Pipeline inspection is thorough, careful and meticulous work as demonstrated by a recently completed integrity dig at our Burnaby Terminal.

The first step is to plan every detail before exposing a section of pipe, explained Doug Barsaloux, Kinder Morgan Canada (KMC) Western Region Pipeline Integrity Supervisor. “Our mantra is 75 per cent planning, 25 per cent execution. We want to think about and look at these projects six ways to Sunday before we make a move.”

Months before the ground cover over a section of pipeline is removed, a high-tech ‘in-line inspection’ tool has travelled through it, taking a wide range of measurements designed to identify any features that may prompt a follow-up physical inspection. Kinder Morgan Canada‘s policy is to carry out this work year-round, well in advance of any potential issues with its 1,150-kilometre pipeline.

The same high standards apply when carrying out every project, whether the work takes place on public or private land or at one of Trans Mountain’s terminal facilities. At Burnaby Terminal, for example, KMC staff and contractors recently carried out three small-scale digs on tank transfer lines that move oil and other products within the facility. A visual inspection of the pipeline was carried out to independently verify the data registered by the in-line tool, including deployment of technologically advanced equipment.

Of the three identified sites, only one required repair. A high-grade steel compression sleeve was installed as a permanent repair.

The project took two weeks from start to finish, involving on-site supervision by KMC personnel and specialty contractors. It included:

  • Excavation using high pressure water and vacuum pumps to expose about three metres of pipe
  • Verification of the feature location noted by the earlier in-line inspection
  • Visual inspection and testing including ultrasound equipment that detects imperfections within the pipe material
  • Application and welding of a sleeve over an inspected section of pipe
  • Recoating the pipe surface with a high performance two-part epoxy urethane coating
  • Reburial of the pipe and restoration of the surface layer of ground.

“Essentially we’re a transportation business,” Barsaloux said. “It’s in our best interest to ensure our vehicle is capable of transporting our customer’s product in a safe, environmentally sensitive and reliable fashion.”