Inspectioneering Journal

Proposed API In-Line Inspection System Qualification Standard 1163

This article appears in the January/February 2003 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
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A meeting of the API Pipeline In-Line Inspection Standards Group was held in Houston, Texas on October 17, 2002.

The following is an excerpt from the Draft Scope of the Standard in the working dated, May 13, 2002.

API has agreed to participate in the development on an in-line inspection system qualification standard for the hazardous liquid and natural gas pipeline industry. This standard will provide the pipeline industry with a consistent means of assessing, using, and verifying in-line inspection equipment and the results of inspections. The standard will cover equipment as it relates to data quality, consistency, accuracy, and reporting. The standard will be written to assure at minimum the following:

  • Inspection companies make clear, uniform, and verifiable statements describing tool performance;
  • Pipeline companies select inspection equipment suitable for the conditions under which the inspection will be conducted, including but not limited to the pipeline material characteristics, pipeline operating conditions and the types of indications or anomalies to be detected;
  • The inspection equipment operates properly under the conditions specified and inspection procedures are followed before, during and after the inspection;
  • Anomalies are described in inspection reports using a common predetermined vocabulary set as described in this standard.
  • Tool performance and physical characteristics are reported in a common format;
  • The reported data provide the accuracy and quality anticipated in a consistent format using a common set of terms defined in this standard.

In-line inspection systems for pipelines include all types of tools, tool support gear, and associated software (for example geometric, navigation, magnetic flux, ultrasonic, and electromagnetic systems). Because in-line inspection capabilities vary with inspection tool and pipeline application, it is not possible to develop a minimum set of qualification requirements that can be applied to all situations. To address the range of conditions under which inspection equipment operates, the API standard will provide minimum requirements that the inspection company can use in establishing and demonstrating the capabilities for a tool under a range of operating conditions. Alternative methodologies will be addressed/allowed.

The standard will also provide minimum requirements for qualifying major system configurations such that qualification for one tool size may be applicable to other tool sizes. The standard will allow an inspection company to demonstrate different capabilities for different anomaly types, geometries, or characteristics. The standard will provide guidance to a pipeline company in selecting an inspection tool based on inspection needs and available capabilities. The standard will also provide procedures by which the results of an inspection can be verified.

The standard will not cover all aspects of in-line inspection. It will not cover qualification of personnel (analysts and operators) or all aspects of preparing and running an inspection tool. These topics are covered in other standards being prepared by ASNT and NACE. Other sections of this draft included:

  • Process - Consensus process defined for ANSI standards.
  • Coverage
  • System Performance
  • Fitness for Purpose
  • System and Run Verification
  • Inspection Performance and Data Verification

Since that time another meeting was held to address a revised Draft Scope dated, October 17, which proposes to address the following:

  • Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms - using existing terminology wherever possible.
  • Roles and Responsibilities - definition of roles, responsibilities, and personnel qualification, referencing ASNT and NACE standards as appropriate.
  • System Performance and Validation - guidelines for defining performance capabilities of in-line inspection systems, verification requirements, and management of change.
  • System Selection - guidelines for matching published system capabilities with specific pipeline applications, referencing NACE and other standards as appropriate.
  • System Run Verification - minimum requirements before, during, and after a tool run to verify that the equipment functioned properly and within acceptable ranges.
  • System Results - guidelines for verifying the accuracies after an inspection.
  • Quality Control - guidelines for ensuring consistent and high-quality results.
  • Minimum Reporting Requirements - requirements on reporting to encourage integration of existing and future data.

Current plans are for publication by April 4, 2004. For more information and clarifications contact Andrea Johnson at API e-mail:

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