MOBILTEX RELEASES GCRTECH PFL1 — PORTABLE PRESSURE/FLOW DATA LOGGER CERTIFIED FOR USE IN NORTH AMERICA AND ENGINEERED FOR EXTREME CONDITIONS

AMPP / MATERIALS PERFORMANCE WEBINAR

Summary

The Mega Rule is now in full effect, impacting U.S. pipeline integrity operations while offering a glimpse of future paradigms in other global countries. This webcast will present Mobiltex’s take on how to succeed and thrive under the Mega Rule.

The presentation begins with a briefly laying out key elements of the regulation impacting cathodic protection (CP) and integrity practitioners, before diving into specific areas where technology can help.

Then the presenters review specific examples and case studies indicating how we see the industry evolving towards a CP system of the future, one where regulatory concerns are addressed within a performance-driven framework guided by advanced analytics.

Speakers

Tony da Costa P.Eng., VP of Engineering – MOBILTEX

Tony has been with MOBILTEX for over 20 years and is VP of Engineering. He is responsible for leading an experienced team of hardware and software development professionals in bringing the future product vision to fruition in a timely manner and ensuring that existing product feature sets grow with the needs of the customers.

Will Maize MBA, B.Eng., Director of Product Management & Corporate Strategy– MOBILTEX

Will leads our product and corporate strategy activities, helping ensure that Mobiltex products and service offerings are industry leading, and solving our customers most challenging problems. Will has previously worked with an international market research firm focused on digital technology trends in built infrastructure markets and as a civil engineer in a variety of projects throughout Ontario. Will holds an MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and a B.Eng. in Civil Engineering with Co-op option from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

Matthew Barret PhD, Senior Data Scientist – MOBILTEX

Matt joined Mobiltex in 2020 as Senior Data Scientist and since then has been digging through historic CP data developing new ways to understand readings and predict trends. Prior to joining Mobiltex, Matt worked as a data scientist at Mueller-Echologics using acoustic remote monitoring sensors to locate leaks in water pipelines. Matt holds a PhD in experimental physics from Humboldt University.

+Transcript

(Will)  

Thank you very much Rebecca, and welcome everyone to the webinar. We are very excited to have another opportunity to address the Materials Performance community, and in a small way contribute to the advancement of our industry. 

Today’s topic is ‘Thriving Under the Mega Rule.’  

(Will) 

Now onto introductions and a brief overview of the discussion planned for today.  

I’m the guy in the middle, Will Maize, and I help to inform our corporate and product strategy within Mobiltex. In my role I conduct interviews with customers and colleagues from across the industry to try and understand market trends and ultimately, to influence our product development and go to market strategy.  

I’m pleased to introduce my co-presenters for today – Tony and Matt. Tony? 

(Tony) 

My name is Tony da Costa.  I head up the team that turns Will’s customer product research information into innovative industry-leading products for our customers.  My background is in electrical engineering with a specialty in communications systems.  Over the last 3 decades, I’ve put that skillset to use in various digital radio and remote data acquisition R&D efforts, including many of Mobiltex’s current product offerings.  Now, over to our third Musketeer, Matt. 

(Matt) 

My name is Matt Barrett, and I’m a Senior Data Scientist at Mobiltex. I have a PhD in experimental physics and have worked for almost a decade in the Industrial IOT space. Since joining Mobiltex almost three years ago, I’ve been looking through historic data measured by the vast fleet of remote monitoring units located on Cathodic Protection assets, looking for new ways to interpret trends and predict future readings. 

(Will)  

Excellent guys.  

To start off the webinar, I’ll provide an overview of the Mega Rule, isolate and detail a few key elements that we find particularly interesting for integrity practitioners, and provide our view on the ways in which industry will be impacted. Tony will then take over to detail the two key elements, namely the Importance of Interruption, and Unpacking Interference, presenting on how technology can aid these workflows and requirements. Finally, Matt will elevate the discussion around his core practice of data analytics, and we’ll provide some thoughts on how a future state of regulatory, and performance driven CP, could be achieved.  

We’ll have plenty of time for Q&A at the end, so please do send your questions in throughout.  

(Will) 

Let’s get started by unpacking the PHMSA Mega Rule.. 

