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GE Oil & Gas Helps National Grid Complete Inspection of NYC Gas Pipeline


HOUSTON -- GE Oil & Gas’ PII Pipeline Solutions group has helped National Grid USA complete a challenging inspection of a decades-old natural gas pipeline running under the busy streets of New York City, showcasing the heightened efforts of operators to evaluate the condition of pipelines located in high-population areas around the country.

National Grid hired GE to inspect a two-mile, 24-inch “Backbone” pipeline that runs beneath the busy streets of Brooklyn, N.Y. and under an East River tributary into the borough of Queens. After acquiring the assets of KeySpan Energy in 2007, the UK-based utility worked with multiple state and city government agencies to secure the needed permits.

“Enhancing the integrity of this important legacy pipeline, with the help of GE Oil & Gas, demonstrates National Grid’s corporate commitment to invest in our infrastructure security and stringent environmental protection programs,” said Mike Kern,Manager of Asset Replacement Program, US Operations.

The Brooklyn project posed a daunting logistical challenge, as National Grid wanted to avoid interrupting the flow of gas for extended periods of time despite the need for crucial excavation work to be performed at a busy intersection. Complicating matters further, the pipeline did not have any standard launch or receive “traps” to accommodate in-line inspection (ILI) tools known as “pigs.”

In other words, there were no easy ways to access the line.

To avoid the need for extensive excavation work, National Grid turned to GE Oil & Gas’ PII Pipeline Solutions group, which specializes in advanced pipeline inspection technology. For the project, GE deployed its “Smart Launch” system, a patent-pending, hot-tap process to install a permanent, angled launch/receiver fitting in the existing pipeline. This fitting also will allow National Grid to conduct future inspections – an important added benefit.

"We were pleased to work closely with National Grid on this challenging inspection project. We developed GE’s SmartLaunch technology just for this purpose, that is, to help operators assure the integrity of pipelines that were previously unpiggable,” said John Bucci, General Manager for GE’s PII Pipeline Solutions group. “The Brooklyn project site was in a densely populated area with minimal ‘elbow room.’ This is exactly the kind of situation for which we designed ‘SmartLaunch.’ “

Following the hot tap process, GE deployed its SmartScan in-line inspection tool, a flexible, multi-diameter “intelligent pig” that is able to navigate such previously unpiggable lines to successfully complete the inspection.

About GE’s Oil & Gas business
GE Oil & Gas ( is a world leader in advanced technology equipment and services for all segments of the oil and gas industry, offering complete solutions for production, LNG, transportation, storage, refineries, and petrochemicals. It also provides pipeline integrity solutions including software and asset management. With its acquisition of VetcoGray and Hydril Pressure Control, GE Oil & Gas now offers additional products, systems and services for drilling, completion and production within onshore, offshore and subsea applications.

GE is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media company that is built to meet essential world needs. From energy, water, transportation and health to access to money and information, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at GE is Imagination at Work.


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