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January 3, 2013

PRCI Announces its 2013 Portfolio for Energy Pipeline Research

Pipeline Research Council International, Inc. (PRCI), announces its 2013 Research Portfolio as approved by the Board of Directors at its September 2012 meeting in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Member contributions of over $10.3 million were allocated to programs and projects addressing pipeline operations and integrity, corrosion control, design, materials, construction, and facilities.

“Through the collaborative research model that PRCI employs we have developed a research agenda for 2013 that will continue to deliver on the organization’s core mission of technology development in support of safer and more environmentally friendly energy pipeline infrastructure around the world. Knowledge base, technologically superior tools, and sound process are keys to success for any company engaged in the transportation of energy via pipelines. PRCI is focused on advancing the underlying technology that impacts all three of these components and the 2013 program is consistent with that goal and the recently developed global pipeline R&D roadmap,” stated Eric Amundsen, Chair of PRCI.

PRCI’s 2013 Portfolio will address a spectrum of technology needs and opportunities that will advance the energy pipeline industry through research and development. The following highlights a number of specific programs and projects that PRCI will undertake in 2013:


  • Corrosion – Improve the performance of the external corrosion direct assessment (ECDA) methodology; develop an optimized set of response criteria for use with ILI results; develop excavation and inspection documentation procedures for evaluating pipeline coating faults; develop an alternate method for measuring potentials to satisfy cathodic protection criteria; evaluate current practices and equipment for assessing integrity of the coating system as the pipe comes out of a horizontal or micro tunneled thrust bored pipeline road crossings; and develop industry guidelines for sample collection methods and procedures to characterize internal corrosion constituents/conditions.
  • Design, Materials & Construction – Update PRCI’s seismic design guidelines and developing guidelines for minimizing and managing pipeline stresses from lifting and lowering-in during construction; further work on the Strain-Based Design and Assessment Program; numerous welding projects including weld hydrogen cracking risk management guidance and continued work on Corrosion Resistant Alloy weld overlay pipes for subsea application; solutions for pipeline repair – in-service/maintenance welding, composites, liners, etc.
  • Operations & Integrity – A number of substantial programs including research focused on mechanical damage, with emphasis on the critical link between inspection and assessment, and corroborating experimental full-scale testing data and related models to inspection data on real-world mechanical damage samples from former in-service operating pipelines; technology improvements for leak detection; improving methods to prevent pipeline damage via persistent, near real-time surveillance and monitoring to identify and stop any unauthorized activity in the immediate vicinity of pipelines before damage occurs; and continued work to evaluate and develop new sensors and platforms for in-line inspection (ILI) technologies and other non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technologies and methods, using the PRCI NDE repository as the base of operations.
  • Compressor & Pump Station – Investigate the feasibility of using sensors, rather than gas analysis, to detect changes in fuel composition that could change air/fuel ratio and NOx emissions; evaluate oxidation catalyst performance under field operating conditions; evaluate low cost NOx retrofit technologies on problematic pipeline engines to improve their efficiency, improve reliability, or increase the operational flexibility while maintaining their current emissions levels; demonstrate a prototype laser emissions sensor for pipeline engines; develop strategies to reduce the pressure spikes in liquid booster pumps to acceptable levels; improve greenhouse gas emission estimation with the objective of reducing the cost of compliance for greenhouse gas reporting.
  • Measurement – Evaluate sampling techniques for shale gas supplies; develop meter station design procedures that minimize flow-induced pulsations that can adversely impact measurement performance; evaluate ultrasonic gas meter performance during transient conditions when pipeline liquids are present; evaluate performance of new generation ultrasonic gas meters in compact installations as an alternative to turbine meters; assist in development of a miniaturized gas quality sensor that significantly reduces carrier gas and sample gas requirements.
  • Underground Storage – A full scale test of an improved brine string stiffener is tentatively planned for 2013, contingent on host site availability and incremental funding support. This test will employ a previously-developed novel sensor package to determine the movement of the brine string as it swings within the salt cavern, thus characterizing its displacements as a function of fluid injection and withdrawal rates; critical information for ensuring the brine string is not in danger of failure.

Cliff Johnson, President of PRCI, commented “As the industry strives for zero incidents, it is critical that we deliver the knowledge and technology that will enable the industry to move in that direction. The research agenda that has been created demonstrates the commitment by the industry to continue looking for ways to ensure a safer and more efficient pipeline network.”

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