North American Oil & Gas Pipelines

MAY 2018

North American Oil & Gas Pipelines covers the news shaping the business of oil and gas pipeline construction and maintenance in North America, including pipeline installation methods, integrity management innovations and managerial strategies.

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and the Interstate Natural Gas Associa- tion of America (INGAA), the PIPES Act includes efforts to prevent damage by third parties, i.e., accidental contact with, or damage to, a buried line. The problem is being addressed from two directions. First, a new technology has emerged that can accurately detect the location and depth of buried pipe- lines. Second, locating technologies can couple with geospatial solutions to produce accurate position information that is tied to known coordinate sys- tems. The resulting survey-quality data forms the basis for GIS-based approach- es for planning, asset management, op- erations and emergency response. AN INTEGRATED SOLUTION In 2015, surveyors from Woolpert Inc., a major U.S. architecture, engi- neering and geospatial (AEG) firm, used a SPAR 300 subsurface utility surveying system, in conjunction with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) re- ceivers, on a pilot project in northern Ohio. According to Dave Kuxhausen, Woolpert discipline leader for survey- ing and geomatics, the work was done under a contract to locate underground utility lines on a client's property. "We used the SPAR unit coupled with Trimble R10 GNSS receivers to detect those lines," Kuxhausen says. "It wasn't a large project, but it established our re- lationship with them and showed that we had the capabilities to perform this type of work." The SPAR 300 uses magnetic field sensors to determine the distance to a buried pipe or other asset that is capable of carrying an electric current. (The sys- tem induces a current into the pipe or tracer wire via connection at a valve or other exposed component.) The SPAR sensors can be integrated with Trimble GNSS receivers or total stations that are connected to Trimble Access software running on a Trimble TSC3 or another field controller. In operation, field crews use the SPAR 300 to locate buried pipes in three di- mensions. The Trimble Access display indicates when the SPAR has located a pipe and aids the crew in following the pipe. The system provides horizontal and vertical offsets from the sensor to the pipe while the GNSS receiver sup- plies precise geographic positioning. When the crew wants to capture a measurement, Trimble Access automat- ically combines the data from the SPAR and GNSS sensors and stores the result- ing positions into its database. In addi- tion to a 3D coordinate on the pipeline itself, the solution also computes coor- dinates for points on the surface direct- ly above the pipe. In a single pass, the survey crew can detect and mark the pipe as well as capture survey-grade positions. The resulting locations approach the accu- racy of Level A excavations. (See Side- bar: Four Levels of Accuracy and Cost) Kuxhausen says that, depending on the integrity of the tracer wire, the sys- tem enables his crews to capture pipe depths accurate to roughly 0.25 ft (8 cm) while working with the speed and flexibility associated with Level B elec- tromagnetic sensors. The field data is transferred to Trimble Business Center software (TBC). "We run the data through a QA/QC process in TBC," Kuxhausen explains. "Then we export the data into shape MAY 2 018 | North American Oil & Gas Pipelines 23

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