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Pigging School

H. Rosen Engineering GmbH
pipeline inspection

Pigging School

Date 16 July, 1999 H. Rosen Engineering GmbH
Revision Number 1 pipeline inspection
Document Name PiggingSchool.doc

page 3

1 | Introduction 4
2 | Why Pig Pipelines? 8
3 | Planning 14
4 | Design Aspects for Piggable Pipelines 16
5 | Pipeline Construction Aspects for Pigging 30
6 | Considerations for Purchasing of Pigs 32
7 | Special Pigging Jobs 39
8 | Field Pigging Operations 47
9 | Pipeline Inspection 49
10 | Pigging Dictionary 67

Date 16 July, 1999 H. Rosen Engineering GmbH
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1 | Introduction
The purpose of this pipeline pigging school is to enhance the knowledge of the
participants in all aspects of pigging so that they can be in control of safe and efficient
pigging operations.

Pigging operations are safe when they can be executed without the risk of harming
equipment, personnel and environment.

1.1 Figure 1: Oilfire in the russien taiga

Pigging operations are efficient when the purpose of pigging is achieved in shortest
time at the lowest cost.

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1.2 Figure 2: Pigging without disturbing the environment

This can only be achieved when all aspects of pigging are handled correctly but the
difficulty is that these aspects are not under the control of one man in oil producing

Oil producing companies are organized in disciplines such as planning, engineering,
project management, purchasing of equipment/services, commissioning, maintenance
and operations.
If the design for pigging the pipeline is not entirely handled correctly and normal
pigging practice would be applied, it would be more difficult to achieve success.

1.3 Figure 3: "Bath Tube Graph" showing life time of pipeline

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This school intends to train participants for handling their own discipline and
understanding the total picture of pigging so that they can:
plan and engineer/design a pigging system for safe and efficient use,
manage a pipeline project with pigging facilities,
purchase pigging equipment/services economically,
commission pipelines in a way, that no construction debris will interfere with the
operation of the pipeline or reduce its lifetime,
maintain pipelines efficiently at low cost using pigging methods,
operate the pipeline when pigging is required to prevent reduction of flow area.

Due to this, the design engineer understands what the pigging requirements are, the
purchaser can select products and services on technical grounds too, the operator
can assess the design facilities before starting on pigging, etc.

Todays industry is still back tracking as existing pipelines were not built in
accordance with pigging design requirements and even though there is a better
knowledge about pigging under pipeline design contractors and oil companies, there
is no common standard. This leads to misinterpretations of the pigging requirements
and result into unnecessary pigging difficulties in the field.
Objectives of this school are, that participants can :

Assess existing pipelines designs for pigging requirements.
Take corrective action for efficient pigging, even though the design of the pipeline
is not optimal for pigging.
Design new pipelines in accordance with pigging requirements for efficient
Install new pipelines facilitating pigging requirements.
Optimize pigging operations during construction and commissioning of pipelines.
Optimize pigging operations for pipeline maintenance and operations activities.
Manage pigging campaigns for existing pipelines that have not been pigged
before or for special pigging jobs.

1.4 Figure 4: No guesses, facts are the result from pigging

This is possible if all people involved understand the whole process of pigging.

Facts no

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Pigging can be a trouble free operation, provided that a proper written engineering
plan is made before pigging. In this way, trouble free pigging can also be achieved for
pipelines that have not been pigged before.
Trouble free pigging means that the purpose of pigging can be achieved without or
with the least possible interference with the normal operation of the pipeline.

Achieving the purpose of pigging is still very difficult to define:
The purpose of pigging is to keep the line clean so that corrosion is minimized.
There are no scientific rules to proof the effectiveness of such an activity.
The purpose of pigging is to remove condensate from a gas line.
We may be able to measure how much debris a pig pushes out of the pipeline. But
how much is left in the pipeline is unknown.

1.5 F
igure 5:Only a few meters of pipeline is visible and can be inspected from the

Most of the pigging technology is based on common sense rather than on any
scientifically developed program.

Design considerations, maintenance practices and operational consequences are
mentioned in this booklet for its relation to pigging only. They shall always be checked
against existing standards and regulations of clients and local authorities.