The developments leading up to the ‘Mega Rule’ have been simmering for quite some time. This chart illustrates data from PHMSA representing over 20 years of pipeline safety events in the U.S. The blue line represents the number of significant events while the orange line represents the number of injuries caused by these event. The grey bars represent total cost of the event including damages and repair, losses, and settlements.  

A significant event is defined as “Fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization; $50,000 or more in total costs; Highly volatile liquid releases of 5 barrels or more or other liquid releases of 50 barrels or more; Liquid releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion.  

Two significant events in 2010, which sadly involved multiple fatalities, helped to catalyze PHMSA’s review of regulatory requirements for gas and hazardous liquid pipelines across the U.S. The highest profile event, which occurred in San Bruno California in that same year, was found to have been caused primarily by problems in the operator’s integrity management and maintenance program. Reviews of this event, and others over the years since, have largely informed the emerging regulation guidance that has evolved into the Mega Rule.  

(Will) 

With a proactive process starting in the aftermath of the 2010 events, the first implementations occurred nearly a decade later.  

 Parts 1 and 2 impacted the industry, particularly around the expansion of pipelines defined as ‘High Consequence Areas’, or HCAs, and with the new definition of Medium Consequence Areas, or MCAs, and expanding regulatory coverage around gathering lines. Other changes impacted the cadence at which different integrity workflows should occur within each classification of regulated pipeline, new requirements to monitor and report on maximum allowable operating pressures, and other integrity risk management practices.  

Part 3, which took effect in May of this year, includes many details that pertain to and directly affect key cathodic protection workflows, especially within midstream and downstream sectors. Two key sections within PART 192 are section 192.465(f)(2) – which impacts requirements of interruption and reaction times for remedial survey work, and 192.473 – which impacts how we should understand and mitigate interference. From our vantage point, these two sections are potentially the most interesting for cathodic protection practitioners, and so we’ve planned on focusing on them today. I promise to get into the regulation weeds only briefly, so stay with me.  

(Will) 

Impact area 1 – Interruption and close-interval surveys for remedial workflow. A quick read through of the interesting paragraph, and I quote: 

“To address systemic causes, an operator must conduct close interval surveys in both directions from the test station with a low cathodic protection reading at a maximum interval of approximately 5 feet or less.  An operator must conduct close interval surveys unless it is impractical based upon geographical, technical, or safety reasons.  An operator must complete close interval surveys required by this section with the protective current interrupted unless it is impractical to do so for technical or safety reasons.”  

The clause continues, but this last sentence is what we’d like to explore… “An operator must complete close interval surveys required by this section with the protective current interrupted unless it is impractical to do so for technical or safety reasons.”  

What does impractical mean, and does it mean the same thing for every operator? We assume not. In fact the ‘practicality’ of interrupting current sources has played a large role in regulatory and audit programs across our industry for many years. While some operators, particularly midstream and transmission teams, have long standardized around an 850mV instant off potential as a parameter, many downstream operators, or even midstream players within dense areas or with unique protection systems, have not yet been enforced to take a pure off potential reading. In many cases, a 950mV On potential has been sufficient, and some have even used 850mV on.  

A good question to ask is, how much has the ‘practicality’ of interrupting current sources played into this over the years? And, have we reached a point in technology where the definition of practical is changing? 

(Will) 

Impact area 2 – Interference. Again, a quick read through of the interesting paragraph, and I quote: 

Interference surveys for a pipeline system to detect the presence and level of any electrical stray current.  Interference surveys must be conducted when potential monitoring indicates a significant increase in stray current , or when new potential stray current sources are introduced, such as through co-located pipelines, structures, or high voltage alternating current (HVAC) power lines, … other structures…”  

Skipping ahead it suggests one to develop a remedial action plan to correct any instances where interference current is greater than or equal to 100 amps per meter squared or if it impedes the safe operation of a pipeline. Finally, it outlines timelines: “Application for any necessary permits within 6 months of completing the interference survey that identified the deficiency.  An operator must complete remedial actions promptly, but no later than the earliest of the following: within 15 months after completing the interference survey that identified the deficiency; or as soon as practicable, but not to exceed 6 months, after obtaining any necessary permits.” 

