Some people ask, "What do you think will change in Inline Inspection Pigging in the next 3, 5, or 10 years?" and I think it is much more reasonable to ask, "What do you think will still be the same?" Inline inspection pigs are incorporating more technologies, incorporating more flexibility to navigate pipeline components, and are being run for more reasons on more different types of pipe than ever before. 10 years from now, I think the industry will be difficult to recognize.
When we discuss rental equipment such as pipeline pigging traps, one of the most common responses is, "We prefer to buy our own permanent equipment." That's a typical approach when evaluated by operations and financial decision makers in the pipeline company. However, if you think about purchasing specialized support equipment (like launchers and receivers) as a commitment to current technology, it becomes very shortsighted to install anything permanently.
- How many legacy launchers and receivers are out in the field that are not capable of handling ILI tools?
- How many of those launchers and receiver traps are being replaced now that smart pigs exist?
- In 10 years, with the next generation of inspection technologies, will we be replacing everything again?
- OR, will that equipment be necessary at all?
If you consider that renting equipment allows you to be flexible and to change the latest and greatest inspection pigs as they evolve, you are not only keeping up, you're saving the cost of multiple sets of permanent equipment. Permanent equipment that will be is continually being made obsolete as the smart pig evolution continues. Consider rental as not only an operational or financial solution to your equipment needs, but also as a strategy that embraces change.