Pipeline Investments are Only as Good as The Technologies That Protect Them

by | Mar 15, 2019 | Flow, Measurement Instrumentation | 0 comments

Pipeline Growth in the Middle East

In February this year, investment giants BlackRock and KKR announced that they are to become partners in the newly formed ADNOC Oil Pipelines. The deal represents a landmark partnership in midstream pipeline infrastructure development for ADNOC which produces about three million barrels of crude a day and will continue to manage the operations of the pipelines.

As well as becoming the first institutional investors to join forces with a national Middle East oil producer, the partnership also illustrates how the pipeline infrastructure in the Middle East is likely to continue growing over the next few years with the deal in the words of ADNOC “laying the groundwork for additional infrastructure-related investment opportunities.”

Market figures back up this focus on pipelines too. Global Data’s Oil and Gas Pipelines Industry Outlook forecasts that around 24,066 kilometers/15,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines are to be added in the Middle East by 2022. And with significantly higher investments planned for downstream operations, oil refineries, and petrochemical plants by companies, such as ADNOC, the need for more pipelines to deliver oil & gas is inevitable.

Pipeline Corrosion in The Spotlight

Yet, this continued growth in pipeline infrastructure also turns the spotlight back on the issue of pipeline corrosion and the key question as to whether the industry has the necessary tools to monitor pipeline corrosion in what are often are extremely remote areas.

We all know the negative impact of corrosion on pipeline infrastructure. It can be devastating, leading to leaks and environmental and safety repercussions, financial risk and reduced transportation capabilities.

Generalized vs Localized Corrosion

Corrosion can also be difficult to detect, especially when trying to distinguish between localized corrosion in small areas or zones on the metal surface, and generalized corrosion that is uniformly distributed over a much larger area. The vast and highly remote areas in the Middle East, where many pipelines are located and are to be located, also bring limited communications and power as well as transportation and logistics difficulties.

Current Monitoring Limitations

Yet, traditional corrosion inspection methods, such as In-line Inspection (ILI) tools or direct assessment, often fall short when addressing these challenges. ILI tools, such as pipeline inspection gauges (PIGS), for example, often require specially configured pipelines and specifications related to pressure, temperature, flow range, tool length and more. Direct assessments are also normally only suitable for short pipeline sub-segment coverage with a limited number of data points.

The FSM Log 48 and The Field Signature Method

With perfect timing, Emerson has recently launched the Roxar FSM Log 48 corrosion monitoring tool. The Roxar FSM Log 48 is based on the Field Signature Method (FSM) which sees an electric current being fed through a monitored section of a pipe, pipeline or vessel and corrosion measured between a set of sensing pins.

Reduced Total Cost of Ownership and Remote Area Capabilities

The Roxar FSM Log 48 – with 48 referring to the number of pins in the sensing pin matrix – has a total cost of ownership of less than just one typical smart PIG run of up to 10 kilometers (although this can vary according to the PIG technology). It also comes with WLAN and cellular data transfer protocols as well built-in solar power options that enable the solution to operate seamlessly and continuously in remote areas. Most importantly, it is also adept at distinguishing between localized and generalized corrosion.

Customer and Media Interest

Although only launched last September, the FSM Log 48 has already seen considerable interest both among customers in the Middle East and worldwide, and in the general industry media with recent articles in Pipeline Middle East, and Oil & Gas Middle East.

Pipeline investments are only as good as the technologies you put in place to protect them. Fortunately the Middle East is now in good hands, bringing peace of mind to operators and investors. For further information on the FSM Log 48, visit https://www.emerson.com/en-us/catalog/roxar-fsm-48-corrosion-monitor


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