Historically, dealing with interference has been an interpretive exercise, with lots of variance in how operators conducted mitigative measures, including identification, planning, and mitigation. The new regulations establish a timeline for this process in certain instances where a deficiency is noted, which is significant.  

Proof of this last point is actually in the courts as we speak. Just last week,  INGAA – the interstate natural gas associate of America, filed a legal challenge to RIN 2. It details a number of concerns related to the provisions of the Rule, including concerns with the time frame of mandating remedial actions within 15 months of an interference survey. The iterative nature of identifying, diagnosing, and mitigating interference was quoted as a reason to support extending this timeline.  

(Will) 

So how do we see the Rule impacting the broader industry? We’ve mapped out some thoughts in this matrix, illustrating differences across the downstream, midstream, and upstream pipeline spaces governed by this regulation.  

Our view is that the downstream and midstream markets are generally most affected. The expansion of HCAs and MCAs means that more transmission and distribution pipelines, which are the most likely to qualify as an HCA or MCA due to proximity to population centers, recreation areas, and other critical infrastructure. Upstream gathering systems are generally less affected by this element of the Mega Rule.  

All three sectors will be affected by increased focus on integrity activities, such as ILI. In our core area of interest, CP, we feel that the downstream market will likely be most affected, because gas distribution utilities are more likely to conduct ON potential surveys as part of legacy programs. Many factors have contributed to this; from urban density increasing sources of interference, to historical practices of directly connect galvanic protection, to broader use of blended systems. As PHMSAs regulation takes hold, many state regulators will increasingly demand interrupted surveys. Interference is also quite common in downstream, again due to urban density and collocation with other infrastructure.  

So with this slide wrapped, I’ve concluded the ‘Regulatory’ focused portion of this webinar. I’ll pass over to Tony to introduce technology and approaches that can help support a thriving CP program.   

(Tony) 

As Will mentioned a few slides ago, the first area of impact was, and I quote, “An operator must complete close interval surveys required by this section with the protective current interrupted unless it is impractical to do so for technical or safety reasons”.  

I’d like to deep dive into what is meant by interrupting the protective current sources and understand why there is a changing dynamic in terms of what could be considered impractical. 

(Tony) 

Proving adequate CP levels is typically achieved through an IR-free potential reading compared against an 850mV or 100mV criteria.  This is standard across many DOT and PHMSA jurisdictions. Typically, these readings are achieved with an instant-OFF reading since accounting for all currents associated with an on-reading IR shift is difficult. 

The instant-OFF reading is representative of the true polarization potential at exposed holidays, compensating for the IR drop that is present in ON-potential readings when cathodic protection current sources are active.  To accomplish an instant-OFF reading, all CP current sources must be shut off at the same moment in time.  The instrument taking the measurement at an offset from the source turn off point should also maintain a synchronization to allow for measurement repeatability. 

Once the instant-off measurement is taken, it can then be used with either the 850mV or 100mV criteria.  The 850mV criteria is the most commonly used of the two, since it is standalone.  However, with poorly coated structures and in certain soil compositions, especially rocky areas through mountainous areas, the 850mV criteria can be difficult to establish.  In those cases, the 100mV can be used to show adequate protection.  The 100mV criteria does require a baseline depolarization, or native polarization, potential value for the protected structure, which can be attained by depolarizing the structure for a period of time, or through the use of CP coupon depolarization measurements. 

Due to the make-up and complexity of distribution networks in urban environments, IR-free potential readings can be harder to achieve, and regulators have been slower to require instant-OFF readings.  In these urban areas, it has been common to ignore the IR drop effects and report uncompensated on-readings against the criteria.  

In many areas, particularly in Southeast U.S., regulators have started to demand IR free potentials over the last few years to ensure adequate protection is in place.   

(Tony) 

Here, we can see some of those current sources that cause IR drop errors in on-potential measurement.  First, impressed current rectifiers, providing 10’s and even sometimes 100’s of amps of current to protect the pipeline cause large IR drops with return current flow from distant ground beds.  Remote monitoring units have become prominent in the interruption role for rectifiers over the last decade.  In some cases, such as interruption of influencing foreign operator rectifiers, portable interruption devices are still used at survey time.   

