The Art of Pigging

The purpose of this paper is to further the knowledge of pigging and review the various pig designs available to do it. We will discuss the reasons for pigging and the various types of pigs available to accomplish our pigging objectives. For many years on stream pigging was considered a necessary evil. After construction cleaning and testing, most companies would not pig on a regular basis. As the years passed and the capacities of the lines increased, the efficiency of the lines decreased. The decrease in efficiency relates to increased power costs, so the lines were pigged to increase the efficiency. As pipelines get older we see increased corrosion. This is caused by lack of operational pigging, whether it is because of water accumulation in the line causing MIC, paraffin accumulation on the walls, or other reasons. So we begin pigging the line to clean it or batch inhibitors, etc.

What is a pig?
A pig is defined as "A device that moves through the inside of a pipeline for the purpose of cleaning, dimensioning, or inspecting." This definition covers in excess of 500 different designs and types of pigs. In this paper we will discuss many of the various designs.

Why Pig a Pipeline?
There are various reasons to pig a pipe-line. After the pipeline is built, it will be necessary to run pigs to remove any debris left in the line from new construction; items such as lunch boxes, tools, welding rods, dead animals trapped in the line, etc. Pigging will also remove mill scale or welding icicles in the line. The owner may also require a pig to verify the ovality of the pipeline. This will require a gauging pig and sometimes a geometry pig. After the pipeline has been cleaned, the next phase is acceptance testing where pigs are used for filling the line with water for hydrostatic testing, de-watering (removing the water after testing), and drying. If it is a liquid line, a pig is used to fill the line with a product during the commissioning and start up of the line.

The coated pigs may have a spiral coating of polyurethane. The standard Polly-Pig length is twice the diameter. If the pig is of bare foam. light weight. Types of Pigs Pigs can be divided into three general categories. and food for microbes. and paraffin removal and control in crude oil pipelines. expandable. flat ends. A. Other applications include running a Geometry Pig to determine if there are any dents or buckles in the line. To determine the amount of corrosion or metal loss in the pipeline. Cleaning pigs are also used in conjunction with chemical treating of the lines to disturb the corrosion sites and remove water. Pipelines that handle multiple products such as various grades of gasoline. it will be necessary to pig the line to maintain line efficiency and aid in the control of corrosion. corrosion products. This presentation is intended to discuss conventional or utility pigs. Sealing pigs can be spheres. The Polly-Pig can be bare foam or coated with a 90-durometer polyurethane material. often use a pig or sphere to separate these products. medium density (5-8 lbs/ft3). or bullet noses on both ends. They are Polly-Pigs (foam). This is normally paraffin in crude oil pipelines. Conventional or utility pigs can be divided into two categories: Cleaning and Sealing pigs. the geometry pigs for inspection. Lines are sometimes abandoned and require cleaning before moth balling the line. remove accumulated water in product pipelines. better known as Polly-Pigs. Polly-pigs will travel through multiple diameter pipelines. Solid Cast. the solvents in the inhibitors evaporate. The foam is of various densities ranging from light density (2 lbs/ft3). and Spheres. Sealing pigs are used during hydrostatic testing of pipelines to fill the line with water and then de-water the line. Polly-Pigs (Foam) Foam pigs. solid cast polyurethane pigs. forming a gunk on the pipe walls which can be removed by cleaning pigs. are manufactured from open cell polyurethane foam.When the pipeline is in service. water from product pipelines or separating dissimilar products in a products pipeline. Although normally found in a bullet shape. Pigs are also used to batch inhibitors. to heavy density (9-10 lbs/ft3). heating oils. the conventional or utility pig for "on stream" or routine pigging. Some advantages of Polly-Pigs are that they are compressible. It is necessary to remove the liquids in wet gas systems. When inhibitors are used in a gas pipeline. are other applications. an ILI (In Line Inspection) tool is used. B. Pre-Inspection pigging before running an ILI (In Line Inspection) tool will not only require the pipe be clean but a dummy pig be run to assure the ILI tool will go through the line. . and the ILI (In Line Inspection) tools for metal loss and corrosion. These categories can be further broken down into four different types of pigs. They will make abrupt turns in tees so laterals can be cleaned. Mandrel. or mandrel type pigs with sealing cups or discs. various brush materials or silicon carbide coating. Under certain conditions pipelines may require chemical cleaning or a train of gel pigs may be used for certain cleaning conditions. They will also go through valves with as little as 65% opening. The running of pigs in dual diameter lines always poses a challenge. Pigs are often run to remove any water that has accumulated in the low spots of the pipeline and reduce corrosion. As time passes special cleaning applications may arise. it will have the base coated. Removing condensate and water in wet gas systems. go around mitered bends. Polly-pigs are also inexpensive. Cleaning pigs are used to remove accumulated solids and debris from the walls of the pipeline. Cleaning pigs are normally equipped with brushes or blades to do the cleaning. microbes. and short radius 90 บ bends. they can have concave ends. and jet fuels. and flexible.

