U.S. Department of Transportation



Date of this Version



Published by the Strategic Center for Natural Gas & Oil (2004) 62 p.


Assessing the integrity of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines costs industry millions each year. With passage of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act (PSIA) in 2002, industry will be required to invest significantly more capital to inspect and maintain their systems. The PSIA requires enhanced maintenance programs and continuing integrity inspection of all pipelines located within “high consequence areas” where a pipeline failure could threaten public safety, property and the environment. According to the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) the cost to industry to implement the PSIA in the first ten years will exceed $2 billion.

The Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil (SCNGO) is the Department of Energy’s lead organization for research and technology development focused on assuring that sufficient quantities of affordable natural gas (and oil) are available to meet U.S. customer demands. Within the SCNGO, the Natural Gas Delivery Reliability Program has the responsibility to develop improved systems designed to improve the safety and reliability of the nation’s transmission and distribution system.

For several years the Gas Delivery Reliability Program has funded the development of advanced in-line inspection (ILI) technologies to detect mechanical damage, corrosion and other threats to pipeline integrity. Many of these efforts have matured to a stage where demonstration of their detection capability is now warranted. During the week of September 13, 2004, the Gas Delivery Reliability Program and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) co-sponsored a demonstration of eight innovative technologies; five technologies developed through SCNGO funding support and three technologies supported by OPS.

The demonstrations were conducted at Battelle’s West Jefferson Pipeline Simulation Facility (PSF) near Columbus, Ohio. The pipes used in the demonstration were prepared by Battelle at the PSF and each was pre-calibrated to establish baseline defect measurements. Each technology performed a series of pipeline inspection runs to determine their capability to detect mechanical damage, corrosion, or stress corrosion cracking. Overall, each technology performed well in their assessment category. Further R&D will help to refine the precision and accuracy of these techniques with the goal of further testing in the coming fiscal year (FY2005).

This document provides a summary of the demonstration results. A brief assessment of the results is presented in order to give the reader a feel for how each technology performed relative to the benchmark data. It is not the intention of this document to provide a detailed analysis of each technology’s performance or to rate one technology over the others.