Houston-based GE Oil & Gas' PII Pipeline Solutions group is completing its largest pipeline inspection project by helping TransCanada Corp., Calgary, (NYSE: TRP) evaluate the condition of an 864-kilometer (537-mile) portion of a gas pipeline in Canada.

This part of the pipeline, which covers a span equivalent to the distance between Paris and Berlin, needed to be inspected prior to being converted to carry crude oil as part of the Keystone Oil Pipeline.

TransCanada is converting its 34-inch, Mainline gas pipeline between Burstall, Saskatchewan and Carman, Manitoba as part of TransCanada and ConocoPhillips’ joint Keystone Oil Pipeline project. The initiative will allow crude oil to be transported to U.S. Midwest markets at Wood River and Patoka, Ill., and to Cushing, Okla.

To ensure optimal availability of the converted pipeline, TransCanada first had to make sure it was free of stress corrosion cracking that could potentially lead to leaks.

The PII Pipeline Solutions division operates ultrasonic pipeline inspection tools and between October and March performed crack-detection inspection runs in three segments of the gas pipeline of 294, 315 and 255 kilometers in length, respectively.

PII Pipeline Solutions general manager John Bucci says, “GE was selected by TransCanada because we were the only company with both the experience in using ultrasonic tools for crack detection and the resources to manage this critical project’s scope and technical requirements, particularly the need to deploy multiple tools over such a vast distance.”

GE needed to simultaneously deploy several types of in-line inspection tools, also known as pigs. Prior to deployment, TransCanada had to develop a special pipeline manifold to accommodate all the tools and ensure that no air bubbles were left in the line. A total of eight tools were dispatched in section 1, and seven tools in section 2. Six of those were batching tools.

TransCanada’s most serious challenge was the need to control a three-kilometer batch of fluid in a given pipeline segment to ensure GE’s ILI tools could move at a consistent speed needed for accurate data collection.

GE Oil & Gas provides equipment and services for all segments of the oil and gas industry.

TransCanada provides of gas storage and related services and has approximately 370 billion cubic feet of storage capacity.