Batching Pigs . For cleaning the line the pig is equipped with wire brushes or polyurethane blades. If the ports are on the body of the pig. These ports are used to control fluid bypass. the cost of redressing the pig is high. removal of thick soft deposits. Plugs are used to regulate the bypass. Mandrel (Steel Shaft) Pigs Mandrel pigs have a metal body (steel or aluminum) and are equipped with seals (scraper cups or discs) to provide the differential pressure to propel the pig in the pipeline. and Viton are available for higher temperature applications. They have wire brushes to scrape the walls of the pipe to remove the solids. Special brush designs such as the pit cleaning brush are also available. nitrile. etc.The disadvantages of Polly-Pigs are that they are a one time use product. condensate removal in wet gas pipelines and pigging multiple diameter lines. Smaller size mandrel pigs will not negotiate 1. Larger pigs have wear compensating brushes.. sealing pig or a combination of both. Some service requires a stainless steel brush.5D bends. it helps keep the debris in front of the pig stirred up and moving. Cleaning Pigs Cleaning pigs are designed to remove solids or accumulated debris in the pipeline. Neoprene. the force of the spring keeps it in contact with the pipe wall compensating for the brush wear. As the fluid passes through the ports on the nose of the pig. The sealing elements are either elastomer cups or discs. or coil springs. Prostran is the material of choice. cantilever springs. As the wire brushes wear. and larger pigs require special handling equipment to load and unload the pig. Polly-pigs are used for line proving (proving a pig will pass through the line). drying and wiping. One advantage of the mandrel pig is that it can be either a cleaning pig. and high concentrations of some acids will shorten life. Bypass holes in the nose of the pig control the speed or act as jet ports to keep debris suspended in front of the pig. Specialty cups are available for some applications. need to be removed. Polly-pigs coated with a wire brush or silicon carbide are used for scraping and mild abrasion of the pipeline. The seals and brushes can be replaced to make the pig reusable. The springs push the brushes against the pipe wall. They are used as a combination cleaning and sealing element to remove soft deposits. Cups are of standard or conical design. The blade design is interchangeable with the brushes. the flow will also flow through the brushes and keep them clean. Pigs 14" and smaller normally use rotary wire wheel brushes. Occasionally the wire brush bristles will break off and get into instrumentation and other unwanted places. These brushes can be individually replaced as needed and are mounted on either leaf springs. Cleaning pigs are designed for heavy scraping and can be equipped with wire brushes or polyurethane blades. mud. the urethane blade is an excel-lent choice. The cup and disc material is normally manufactured from a polyurethane material which gives outstanding abrasion and tear resistance but is limited in temperature range. When soft deposits of paraffin. These pigs are designed for long runs. This increases the efficiency and lowers the operating cost. shorter length of runs. EPDM. For pipe lines with internal coatings. There are many different brush materials available. There are also disadvantages to the mandrel pig. Bypass ports are installed in the nose of the pig or on the body. Special rotary brushes are used on some larger pigs. The standard brushes are made of fine or coarse carbon steel wire. These brushes are easy to replace and inexpensive.