Next, sacrificial galvanic anodes are used where impressed current systems are impractical or where special uses near bonded structures deliver current flows to the pipe.  Sometimes, especially in older installations, these sacrificial anodes are wired directly to the protected structure without a test station, making them difficult to disconnect for survey activities.  Some, like the sacrificial anode connected through a subgrade test station in the middle of a road shown here, can be disconnected, but require traffic control while temporary interruption equipment is installed and removed.  Newer permanent installation solutions now make it practical to interrupt these types of sources.  

Finally, bonds with other nearby metallic structures also influence current flows, causing voltage gradients around the protected structure near the bond point.  With the lack of permanent available power, these have historically been disconnected with portable interrupter equipment, but again as technology has advanced, permanent install remote monitoring units with interruption capability are now available to address these current sources or sinks.   

It is ideal to disconnect all of these sources when determining an IR-free on potential. Let’s look at some solutions to achieve this. 

(Tony)  

For pipelines where remote interruption capability is not implemented, portable interrupters need to be installed on multiple assets, or with bonds and anodes, disconnected completely in some cases.  Post survey, those portable interrupters need to be retrieved and any disconnected bonds or anodes need to be reconnected. It can be a logistical challenge, especially during times when field activities are restricted.  

The uGI1 GPS synchronized portable interrupters strike a balance in capabilities that aim to minimize installation time during survey events while providing advanced abilities such as powering from rectifier taps and two-way satellite communications. 

The uGI1 allows for control of existing solid state or mechanical relays that may already be installed in rectifiers.  If no relay is present, an SRL high current smart relay may be paired with the uGI1 to control rectifiers at the taps or on the DC side of the rectifier stack.  What makes the SRL relays smart? They have built in current measuring capabilities that validate current flow during the on-cycle of interruption, and no current flow during the off portion.  The uGI1 datalogs any anomalies that are detected in the interruption wave forms.  Post survey, it is possible to identify any interruption-related issues that may have occurred during the survey.  Programming and data retrieval are all accomplished over a Bluetooth link that is compatible with any Apple or Android phone or tablet.   

The UGI1 advanced unit builds on the capabilities of the uGI1 basic unit with the addition of built in satellite communications.  Paired with the CorView cloud data platform, the units can be pre-deployed in the field and then configured for interruption parameters remotely through the data platform.  In addition, real time alarms are sent from the unit to the data platform if any anomalies are detected by the smart relays.  This allows a survey to be halted immediately and for the problem to be addressed before the survey is allowed to continue, resulting in a reduction of re-surveying of pipe segments.  For operators where remote monitoring units are not yet installed, the uGI1 advanced unit is a good first step as a permanently installed interrupter since it still achieves remote control of the rectifiers for surveys and higher quality survey data. 

(Tony) 

For those unmonitored galvanic anodes and bonds that require temporary interruption capability during survey events, the solution is to still to deploy portable interrupters to break the electrical connection between the anodes and the structure or the bond between the two structures.  With anodes and bonds and their associated test stations often being located away from power sources, a battery-operated solution is usually required.  Ideally, the portable interrupter is also self-contained to allow for easy migration from one test installation to the next. 

Here is our solution for that purpose.  This is the Pi-1 pocket interrupter, an award-winning product.  The completely self-contained unit is powered by a large capacity battery allowing it to run through full multi-day survey tasks. Through the use of two internal solid-state relays, each capable of switching up to 1 amp of current, the unit is easily able to interrupt two anode sets or even an anode along with a small bond.  The waterproof case makes it an ideal apparatus to deploy in locations where flooding may occur.  With all of that, it still fits in your pocket. 

In addition, an expansion port also allows for the flexibility to interface with standard Mobiltex accessories. 

(Tony) 

Next, to reduce the tedious setup work associated with repeated surveys, permanently installed RMUs have become common place on most systems.  This is the RMU3 rectifier monitoring and control product that is comprised of a measurement block which is connected through a simple instrumentation cable to the integrated transceiver-antenna block.  This form factor allows for quick installations as the measurement block typically sits inside the rectifier.  More importantly though, updating the communications technology is as simple as unscrewing the cable from the transceiver block and plugging in a new replacement transceiver.   

