Pipeline Services Available To Industries in South Africa
Pipelines are used in almost every industry to convey products, whether it be oil, gas, water, or chemicals and virtually all of them need work to be carried out on them during their lifecycle. Before it is first used and at regular intervals during the course of its years of operation, a pipeline will require a variety of services to ensure that it continues to operate safely and efficiently.
At the beginning of its life, it must be tested, cleaned, dried, and certified for its intended use. Depending on this use, a government-appointed regulator must licence the pipeline. During its operational life, it needs to be inspected at regular intervals to ensure that it is still fit for purpose and has not sustained mechanical damage from external sources or due to corrosion and to keep the operating licence valid. At the end of its designed service life, some operators decommission this asset and mothball or abandon the line. However, owing to the high cost of replacement, most extend the life of their pipelines.
The services required during the lifecycle of a pipeline vary enormously, depending on the duty of the line, but will include the following interventions:
- Retesting. Validates that the line still operates to its original design criteria
- Inspecting (intelligent pigging). The results will tell the owner or operator whether there has been internal or external corrosion or mechanical damage to the line, enabling them to determine if remedial action is required to ensure legal compliance.
- Pigging/cleaning: Many lines experience a buildup of deposits during the course of their life, which has a negative effect on the flow and could cause blockages if not removed frequently.
- Nitrogen purging/pigging: A technique used to decommission or recommission a line transporting hydrocarbon liquids or gases. The inert nitrogen ensures that hydrocarbon is removed and that the work to be carried can be done safely.
Many of these interventions can be carried out “on-line”, while it is still in service but it will eventually become necessary to shut down an active line to perform essential maintenance work, carry out a modification, or make a repair. When the line involved is used to transfer hydrocarbons such as natural gas, crude, or other petroleum-based products, these residual hydrocarbons must be removed before it is safe to begin the necessary work. he most effective way to do this is to remove the hydrocarbon by pigging the line with the inert gas nitrogen.
Just as it is necessary to perform certain preliminary checks before commissioning a new line, at the end of its planned use, or when it is to be abandoned, special pipeline services will also be required. These could include any or all of the processes previously described. This might entail cleaning, drying, testing for leaks, and performing any necessary refurbishment if it is intended to repurpose or resell the asset. On the other hand, if it is to be abandoned, it might entail filling the pipes with fly ash or cement to prevent any opportunistic reuse of a potentially flawed item.
Whatever pipeline services you may require, you can be sure that Oleum Process & Pipeline Services is well-qualified and equipped to deliver them.