one in the middle. Solid Cast Pigs Solid cast pigs are of various designs and are usually made of polyurethane.. A magnetic cleaning pig was developed to pick up ferrous debris left in the pipeline. the line can be dug up and the pig removed. They can be bidirectional or unidirectional in design. These pigs are unidirectional if they have scraper cups and bidirectional if equipped with discs. Some solid cast designs are available in sizes up to 36". line fills and de-watering. Dual Diameter Pigs There are many miles of dual diameter pipelines crossing the country side. Transmitters will normally mount into a mandrel. If it's a cleaning pig. Line evacuation and abandonment is another application for the displacement pig. The lines are normally two pipe sizes different. solid cast. Because of the cost to redress a mandrel pig. the brushes will support it in the line and keep the pig centered. Displacement Pigs Displacement pigs displace one fluid with another. etc. They are used in the testing and commissioning phase of the pipeline. i. and other rubber elastomers are available in smaller size pigs. Profile Pig A profile pig is a gauging pig with multiple gauging plates. The Polly-Pig is also widely used in this application.Batching pigs are used to separate dissimilar fluids such as various grades of gasoline. many companies use the solid cast pig up through 14" or 16". disc. Gauging Pigs Gauging pigs are used after constructing the pipeline to determine if there are any obstructions in the pipeline. The location of the stuck pig can be found by using a detector pig with a transmitter in its body. It is normally used before running an ILI (In Line Inspection) tool to assure the tool's passage around bends and through the pipeline. The outside diameter of the plate is 90-95% of the pipe's inside diameter. They are considered sealing pigs although some solid cast pigs are available with wrap around brushes and can be used for cleaning purposes. Specialty Pigs Many applications require special pigs. (material and labor). The mandrel pig is usually fitted with solid discs for the smaller line and slotted discs for the larger line. 4" x 6". Manufacturers in the pigging industry have made special pigs for many applications. hydrostatic testing..e. etc. The transmitter will emit a signal so it can be located with a receiver. After the pig is located. Viton. however.. Most of the pigs are of one piece construction but several manufacturers have all urethane pigs with replaceable sealing elements. and to transport them. The plate may be slotted or solid. It assures that the ovality of the line is within accepted tolerance. etc. One plate is mounted on the front. A pinwheel pig which uses steel pins with hardened tips was developed to remove wax and scale from a pipeline. in multiple product pipelines.e. or a combination cup / disc design. usually three plates. 8" x 10". neoprene. and one on the rear of the pig. The gauging plate may be mounted on the front or rear of the pig and is made of a mild steel or aluminum. . nitrile. heating oils. Transmitter Pigs Occasionally pigs will get stuck in a line. i. The solid cast pig is available in the cup. or Polly-Pig.