The RMU3 provides GPS synchronized interruption capability for rectifiers when used with a separate control relay.  The relay selection choice is determined primarily by the rectifier type and ratings.  In less than an hour, an existing rectifier can be equipped with the RMU3 solution.  From there all interruption control of the rectifier during surveys can be attained through a web-based portal from anywhere that an Internet connection is available.   

(Tony) 

For permanent monitoring and interruption of bonds and galvanic anodes, let’s take a look at our RMU1 generation 4 and the INT1 bond/anode interruption peripheral.  Both fit inside a standard 3″ test station. 

We’ve taken our popular RMU1 unit that is primarily used for CP coupon and test point monitoring and added two-way communications in both cellular and satellite variants.  With the two-way communications capability, it is now possible to send commands to the units from CorView Cloud.  In particular, this allows for GPS synchronized interruption to occur in unison with rectifiers.  Unique power saving modes still allow the batteries in the RMU1 to last 5 years for a typical install.  A new connector on the RMU1 gives it the ability to use optional peripherals.   

The first such peripheral for the RMU1 G4 is the INT1 bond/anode interrupter.  This addon unit enables bonds and galvanic anodes at up to 7 Amps of current to be interrupted synchronously with rectifiers during a survey event.  In addition to interruption capability, the unit also measures the AC/DC current flow and the potentials on either side of a bond or anode connection.  With the interruption capability, an instant off potential can be obtained at the installed location.  The battery life on the INT1 peripheral is also targeted at 5 years under nominal operating conditions. 

Ok, enough on interruption.  

(Tony) 

Let’s pivot and look at the second major impact area that Will mentioned, interference.  

Dynamic and static stray current interference occurs when an asset, object, or activity outside of the cathodic protection system creates a current that strays onto the protected pipeline, influencing the electrochemical dynamics of the pipe and the designed CP system. 

These sources of current can present some of the most challenging and dangerous conditions for cathodic protection engineers and pipeline operators, due to their concentrated nature. Both DC and AC dynamic stray currents are present in the typical urban environment.  

On the DC side, the most common source of dynamic DC interference is from DC powered Light Rail Transit systems, or LRTs. As a train passes through a pipeline corridor, it is common to see a short-duration influence on the DC current and voltage on steel assets in the vicinity. If these effects are large in amplitude and frequent, they can cause considerable damage to a pipeline coating and potentially lead to rapid corrosion. Grounding cells can be installed to offer a low resistance pathway to ground for the DC current spikes, minimizing the effect on the pipeline itself. 

Static DC stray currents are present when multiple metallic assets in the same area are protected by multiple CP systems.  Differentials in protection potentials cause one of the assets to become an anode for the second.  Not a great situation for the integrity of that asset.   

On the AC side, co-location of pipeline corridors within existing high voltage AC corridors, and vice-versa, has created many challenges. Inductive coupling from the HVAC lines will create an induced AC current on the pipeline, which immediately looks for a path to ground. This AC will always find the path of least resistance at locations where the coating has weakened – known as holidays. AC corrosion at a small holiday can be extremely concentrated, causing rapid wall loss. 

Other sources of stray currents might include industrial machinery where ground provides a return path for power driving the machinery thereby creating induced current flows. 

All of these require tools to diagnose and suggest corrective actions to the corrosion prevention plan.  

(Tony) 

Portable dataloggers (like the CorTalk uDL1 and uDL2) are proven tools for collecting fast sample rate CP data. Rugged, small, and versatile, these loggers can be dropped into just about any scenario imaginable in the industry. However, a major drawback for portable dataloggers is that an operator is effectively blind from the moment that they have installed the logger and walked away from it, until a point in the future when the operator returns to download the data for analysis.  Traditional remote monitoring solutions provide reliable data for mitigated systems, but fail to provide the high sample rate data that is required to track down interference sources. 

(Tony) 

Future workflows will redefine how interference is identified, characterized, and mitigated.  With the technology now available to meld the best of both worlds between a portable data logger and an RMU, it is possible to simplify interference identification tasks by removing the need to repeatedly manually retrieve data from the field.  Thus, investigative cycles can be condensed in time, allowing for mitigation to be suggested in shorter time frames.  Post mitigation installation, near real-time monitoring of the effectiveness can be performed, thereby assuring the overall integrity of the asset.  

