BJ Services Bags Inspection Contract for Italy's National Gas Pipeline

BJ Services Company announced that its pipeline inspection services group has been awarded a contract to provide in-line inspection services to Snam Rete Gas on the National Gas Pipeline Network, which transports gas throughout Italy.

Snam Rete Gas, an ENI Group company that owns and operates Italy's national gas pipeline system which extends over 31,000 kilometers, awarded the contract to BJ Services earlier this year. Inspection services on the natural gas pipeline commenced in February. The two-year contract, which features a two year option to renew, is scheduled for completion in 2010.

Inspections Carried Out While Gas Flows

In order to provide effective in-line inspections, BJ Services' pipeline inspection group operates a fleet of state-of-the-art inspection equipment, including the GEOPIG mechanical caliper and VECTRA magnetic flux leakage (MFL) tools. The gas bypass feature on the VECTRA tool makes it possible to perform inspections without disrupting gas flow, which is highly beneficial to the client.

The advanced MFL technology allows for accurate sizing and location of metal loss features along the walls of the pipeline. Typically, MFL inspections are carried out for the primary purpose of assessing pipeline corrosion; however, BJ understands that a pipeline operator needs to manage not only corrosion but all integrity threats.

As a result, BJ's efforts to optimize tool technology and data analysis can provide a more comprehensive inspection report including corrosion, dents, ovalities and mechanical damage, which is extremely valuable to its clients. Two years ago, the company made it possible to analyse mechanical damage with the GEMINIView software analysis system for the VECTRA tool. This enhanced capability allows for accurate detection and sizing of dents, as well as identification of gouges, wrinkles, dents with gouges, dents with corrosion, and dents with cracks.

GEOPIG Pinpoints Pipeline Defects

The Company's state-of-the-art GEOPIG geo-positioning inspection tool is used to map the pipeline network in three dimensions, and provide continuous geographical coordinates along the centre line of the pipeline.

The results of this process can be collated into an intelligent data management software system, which consists of a geographical information system (GIS) linked to a relational database that allows interactive management of the pipeline data. This software system includes pipeline mapping information, which can be linked to a relational database that contains pipeline technical details, results from the inspection, and rehabilitation work.

This same inertial data can also be used to calculate bending strain that can occur in the pipeline. Comparing this data in run-to-run analysis allows the operator to see whether there have been changes in the pipeline that may cause a threat. BJ, most recently has also developed algorithms to calculate strain in dents with the very detailed dent profile produced from the GEOPIG.

BJ Services' Pipeline Inspection Group Expands Services in Italy

Previously, the BJ Services pipeline inspection group worked on behalf of Snam Rete Gas using the GEOPIG caliper tool to inspect several lines of various sizes throughout Italy. This is the first time that BJ will be providing VECTRA MFL tool services to SNAM.

"The Snam Rete Gas pipeline inspection contract represents a major milestone for BJ Services' pipeline inspection group, as it is the first major contract that we have been awarded in Europe," said Andrew Staszewski, business development manager for BJ Services, Pipeline Inspection Services. "Looking ahead, we are confident that the operation will be the beginning of a foundation upon which we can build, and open doors for us throughout the European market."

Throughout the operation, BJ Services is supporting the contract with personnel and equipment based at the Company's facilities in Pescara, Italy.

Move into Europe Continues

In addition to the Snam Rete Gas contract award in Italy, BJ Services opened its first pipeline inspection operations base in Europe last year when it acquired Profile International in Blyth, England. By doing so, BJ Services opened its first pipeline inspection operations base in Europe, and enhanced its service range with the ability to carry out caliper runs to verify pipeline geometry before running the MFL tool. Since opening its doors in Blyth for pipeline inspection work in the spring of 2007, BJ has considerably strengthened the division's presence in the UK and Europe with greater customer support and dedicated inspection equipment.