Spheres can also be manufactured from open cell polyurethane foam. In small sizes the sphere can be manufactured solid. The inflatable sphere is manufactured of various elastomers (polyurethane. They should never be run in lines that do not have special flow tees installed. Depending on the application and material. eliminating the need to inflate it. and absorbability of the crude. Spheres are commonly used to remove liquids from wet gas systems. the sphere is inflated 1%-2% over the pipe inside diameter. It has a hollow center with filling valves which are used to inflate the sphere with liquid. extending its life. Spheres should never be inflated with air. They can be coated with a polyurethane material to give better wear. solid. 2" 3" 4" 6" 8" Typical Pigging Pressure in psi Launching 100-200 100-150 75-125 50-100 30-80 Running 40-100 35-85 30-80 30-75 25-70 Liquid Flow gpm 3 fps 30 70 120 250 450 5 fps 50 100 200 450 800 Gaseous Flow scfm 5 fps 21 46 70 134 238 10 fps 98 172 273 498 749 . nitrile and Viton) depending on the application. They will go from smaller lateral lines to larger main lines and are easier to automate than other styles of pigs. Suggested Pipe & Pipeline Pigging Pressures & Flows Pipe I. it will not obstruct the flow. If the line has never been pigged. friction. water from product pipelines. batching dissimilar products. As the sphere wears from ser-vice. For cleaning purposes they can have wire brushes on the surface. irregular turns and bends.D. The advantages of the foam sphere are that they are light weight. or water and glycol and inflated to the desired size. & soluble. and controlling paraffin build-up in crude oil systems. The soluble sphere in usually used in crude oil pipelines and contains a micro crystalline wax and amorphous polyethylene which act as a paraffin inhibitor. economical. removing condensate and water from wet gas systems. the dissolving rate is a function of fluid temperature. meter prover service. Although the sphere will normally dissolve in a few hours. Spheres are filled with water. The solid sphere does not have the life of an inflatable sphere because it cannot be resized. neoprene. If it hangs up in the line. foam. Special design considerations for the pipeline should be considered when using spheres. Spheres in general are easy to handle. paraffin control in crude oil pipelines.Solid cast pigs are extremely effective in removing liquids from product pipelines. it is resized. and hydrostatic testing and dewatering after pipeline rehabilitation or new construction. There are four basic types of spheres. and do not need to be inflated. fluid movement. it is a good idea to run the soluble pig. inflatable. Spheres Spheres have been used for many years as a sealing pig. will negotiate short radius 90's.

000 12.000 1.850 8.000 10. fluid. The pipeline's efficiency depends on two things: first.800 2.897 2.373 3.718 4.732 3.029 27.000 42. If the pig has been run before.000 4.857 6.000 1.000 16.665 1. a pigging program can be established. Pre-Run Inspection The pig must be in good condition if it is to do the job it was selected to do.661 4.000 7.214 1. .000 317 458 518 540 683 843 1. it must operate continuously.400 1.000 27. materials in the pipe.250 1. These are not to be considered as absolute requirements. wax removal or control is important to maintain line efficiency.000 65.500 38.000 5.000 13. and second.223 1.000 22.406 2.178 15.901 2.324 12. it should be inspected to assure it will run again without stopping in the pipeline.000 11.147 7.542 3.402 Notes: Volumes and pressures are approximate and guidelines only.800 2. the required throughput must be obtained at the lowest operating cost. Pipelines are pigged for many reasons.927 957 1.588 10. In crude oil pipelines. or by monitoring the discoloration of the liquid that accumulates in the receiving trap.000 22.457 9.757 6. After determining the cause of the reduced pipeline efficiency and selecting the desired pig. Requirements will vary according to type of pipe.000 17.000 37.000 20.800 4. temperature and type of pig Suggested Pipe & Pipeline Pigging Procedures Pigging for Pipeline Efficiency The purpose of operational pigging is to obtain and maintain efficiency of the pipeline to be pigged. Liquid removal in wet gas pipelines and removal of debris in the pipe are also important.000 26.413 19.000 7. viscosity.000 2.500 3.10" 12" 14" 16" 18" 20" 24" 30" 36" 40" 42" 48" 54" 60" 72" 30-60 30-50 20-50 15-45 15-40 10-25 10-25 10-20 10-20 10-20 10-20 10-20 10-20 10-20 10-20 25-50 20-45 15-40 10-40 10-30 5-20 5-20 5-15 5-10 5-10 5-10 5-10 5-10 5-10 5-10 750 1. The effectiveness of the pigging program can be evaluated by how much debris is in the receiving trap.

