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Pipeline Pigging Technology

Pipeline Pigging Technology

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Published by: api-3869181 on Dec 01, 2009
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The main alternative to a wye junction is to connect the second pipeline
via a riser. Fig.8 compares the field configurations resulting from wye and riser
tie-ins. Several advantages and a few disadvantages arise from having the wye
as opposed to the riser as discussed below. First the advantages:

Safety: as can be seen from Fig.8, the wye junction eliminates the need
for an additional import riser on the platform, and is thus a safer
solution from the viewpoint of the platform, particularly for gas
Field layout The wye junction can be sited away from the platform
avoiding seabed congestion around the platform. This leaves the
field free to be developed using satellite wells and flowlines, for
example, without being crowded by incoming pipelines from other
fields. It also allows the field layout to be planned with greater
certainty, keeping pipelines and flowlines in corridors with safe
anchoring areas between, avoiding spoolpieces under boat-loading
areas, etc.
Cost. The wye will normally show cost advantages over a riser, particu-
larly if the riser has to be retro-fitted, or a cantilever extension has
to be added for the pig receiver. If, however, the wye has to be retro-


Fig.8. Comparison of riser and wye tie-ins.


Recent advances In piggable Y design

Pipeline Pigging Technology

fitted in an existing pipeline, then the costs could go either way,
depending amongst other things on the pipeline lengths, the dura-
tion of the required shut down, and any penalty associated with
making the new line the same size as the existing.
Tie-in: Tying-in at a wye can be done without shutting down the
existing system. This has recently been demonstrated by the Gyda
tie-in. In comparison, construction work on a platform to tie-in an
entrant is likely to be more disruptive.
End of field life: If import risers are used and the original field is
depleted before the end of the pipeline life, it would need to be
maintained as a riser platform, or a subsea junction inserted. Using
a wye junction allows the original platform to be isolated and
decommissioned without affecting the rest of the pipeline users.
Emergency shut down: If import risers are used and there is an
emergency shutdown on the platform, the upstream fields will also
have to be shut down, whereas a wye junction would keep them
operating independently.
Shorter line: A wye junction can be placed to give the entrant the
shortest pipeline route. This is particularly so for a retro-fitted wye.

Wye junctions also have some drawbacks, and are by no means always the
best solution for tying-in an entrant. The main drawbacks are as follows:

Same size line: The wye junction's main use is to connect entrants of
the same size as the original pipeline. Whilst it is possible to connect
other sizes, these would not be piggable. There is typically a cost and
technical balance for an entrant between having, say, a smaller non-
piggable line to a tee, a larger piggable line to wye, or a longer
piggable line to a riser.
Subsea valves and protection covers: It would be feasible to have a wye
without valves. However, they are normally an operational require-
ment. For example, to tie-in an entrant without affecting the rest of
the system would normally need two valves on the branch of the
wye to give double-block-and-bleed isolation. For this reason, most
wyes to date have two isolation valves on each branch. If subsea
valves are used, it is necessary to have a protection cover.
Reverse pigging: Whilst not normally required in operation, it is
sometimes desirable to be able to pig in reverse during commission-
ing, for example in dewatering a line from the shore to the platform.
This would cause technical problems at a wye junction which is only
piggable in the convergent directions, and would require some form
of deflector plate for reverse pigging.


Fig.9. Retrievable subsea pig trap.


Recent advances inpiggable Y design

Pipeline Pigging Technology

Flow limitations: To ensure the passage of pigs through the wye, there
has to be adequate flow in the main line and no reverse flow in the
branch. For a pipeline system which needs periodically to be coated
by a slug of corrosion inhibitor held between two batching pigs,
there may be limitations on the flow conditions at the wye to avoid
loss of inhibitor up the second branch.

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