(Tony):  

The RDL1 is our next generation device – a Remote Datalogger – that simultaneously measures four galvanically isolated channels.  Those four channels are split into two voltage and two current measurements, each with DC and true-RMS AC capabilities.  In terms of physical input connections, the RDL1 is very similar to our existing RMU1, allowing measurements of test point potentials, coupons and bonds. 

The RDL1 maintains the typical slower periodic measurement capabilities of the RMU1, where slow varying potentials or currents are present.  But, a fast sample rate capability differentiates the RDL1 from prior RMU products.  With the separately isolated channels, the RDL1 is capable of measuring each input channel simultaneously at rates up to 10Hz, which is useful for most dynamic interference tracking situations.  Future firmware enhancements are planned to allow even higher sampling rates for other applications, such as waveform analysis, with the same hardware.  The fast sample event schedules can be programmed locally or through the CorView data platform.  

A new addition to the RDL1 is edge computation of statistics on a fast sample event.  Under certain conditions, the end user of the measurements may not be interested in a fast sample data set unless it meets certain statistical qualities.  The RDL1 can be configured to only send full fast sample data on demand; in that mode, it will still send in statistical information such as the mean, minimum, maximum, standard deviation, and percentage out-of-limits.  In this mode, if the statistics match the user criteria, the user can then command a delivery of the full fast sample data set for further analysis. 

The remote configuration and data extraction capabilities are enabled by next generation LTE Cat M1 cellular module.  Cellular connectivity provides bandwidth to handle the vast amount of data produced by the RDL1’s fast sampling capability.  It’s important to note that Cat M1 is also a mode supported by 5G cellular infrastructure, ensuring longevity of the platform far into the next decade. 

All of this hardware continues to be battery powered through an internal battery pack.  Through purpose designed power efficient circuitry and power-intelligent firmware, the unit is able to attain 5 years of battery life at 1 second sampling or 10 years at 10 second sampling under typical use cases.  In addition to the internal battery, a connector on the unit allows for future power options such as mains power and solar.  These power sources will enable higher sampling rate use cases that run on a continual basis.  

As the RDL1 has similar installation requirements as the RMU1 for test stations, the RDL1 has been designed to allow for installation in a standard 3” test station.  The main body of the RDL1 drops into the riser tube below the test station head.  The case configuration leaves ample room behind the RDL1 for routing of the usual cables found in a typical test station configuration. 

(Tony):  

To see the effectiveness of the RDL1 solution, in this graph, we see the DC current through a reverse current switch captured by the RDL1 at a structure near a DC LRT line over a 24-hour period. The device is collecting data at a sampling rate of 1 sample per second, but the graph is showing averages across 60 seconds.  

We can see stable regions between 2:30AM and 5AM, when trains are not running.  The remainder of the spikes coincide with the train schedule, indicating significant interference events with each train going by.  Without the high frequency data collection by the RDL1, those spikes would have been lost on a traditional RMU. 

We’ve now looked at some tools that could help your CP program thrive within the Mega Rule. Our final chapter for today aims to put this all aside, and offers to explore some questions as to how the future of the regulatory space, and our CP programs, may look.  

I’ll turn it over to Matt now.  Matt, since you dropped off earlier, could you also introduce yourself first?  

(Matt):  

Thanks Tony, apologies for the late introduction. My name is Matt Barrett, and I’m a Senior Data Scientist at Mobiltex. I have a PhD in experimental physics and have worked for almost a decade in the Industrial IOT space. Since joining Mobiltex almost three years ago, I’ve been looking through historic data measured by the vast fleet of remote monitoring units located on Cathodic Protection assets, looking for new ways to interpret trends and predict future readings. 

Thanks Tony. Next, we’ll discuss the idea of Shifting regulatory practice into the future. Here I want to touch on some of the research we’ve been involved in at Mobiltex and how it relates back to changing regulatory frameworks in general. 

