GE Oil & Gas Unveils MagneScan Pipeline Inspection Technology

GE Oil & Gas' PII Pipeline Solutions is introducing the new MagneScan, the next-generation of magnetic flux leakage (MFL) pipeline inspection technology that features the industry's most powerful sensor combination and is complemented by best-in-class, post -run engineering services for pipeline operators.

Originally developed by PII Pipeline Solutions and now a commonly used non-destructive method for inspecting gas pipelines, high resolution MFL tools utilize magnetic fields to detect corrosion and other faults in pipelines.

GE's new MagneScan boasts improved magnetizer design and advanced sensor technology. Using the 6" tool as an example, the new sensor design includes 216 low-noise Hall effect sensors. Readings are taken on the axial, radial and transverse vectors every 2 mm. This new three-dimensional sensor configuration offers 100% coverage of a line and optimizes the accuracy of defect sizing for width, length and depth.

"Our new MagneScan provides more advanced assessment of metal loss and mechanical damage, giving pipeline operators the highest confidence in their decision-making, and fewer false digs," said John Bucci, General Manager of GE Oil & Gas' PII Pipeline Solutions division.

With its comprehensive sensor array, the new MagneScan combines several types of inspections in a single run. The tool is equipped with a fully integrated high-resolution caliper, EMAT sensors to measure wall thickness for more accurate defect sizing, and also offers GIS mapping technologies as a standard option for improved data alignment. The corrosion detection is now 5% of wall thickness at 90% POD, while the depth-sizing accuracy is ±10% at 90% certainty. Offering multiple inspections in a single run greatly reduces any interruptions in pipeline service for the operator and overall inspection project costs.

GE's new tool is not just far more powerful than previous generations, but also smaller (the 6-inch diameter tool is only 1.3 meters long), lighter and easier to manage. The unit is designed to navigate and inspect tight bends and restrictions, including back-to-back bends with a 1.5 D radius, further increasing the line coverage. The tool is easier to launch and receive without the need for expensive pipeline modifications and requires fewer technicians for the deployment.

GE is pairing its MagneScan technology with greatly enhanced data analysis capabilities. By combining metal loss, caliper and mapping in a single inspection run, the new tool automatically increases data alignment speed and accuracy, dramatically improving defect location, direct assessment and remediation planning activities.

While the data is captured to allow for the highest resolution inspection reporting and integrity analysis, only the data that is needed will be processed and analyzed. However, should an operator's pipeline information needs change, the data can be reanalyzed without the need for an additional inspection run.

The system also allows greater integration of GE's suite of data management software, offering the customer a broader menu of tailored integrity management solutions.

The new MagneScan for 6", 8", & 10" lines will be running in selected customer lines from December 2008 and through the first half of 2009. This technology will become generally available in core markets from the summer of 2009. Availability in larger diameters will follow.

The new MagneScan for 6" pipelines is on display at the GE Booth 608 during IPCE.