and pig receivers are used to receive the pigs after they have made a successful run. Inspect the sealing surfaces to assure there are no cuts. Provisions in the station design should include handling equipment for pigs 20" and larger. All components of brush type mandrel pigs should be checked to be certain that they are tight and in good condition. The design of these pig traps will depend on the type of pig to be run and pipeline design conditions. using a regular tape. the brushes should be inspected for corrosion or breakage. to train pigging system operators. the operator should verify that the trap is isolated from the pipeline and depressurized before commencing any part of the launch procedure. Every precaution should be taken to prevent these brushes from breaking in the pipeline. Typical Pig Launching Procedures The operational sequence described below is for general information only. measure the circumference of the pig's sealing surface and divide the measurement by 3. It is not intended. The following pig launching procedures can be used as a guideline for developing operating procedures. Click here for other other technical information related to pipeline pigging. nor should it be used. The choice of these pig traps will depend on the type of pig to be run and pipeline design conditions. Operating procedures will vary from one pipeline company to another. punctures or other damage which will affect the pig's ability to run in the pipeline. . The unrestrained diameter of brush pigs should also be measured to assure that the brushes will maintain contact with the pipe wall during the complete run. and other pipeline equipment. Caution should be taken for liquid spillage from the pig traps. Pig Launching & Receiving Pig launchers are used to launch the pig into the pipeline. Caution should be taken for liquid spillage from the pig traps. These designs are not covered here. tears. When using brush type mandrel cleaning pigs. This diameter must be larger than the inside pipe diameter to maintain a good seal. Pig Launching & Receiving Procedures Pig launchers are used to launch the pig into the pipeline.Measure the outside diameter of the pig's sealing surface with a special diameter tape or. Since company policies vary regarding whether the pig launcher is left on stream or isolated from the pipeline after the pig is launched. and pig receivers are used to receive the pigs after they have made a successful run. Click here for more information on pig launching and receiving procedures.1416. instrumentation. Loose bristles can damage valves. Provisions in the station design should include handling equipment for pigs 20" and larger.

4. It is not intended. 7. 10. After the pig leaves the trap and enters the main line. Slowly fill the trap by gradually opening the kicker valve and venting through the vent valve. open the trap (closure) door. Since company policies vary regarding whether the pig receiver is left on stream or isolated from the pipeline. When filling is complete. to train pigging system operators. . Clean the closure seal and other sealing surfaces. the operator should verify whether there is any internal pressure in the receiving trap before starting any part of the receiving procedures. Continue to close the main line valve until the pig leaves the trap into the main line as indicated by the pig signaler. Close the drain valve. 6. Make sure that the isolation valve and the kicker valve are closed. 5. Typical Pig Receiving Procedures The operational sequence described below is for general information only. 9. with the vent and drain valves still open. In liquid systems. fully open the main line valve. lubricate if necessary. Partially close the main line valve. When the pig launcher is completely drained (0 psi). This will increase the flow through the kicker valve and behind the pig. Open the isolation valve. The following pig receiving procedures can be used as a guideline for developing operating procedures. open the drain valve and allow air to displace the liquid by opening the vent 3.1. close the vent valve to allow pressure to equalize across the isolation valve. Operating procedures will vary from one pipeline company to another. Install the pig with the nose firmly in contact with the reducer between the barrel and the nominal bore section of the launcher. Close the isolation valve and the kicker valve. In natural gas systems. The pig launching is complete. 8. and close and secure the closure door. open the vent and vent the launcher to atmospheric pressure. valve. 2. nor should it be used. 11. The pig is ready for launching.

Fully open the bypass valve. Open the drain valve and the vent valve. 9. Return the receiver to the original condition. Monitor the pig signaler for pig arrival. 4. Standard Pig Launcher / Receiver • • • All launchers are primed. lubricate if necessary. 2. 7. Valves on launchers & receivers must be round. 6. Fully open the isolation valve and partially close the main line valve. Open the trap closure and remove the pig from the receiver. and close and secure the trap (closure) door.1. Make sure the receiver is pressurized. 10. 5. Clean the closure seal and other sealing surfaces. Close the isolation valve and bypass valve. Check the pressure gauge on the receiver to assure the trap is depressurized (0 psi). 3. 8. . All launchers are hydrostatically tested.

• Full port with a 100% pipe size opening. Launching & Receiving Configurations Conventional Pig Launching Launching Pig in Water Main Section .

.Trapping Pig with Slotted Tray Conventional Pig Trapping Send or Receive Pigs with a Quality Argus Pig Valve.

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