Figure 4.2 Pipelines in deep water.

Pipelines are cleaned and inspected by 'pigs', piston-like devices driven along the line by the gas pressure. Pigs have reached a high level of sophistication, and can measure internal corrosion, mechanical deformation, external corrosion, the precise position of the line, and the development of spans in underwater lines. Further functionality will develop as pig technology evolves, and there is no reason why pigs used for hydrocarbon pipelines should not be used for carbon dioxide.

Pipelines are also monitored externally. Land pipelines are inspected from the air, at intervals agreed between the operator and the regulatory authorities. Inspection from the air detects unauthorized excavation or construction before damage occurs. Currently, underwater pipelines are monitored by remotely operated vehicles, small unmanned submersibles that move along the line and make video records, and in the future, by autonomous underwater vehicles that do not need to be connected to a mother ship by a cable. Some pipelines have independent leak detection systems that find leaks acoustically or by measuring chemical releases, or by picking up pressure changes or small changes in mass balance. This technology is available and routine.

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