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Apr 13 2021

Award winning technologies are creating a “digital footprint” for pipelines

Posted by TC Energy


For the first time in our history, TC Energy has full digital pipe tracing capability from point of manufacture to stockpile site thanks to an innovative partnership between Vintri Technologies and TC energy’s award winning 4D database technology. TC Energy can now track, from anywhere and at any time, an individual piece of pipe and identify information such as location, pipe specifics and manufacturing details by combining Vintri and 4D data. The 4D database, powered by Project Consulting Services, also provides us with real-time information about our material inventory, quality and transportation.

It’s very powerful to have this amount of information about our pipeline materials right at our fingertips. This system is another improvement we’re making on our construction quality and pipeline safety. Vintri has been a valued partner in making this possible.”

Anthony C.
Manager, Project Systems

Layering manufacturing data with inspection data

Information associated with an individual piece of pipe will follow it in the system from manufacture to stockpile site:

  1. At the mill, pipe is tagged with a uniquely traceable barcode that is connected to its manufacturing information.

  2. When it arrives on site, inspectors scan the barcoded pipe in real-time using mobile devices that upload the information to the 4D database, which tracks every piece of pipe on-site.

  3. Location and quality information for each piece of pipe can be accessed remotely and instantly at any point during construction.

Big data leads to big changes

In the past, TC Energy inspectors manually processed this information, spending a minimum of 2-3 hours a day documenting pipe that was received on site. It would take at least 2-3 weeks for that information to be updated in our database systems.

By combining this data from Vintri with 4D, manufacturing and inspection information is now available on demand and in real time, allowing us to better locate, respond and diagnose any material issues anywhere on our pipeline. Information about our materials that used to take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to find can now be found almost instantly, sometimes even before the pipe is shipped to stockpile sites.

Today’s Quality is Tomorrow’s Safety

“Being able to trace our pipe materials from the mill through to the construction site has been a great improvement on our quality control,” says Derek S., Program Manager, Pipeline Construction & Implementation on the Coastal GasLink Project.

In 2020, the 4D database received pipe information for nearly 1000km of pipe. TC Energy is utilizing this tracing system across the NGTL 2021 Expansion Program as well as the Coastal GasLink project.

We are constantly investigating and investing in new and innovative ways to keep our assets safe. This system is a major step towards creating a true digital footprint of our network so that we can continue to meet ever growing energy demand in North America and keep the lights on in our communities.