Review of Detection and Monitoring Systems for Buried High Pressure Pipelines: Final Report

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    The Netherlands has approximately two million kilometers of underground cables and pipelines. One specific type of buried infrastructure is the distribution network of hazardous material such as gas, oil, and chemicals (‘transportleiding gevaarlijke stoffen’). This network comprises 22.000 kilometers of high-pressure transportation pipelines. Because they are located under the ground, these pipelines are subject to excavation damages. Incidents in them Belgian Gellingen (2004) and German Ludwigshafen (2014) show that consequences of pipeline damages are significant. They can cause fatalities to excavation workers and impact the environment too. In addition, only direct costs for recovery of damages are estimated by the pipeline owner association (VELIN) to range already from several hundreds of thousands to even a few millions of euros. This figure does not yet include the indirect costs. Serious incidents will eventually undermine the public’s acceptance for hazardous pipelines, so it goes without saying that pipeline excavation incidents should, therefore, be avoided. Nowadays, third parties seem to be causing most of the damage to underground pipelines (Capstick, 2007; CONCAWE, 2013; EGIG, 2015; J. M. Muggleton & Rustighi, 2013). Reasons for this, often mentioned by industry, are that utility location information (KLIC-melding) is not always available and, when available, it is not always accurate or too difficult to interpret by excavator operators. It is crucial to detect underground infrastructure in a timely fashion to avoid damages. For this purpose, initiatives are needed to help excavator operators to detect pipelines and monitor groundworks taking place close to pipelines. Such initiatives could focus on the identification and the development of technologies for pipeline strike avoidance. The first step in this direction was this study – which in turn is related to the Safety Deals that are prepared by the association of pipeline owners in the Netherlands (VELIN) and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. VELIN and I&M requested the University of Twente to systematically review existing technologies for excavation damage avoidance. Such an overview is not available to the Dutch industry to date. The project team therefore identified and described existing systems for global monitoring and detection of utilities. These systems eventually help detect clashes between excavator equipment and high-pressure transportation pipelines.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherUniversity of Twente
    Number of pages46
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2017


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