in API 5L Grade X70 Pipeline Steel,” International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping, Vol. 85, No. 12, 2008, pp. 879-884. doi:10.1016/j.ijpvp.2008.04.011
[5] P. Hopkins, “Defect Assessment in Pipelines,” Amsterdam Hilton Hotel, 28-29 October 2002, Penspen Group Limited.
[6] Onuoha, “Oil Pipeline Sabotage in Nigeria: Dimensions, Actors and Implications for National Security,” African Security Review, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2008, pp. 99-115. doi:10.1080/10246029.2008.9627487
[7] J. O. Arumala and E. G. Akpokodje, “Soil Properties and Pavement Performance in the Niger Delta,” Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, Vol. 20, No. 4, 1987, pp. 287-296. doi:10.1144/GSL.QJEG.1987.020.04.05
[8] D. N. Veritas, “Recommended Practice, DNV-RP-F113 Pipeline Subsea Repair,” Det Norske Veritas, H?vik, 2007, pp. 5-6.
[9] Amnesty International Report, “Nigeria: Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty in the Niger Delta,” Amnesty International, 9 June 2009, Index: AFR 44/017/2009.
[10] J. Bevan, “The Professional Diver’s Handbook,” 2nd Edition, Submex Limited Hampshire, Hampshire, 2009.
[11] T. K. Fannel?p, “Flow Processes and Leak Rates Associated with Broken Underwater Pipelines,” Norwegian Maritime Research, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1977, pp. 6-13.
[12] T. Chris, “Subsea Leak Detection,” Neptune Oceanographics Ltd., Carlbury, 2007.
[13] Newton Labs, “Nuclear Laser Scanner,” Seattle, 2011. http://www.photonics.com/Article.aspx?AID=45956
[14] V. Moshkovich, A. Passi, G. Passi and R. Safin, “Recent Advances in the Ultrasonic Inspection Recording and Reporting—Instrumentation Part 2,” NDT Net, Vol. 8, No. 11, 2003. http://www.ndt.net/article/v08n11/passi2/passi2.htm
[15] V. Moshkovich, A. Passi and G. Passi, “Recent Advances in the Ultrasonic Inspection Recording and Reporting— Instrumentation Part 1,” NDT Net, Vol. 9. No. 9, 2003. http://www.ndt.net/article/v08n09/passi/passi.htm
[16] Sonatest NDTS. http://www.ndtsolutions.com/products/multi/rapidscan3d/brochure/pdf/brochure.pdf
[17] H. Assalih, Y. Petillot and J. Bell, “Acoustic Stereo Imaging (ASI) System,” Oceans, 2010, pp. 1-7.
[18] EdgeTech, Affiliate of ORE Offshore. http://www.edgetech.com/
[19] Capturing Concept in 3D, 2011. http://www.3ddigitalcorp.com/3d-laser-scanner.shtml
[20] D. K. MacKinnon, “Assessing the Performance of 3DImaging Systems,” SPIE, The International Society for Optics and Photonics, 9 March 2011. http://spie.org/x44547.xml?ArticleID=x44547
[21] J. Agbakwuru, O. T. Gudmestad, J. C. Gr?nli and H. Skjaveland, “Development of Method/Apparatus for CloseVisual Inspection of Under-Water Structures (Especially Pipelines) in Muddy and Unclear Water Condition,” Proceedings of the 30th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, Rotterdam, 19 June 2011, pp. 209-217.
[22] M. Reed, O. Johansen, B. HOverstad, B. Hetland, S. Buffington and M. H. Emilsen, “Numerical Model for Estimation of Pipeline Oil Spill Volumes, International Oil Spill Response: Oil Fate & Transport Response,” Environmental Modelling & Software, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2006, pp. 178-189.
[23] H. Rye and P. J. Brandvik, “Verification of Subsurface Oil Spill Models,” Proceedings of the 1997 International Oil Spill Conference, Fort Lauderdale, 7-10 April 1997, pp. 551-557.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.