Inspection System handles unpiggable pipelines.

Press Release Summary:




Suited for oil and gas industries, SmartScan(TM) performs in-line corrosion inspection of pipelines deemed unpiggable because of valve restrictions, multiple pipeline diameters, or multiple sharp bends. Flexible structure allows it to navigate pipeline diameter variations from 16-20, 20-26, and 24-30 in. Operators can launch and receive SmartScan via use of hot tap access hole, which is drilled into pipeline walls without interruption of service.



Original Press Release:



GE Energy's New Smartscan Pipeline Tool Helps Take The 'Un' Out Of 'Unpiggable'



NORTHUMBERLAND, ENGLAND - June 24, 2005 - GE Energy's pipeline services operation has successfully launched its first SmartScan(TM) tool, a flexible inspection system designed to help the oil and gas industry overcome a longtime obstacle: the in-line corrosion inspection of "unpiggable" pipelines.

A pipeline is deemed unpiggable if conventional, in-line inspection tools ("smart pigs") are unable to inspect a given line due to valve restrictions, multiple pipeline diameters or too many sharp bends.

El Paso Corp. of Texas, the country's largest natural gas pipeline operator, was GE's first customer to deploy SmartScan to inspect a segment of its vast network, marking the tool's commercial debut.

In-line inspections are a primary method for identifying corrosion defects that could eventually lead to costly pipeline releases. However, operators previously have been unable to perform these inspections on a third of the world's installed pipelines (or 700,000 kilometers) because the pipelines were not originally designed to accommodate the passage of in-line tools. As a result, operators have been limited to using either less-quantitative techniques (approaches that cannot describe corrosion-size details) such as direct assessment or hydrotesting methods, or substantially more expensive pipeline modifications.

Enter GE's first generation of SmartScan technology, a new family of advanced, in-line-inspection tools available to both liquid and gas pipeline operators.

"GE's SmartScan tool represents a significant, game-changing development for the oil and gas industry," said Claudi Santiago, President of GE Energy's oil and gas division based in Florence, Italy. "It is the first product that can help operators begin to address one of their most persistent problems."

The first model's flexible structure allows it to navigate pipeline diameter variations of between 16-20, 20-26 and 24-30 inches, respectively. Future generations of SmartScan tools will be able to navigate additional larger and smaller diameter ranges.

Operators also have the option to launch and receive SmartScan without the need for conventional traps via the use of a "hot tap," an access hole that is drilled into pipeline walls without requiring an interruption of service.

SmartScan was a cooperative effort developed by GE's various global pipeline services teams: its mechanical design was developed in Toronto; electronics in Karlsruhe, Germany; magnetics and proofing in Newcastle, England; ancillary systems and testing in Houston, Texas; and project management provided from Karlsruhe and Houston.

SmartScan is the latest in GE's growing portfolio of products and services that offer innovative, cost-effective solutions available for achieving improved pipeline integrity.

GE Energy's pipeline services operations are based in Northumberland, England and are part of GE's oil and gas division.

About GE Energy

GE Energy is one of the world's leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technology, with 2004 revenues of $17.3 billion. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, GE Energy provides equipment, service and management solutions across the power generation, oil and gas, transmission and distribution, distributed power and energy rental industries.

For more information, contact:

Dennis Murphy
GE Energy
+1 678-844-6948
dennis.murphy@ps.ge.com

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