Detecting obstructions in high-pressure pipelines

An Acoustek® system has been developed for application to live natural gas pipelines. The developed system is ATEX certified and capable of surveying pipelines operating at pressures of up to 5000 psi. It has been successfully used to detect obstructions in high pressure pipelines in the USA, South East Asia and the North Sea.

Acoustek® transmits acoustic signals down the pipeline and then analyses the reflections that are produced to determine the precise location of full or partial blockages. The technique requires access to a single point in the pipeline, ideally the pig trap. Surveys of pipelines up to 20km long take approximately two hours to complete. The sensitivity of the technique has been demonstrated by its ability to detect and locate a partial blockage over a distance exceeding 10 km, with the blockage taking up approximately 15% of the pipeline’s cross-sectional area.