Oklahoma Patent of the Month – June 2021

Hydrocarbon exploration has increased the demand for reliable and efficient oil and gas transportation. However, hydrocarbons often degrade the pipes they are transported through. Taking pipelines offline for maintenance and repair causes massive delays and productivity loss. Smart Pigs are inspection devices that record information about the internal conditions of a pipeline. Quest Automated Services, LLC has developed an improved pipeline telemetry system to maximize inspection capabilities. 

As fluids are transported through the pipes, debris can clog and damage the pipe walls. Quest’s cleaning system positions slugs along the internal walls of the pipe. The slug is passed along the length of the pipe when exposed to predetermined pressure which can either be artificially created or caused by fluid transportation. There are various slug designs, including some with brushes, cantilevered ridges, or glanges to offer different types of cleaning and clearing abilities. They also have sensors to detect and notify of physical aspects of the pipe. Their system also uses smart pigs with sensors to gather comprehensive data from the pipeline. The pig can communicate with the slugs, gathering the data they have collected. The pig can then utilize this data to generate a strategy if any issues have been detected. For instance, creating a strategy to correct a clog by directing slugs to the correct location. The smart pig also stores these strategies for future use and decision making. The combined telemetry and pigging strategy help improve performance and productivity while maintaining a high fluid transportation.

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