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e-CFR data is current as of January 19, 2021

Title 49Subtitle BChapter ISubchapter DPart 192 → Appendix

Title 49: Transportation

Appendix F to Part 192—Criteria for Conducting Integrity Assessments Using Guided Wave Ultrasonic Testing (GWUT)

This appendix defines criteria which must be properly implemented for use of guided wave ultrasonic testing (GWUT) as an integrity assessment method. Any application of GWUT that does not conform to these criteria is considered “other technology” as described by §§192.710(c)(7), 192.921(a)(7), and 192.937(c)(7), for which OPS must be notified 90 days prior to use in accordance with §§192.921(a)(7) or 192.937(c)(7). GWUT in the “Go-No Go” mode means that all indications (wall loss anomalies) above the testing threshold (a maximum of 5% of cross sectional area (CSA) sensitivity) be directly examined, in-line tool inspected, pressure tested, or replaced prior to completing the integrity assessment on the carrier pipe.

I. Equipment and Software: Generation. The equipment and the computer software used are critical to the success of the inspection. Computer software for the inspection equipment must be reviewed and updated, as required, on an annual basis, with intervals not to exceed 15 months, to support sensors, enhance functionality, and resolve any technical or operational issues identified.

II. Inspection Range. The inspection range and sensitivity are set by the signal to noise (S/N) ratio but must still keep the maximum threshold sensitivity at 5% cross sectional area (CSA). A signal that has an amplitude that is at least twice the noise level can be reliably interpreted. The greater the S/N ratio the easier it is to identify and interpret signals from small changes. The signal to noise ratio is dependent on several variables such as surface roughness, coating, coating condition, associated pipe fittings (T's, elbows, flanges), soil compaction, and environment. Each of these affects the propagation of sound waves and influences the range of the test. It may be necessary to inspect from both ends of the pipeline segment to achieve a full inspection. In general, the inspection range can approach 60 to 100 feet for a 5% CSA, depending on field conditions.

III. Complete Pipe Inspection. To ensure that the entire pipeline segment is assessed there should be at least a 2 to 1 signal to noise ratio across the entire pipeline segment that is inspected. This may require multiple GWUT shots. Double-ended inspections are expected. These two inspections are to be overlaid to show the minimum 2 to 1 S/N ratio is met in the middle. If possible, show the same near or midpoint feature from both sides and show an approximate 5% distance overlap.

IV. Sensitivity. The detection sensitivity threshold determines the ability to identify a cross sectional change. The maximum threshold sensitivity cannot be greater than 5% of the cross sectional area (CSA).

The locations and estimated CSA of all metal loss features in excess of the detection threshold must be determined and documented.

All defect indications in the “Go-No Go” mode above the 5% testing threshold must be directly examined, in-line inspected, pressure tested, or replaced prior to completing the integrity assessment.

V. Wave Frequency. Because a single wave frequency may not detect certain defects, a minimum of three frequencies must be run for each inspection to determine the best frequency for characterizing indications. The frequencies used for the inspections must be documented and must be in the range specified by the manufacturer of the equipment.

VI. Signal or Wave Type: Torsional and Longitudinal. Both torsional and longitudinal waves must be used and use must be documented.

VII. Distance Amplitude Correction (DAC) Curve and Weld Calibration. The distance amplitude correction curve accounts for coating, pipe diameter, pipe wall and environmental conditions at the assessment location. The DAC curve must be set for each inspection as part of establishing the effective range of a GWUT inspection. DAC curves provide a means for evaluating the cross-sectional area change of reflections at various distances in the test range by assessing signal to noise ratio. A DAC curve is a means of taking apparent attenuation into account along the time base of a test signal. It is a line of equal sensitivity along the trace which allows the amplitudes of signals at different axial distances from the collar to be compared.

VIII. Dead Zone. The dead zone is the area adjacent to the collar in which the transmitted signal blinds the received signal, making it impossible to obtain reliable results. Because the entire line must be inspected, inspection procedures must account for the dead zone by requiring the movement of the collar for additional inspections. An alternate method of obtaining valid readings in the dead zone is to use B-scan ultrasonic equipment and visual examination of the external surface. The length of the dead zone and the near field for each inspection must be documented.

IX. Near Field Effects. The near field is the region beyond the dead zone where the receiving amplifiers are increasing in power, before the wave is properly established. Because the entire line must be inspected, inspection procedures must account for the near field by requiring the movement of the collar for additional inspections. An alternate method of obtaining valid readings in the near field is to use B-scan ultrasonic equipment and visual examination of the external surface. The length of the dead zone and the near field for each inspection must be documented.

X. Coating Type. Coatings can have the effect of attenuating the signal. Their thickness and condition are the primary factors that affect the rate of signal attenuation. Due to their variability, coatings make it difficult to predict the effective inspection distance. Several coating types may affect the GWUT results to the point that they may reduce the expected inspection distance. For example, concrete coated pipe may be problematic when well bonded due to the attenuation effects. If an inspection is done and the required sensitivity is not achieved for the entire length of the pipe, then another type of assessment method must be utilized.

