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Updated: Dec 15, 2020

NCM which stands for Non-Contact Condition Monitoring Systems is a new alternative mechanism for robotic non-contact inspection of buried oil and gas pipelines.

A new alternative inspection technology is tested in a pilot test, to complement and overcome the shortcomings of the already existing ILI inspection of the buried pipelines. The aim of this pilot test is towards developing a novel predictive maintenance protocol (prediction of future anomalies in the pipeline based on data collected in the past) based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for inspection and management of the buried metallic pipe. This predictive maintenance capability is not possible with currently used inspection methods including ILI inspection.

Proposed inspection mechanism can also predict anomalies even before any actual macro-level defects starts appearing for detection by the MFL or any other such macro-defect inspection tools for quantification. The ILI inspection only detects the actual thickness of the pipe, and it is entirely blind to the dynamics of the internal microstructure of the metallic core of the pipe, which is responsible for every single anomaly. Also based on traditional ILI data alone the future status of the currently detected cracks, corrosion, and other defects cannot be estimated accurately. Therefore, there is a substantial blind gap between knowledge of health condition of a pipeline between its two successive ILI inspections. This gap between two consecutive ILI inspection can be adequately filled by this newly proposed inspection technology so that critical decisions regarding the repair and maintenance of pipelines can be taken before any severe incident takes place. This predictive maintenance capability will also enhance the overall life of the pipeline with timely interventions minimising the overall maintenance and repair cost. This inspection mechanism will also work as the knowledge base to decide when to schedule future ILI inspections of a pipeline. This technology can also act a screening tool where to perform validation test for anomalies detected by ILI based on categorisation of anomalies by NCM.

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