Pipeline Inspections

Jay is a Pipeline Engineer who shows how pipeline operators are putting into practice the industry-wide goal to Improve Safety through Technology and Innovation.

Jay went from being an intern straight out of college to a full-time integrity engineer and has been working there for the better part of a decade. He has witnessed dramatic advances in the technology used to inspect pipes. Jay and colleagues are responsible for inspecting every square inch of his company’s 6,000 miles of liquid pipelines to maintain public safety and protect the environment.

“Before working for [my company], I didn’t realize the size and scope of the work we do and the importance of it,” Jay explained. In September, Jay used a hi-tech inspection tool with the same kind of technology you might find in an ultrasound machine at your doctor’s office on a section of pipe in Illinois.

Bouncing sound waves off the pipe’s walls, the tool, affectionately callin-line inspection toolsed a “smart pig” in the pipeline world, gave him a digital picture of the health of the pipeline so his team could make sure everything was operating safely. He and other integrity engineers use the terabytes of data produced during these inspections to confirm the pipe’s good condition or schedule specific sections for maintenance where needed. He looks at his job as being part engineer and part pipeline historian.

“There’s been a lot of data gathering over the years to determine the best methods for managing a pipeline’s mechanical integrity—what kind of steel it was made out of, who manufactured it, what coatings have been used and what products have flowed through it. In the past decade, inspection technology has improved by leaps and bounds. I can stand anywhere along hundreds of miles of pipeline and tell you what is going on at that location based on the inspection data.”

Read more about Jay’s important work in the 2019 API-AOPL Pipeline Performance Report.