XI. End Seal. When assessing cased carrier pipe with GWUT, operators must remove the end seal from the casing at each GWUT test location to facilitate visual inspection. Operators must remove debris and water from the casing at the end seals. Any corrosion material observed must be removed, collected and reviewed by the operator's corrosion technician. The end seal does not interfere with the accuracy of the GWUT inspection but may have a dampening effect on the range.

XII. Weld Calibration to set DAC Curve. Accessible welds, along or outside the pipeline segment to be inspected, must be used to set the DAC curve. A weld or welds in the access hole (secondary area) may be used if welds along the pipeline segment are not accessible. In order to use these welds in the secondary area, sufficient distance must be allowed to account for the dead zone and near field. There must not be a weld between the transducer collar and the calibration weld. A conservative estimate of the predicted amplitude for the weld is 25% CSA (cross sectional area) and can be used if welds are not accessible. Calibrations (setting of the DAC curve) should be on pipe with similar properties such as wall thickness and coating. If the actual weld cap height is different from the assumed weld cap height, the estimated CSA may be inaccurate and adjustments to the DAC curve may be required. Alternative means of calibration can be used if justified by a documented engineering analysis and evaluation.

XIII. Validation of Operator Training. Pipeline operators must require all guided wave service providers to have equipment-specific training and experience for all GWUT Equipment Operators which includes training for:

A. Equipment operation,

B. field data collection, and

C. data interpretation on cased and buried pipe.

Only individuals who have been qualified by the manufacturer or an independently assessed evaluation procedure similar to ISO 9712 (Sections: 5 Responsibilities; 6 Levels of Qualification; 7 Eligibility; and 10 Certification), as specified above, may operate the equipment. A senior-level GWUT equipment operator with pipeline specific experience must provide onsite oversight of the inspection and approve the final reports. A senior-level GWUT equipment operator must have additional training and experience, including training specific to cased and buried pipe, with a quality control program which that conforms to Section 12 of ASME B31.8S (for availability, see §192.7).

XIV. Training and Experience Minimums for Senior Level GWUT Equipment Operators:

  Equipment Manufacturer's minimum qualification for equipment operation and data collection with specific endorsements for casings and buried pipe

  Training, qualification and experience in testing procedures and frequency determination

  Training, qualification and experience in conversion of guided wave data into pipe features and estimated metal loss (estimated cross-sectional area loss and circumferential extent)

  Equipment Manufacturer's minimum qualification with specific endorsements for data interpretation of anomaly features for pipe within casings and buried pipe.

XV. Equipment: Traceable from vendor to inspection company. An operator must maintain documentation of the version of the GWUT software used and the serial number of the other equipment such as collars, cables, etc., in the report.

XVI. Calibration Onsite. The GWUT equipment must be calibrated for performance in accordance with the manufacturer's requirements and specifications, including the frequency of calibrations. A diagnostic check and system check must be performed on-site each time the equipment is relocated to a different casing or pipeline segment. If on-site diagnostics show a discrepancy with the manufacturer's requirements and specifications, testing must cease until the equipment can be restored to manufacturer's specifications.

XVII. Use on Shorted Casings (direct or electrolytic). GWUT may not be used to assess shorted casings. GWUT operators must have operations and maintenance procedures (see §192.605) to address the effect of shorted casings on the GWUT signal. The equipment operator must clear any evidence of interference, other than some slight dampening of the GWUT signal from the shorted casing, according to their operating and maintenance procedures. All shorted casings found while conducting GWUT inspections must be addressed by the operator's standard operating procedures.

XVIII. Direct examination of all indications above the detection sensitivity threshold. The use of GWUT in the “Go-No Go” mode requires that all indications (wall loss anomalies) above the testing threshold (5% of CSA sensitivity) be directly examined (or replaced) prior to completing the integrity assessment on the cased carrier pipe or other GWUT application. If this cannot be accomplished, then alternative methods of assessment (such as hydrostatic pressure tests or ILI) must be utilized.

XIV. Timing of direct examination of all indications above the detection sensitivity threshold. Operators must either replace or conduct direct examinations of all indications identified above the detection sensitivity threshold according to the table below. Operators must conduct leak surveys and reduce operating pressure as specified until the pipe is replaced or direct examinations are completed.

Required Response to GWUT Indications

GWUT criterionOperating pressure less than or equal to 30% SMYSOperating pressure over 30 and less than or equal to 50% SMYSOperating pressure over 50% SMYS
Over the detection sensitivity threshold (maximum of 5% CSA)Replace or direct examination within 12 months, and instrumented leak survey once every 30 calendar daysReplace or direct examination within 6 months, instrumented leak survey once every 30 calendar days, and maintain MAOP below the operating pressure at time of discoveryReplace or direct examination within 6 months, instrumented leak survey once every 30 calendar days, and reduce MAOP to 80% of operating pressure at time of discovery.

[Amdt. No. 192-125, 84 FR 52255, Oct. 1, 2019]

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