(Matt):  

Pipeline operators are working towards ensuring that quality data feeds into more informed integrity decision making. Regulation states minimum frequency for measurements and site surveys, but following these minimums to a tee may mean the bigger picture is missed. With remote monitoring data, we fill the gaps between these measurements and better understand what is happening on the pipeline. We’ve explored this topic with a few different concepts in the past few years and you can find our papers published in the associated conference proceedings. 

First, Rectifier seasonality, looking at how geographic differences affect the seasonal changes observed on CP rectifiers. 

Next, groundbed trends and end-of-life prediction. Here we use install information about the anode groundbed, pipeline dimensions and coatings, and soil conditions to predict rectifier trends over time. 

Finally, and what I’ll go into more detail about today, Close-interval-survey data paired with RMU data. Let’s look at one example of how we at Mobiltex believe technology can help bring in a shift in regulatory practice and CP programs.  

(Matt):  

The mega rule calls for CIS surveys every 3 years, to ensure sufficient CP levels, and in the case that there’s insufficient coverage, remediation and prompt resurvey. A CIS survey is a considerable commitment, and requires a team being sent to site to walk the pipeline. Could we extend the CIS profile over time to be more proactive and catch issues sooner? 

(Matt):  

In this proof-of-concept project, we partnered with a pipeline operator who shared their CIS results with us. Here we see the DC ON in green, and DC OFF in red, with the horizontal axis representing distance along the pipe. In this case, we’ll focus on one sub-segment from station number three-hundred fifty thousand to four hundred thousand. This sub-segment has a coupon test station on the West and East end, with a RMU installed on each coupon. 

(Matt):  

Here we have two upper graphs of RMU data. These two graphs show a two year timeline on the x-axis, with hourly RMU readings plotted in the green dots. The y-axis represents the DC potential. We can select the date when the CIS was performed, highlighted with the yellow and grey shading and calculate the average DC potential during that time. In the same way we can look at the red and blue shaded areas to calculate DC potential at future dates, in this case July and August.  

In the bottom graph we combine the CIS ON data which was shown on the previous slide and anchor either end with the results from the West and East RMUs. These two anchor points are then plotted in July and August, shifting the CIS profile upwards and closer to zero. This could be done for any arbitrary date for which CIS data exists, giving a CIS profile shifted in time.  

This could be automatically updated each time a new RMU reading reaches your database, and could provide a proactive approach to detecting changes in potential, without requiring a technician to walk the pipeline and measure every few metres. 

In a similar approach, as discussed in the context of the Mega rule regulation, when CIS reveals insufficient CP remediation is required. The CP remediation changes could be viewed in near-real time, giving a direct “what-if” scenario with real data, and optimized to see how these changes affect the potentials, then finally confirmed on-site with a targeted CIS survey. 

(Matt):  

In a similar way, we can fit the RMU data to a seasonal model. If the data can be described by an equation, it is possible to project our CIS data into the future, determining the times of year with highest and lowest potential readings. In this case we fit a sine function to our two coupon RMU datasets in the top two graphs, and below we take the results of the maximum and minimum potentials to anchor our CIS measurements. This results in the grey points as future projections for July and January. This would inform an operator if the rectifier output was sufficient to protect the pipeline even at times of the year when a CIS survey would be infeasible. 

That’s me done, back over to Will to wrap it up.  

(Will): 

Thanks Dr. Barrett. 

Mobiltex strives to develop technology that helps protect critical infrastructure across the world. Our solutions impact the health and safety of the public and infrastructure practitioners, help extend the useful service life of assets, directly impact and enhance environmental protection, and help to create operating efficiencies. As we continue to grow, we aim to reinforce all four of these pillars in our products and services.  

(Will): 

Mobiltex has been working to develop innovative technology for cathodic protection applications for over 30 years. We’ve evolved alongside our customers and partners, to now offer best-in-class remote monitoring and field-survey products for the cathodic protection and pipeline integrity industries, spanning oil & gas, water, power generation, and civil infrastructure sectors.  

 (Will): 

We’re not up here alone either – we’re proud to partner with the great organizations represented by these logos, serving our customers across North America and around the world.  

(Will): 

We will now open up the floor for questions.  

Over to Rebecca to conclude. 

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