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2 | Why Pig Pipelines?
There is only one reason for pigging:

To get a better performance of the pipeline in a way that can not be achieved in
any other way than by pigging!

If pigging does not fulfill this requirement, pigging should not be applied.

A better performance for pipelines means :
Lower installation cost.
Lower energy requirement for moving the product.
Lower maintenance cost.
More efficient separation of product batches.
Longer pipeline lifetime.

2.1 Figure 6: Pipelines require preventive maintenance to combat
wear, tear and degradation

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The pipeline is an asset and the performance efficiency is measured by ;

a combination of cost for initial investment and cost over the years for
maintenance and operations, versus
financial proceeds for operating the pipeline and
cash flow characteristics.

Saving on investment cost results quite often into much higher cost in maintaining and
operating the pipeline. This trade off should be analyzed before jumping into
investment cost savings.

If the investment cost are one hundred million US Dollars, saving 5 percent sums up
to five million.
However, if the yearly cost are ten million US Dollars for 30 years, saving five percent
on maintenance and operations adds up to 15 million US Dollars.
Saving on investment cost however, may be considered for cash flow restriction
requirements. It would be a direct choice and the consequences should be accepted.

The following are the various stages, in which pigging could be considered:

Removal of construction debris.
Test water filling and removal. (If this is the only reason
for pigging, temporary pigging facilities may be considered)
Drying of the pipeline before commissioning.

Introduction of pipeline product leading up to process conditions.

Pipeline cleaning (removal of aggressive debris from production so that corrosion
is minimized).
Pipeline inspection.

Pipeline cleaning (removal of obstructive production debris for maintaining
designed flow area; wax, paraffins, asphaltenes, liquid built-up in gaslines, etc.).
Batching of different products.

Product evacuation and re-introduction.

Product evacuation.

When it is decided that pigging is required, the pipeline shall be designed for carrying
out pigging without interfering with the normal operating activities.

The above points are elaborated on as follows:

Removal of construction debris

This is required to prevent contamination of the final product to be carried by the
pipeline with unwanted materials or substances.

Soil like materials in jet fuel transmission lines.
Millscale in gas lines feeding power generation facilities.
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Sand in waxy oil lines.

Test water filling

Using pigs for test water filling is always a requirement to prevent air pocket formation
in high points of the pipelines. Besides being dangerous having air in the pipeline
during hydrostatic testing, air pockets may cause three kinds of other problems:
a. The temperature variation during night would offset the normal pressure
variation causing inconclusive pressure readings.
b. If the pipeline has a leak, the pressure reduction over time-rate can not be
used for determining the leak size.
c. If the air pockets accumulate in the peak of high range mountains, the pumps
would not be able to pressurize the pipeline for hydrostatic testing. The
pressure in the highest peak would be the same in the following lower peaks
and the required hydrostatic test pressure will not be reached at the end of
the pipeline.

Test water removal

Removal of test water is usually required as it is not desirable to have water in the
pipeline product, unless the pipeline product is water.

Particularly, water is absolutely not desirable if the pipeline product is gas with
corrosive agents. The corrosive agents would form a reaction with the oxygen in the
water and prematurely corrode the pipeline wall.

Although, pipeline drying is not the prime subject here, it is stated here that it is not a
good approach to use only so called swabbing pigs for attempting to dry pipelines
before final drying processes (vacuum drying or industrial alcohol drying).
The capacity of a swabbing pig is very small. It is limited to a couple of liters, being
the sponge capacity of the foam volume of the pig. The amount of moisture in the air
that is compressed to drive the pig through the pipeline may even outweigh the
quantity of water in the foam pig. More water is coming into the pipeline for driving the
pig than that is coming out in the foam pig.
After a normal pig run with sealing type pigs, the pipeline wall is still wet. The mill
scale holds water and the weld penetration breaks the seal of the discs/cups
temporarily and allows water to flow back behind the pig.

The initial attempt to dry the pipeline using pigs should include running a pig train at
steady speed of a minimum of 1 meter per second with at least five high capacity
sealing pigs. Three pigs should be launched as good as together with almost no
space in between. The pigs number four and five shall follow each at intervals of
about 10 percent of the pipeline length. Pressure expansion may be used to drive
home the last two pigs to save compressed air and to prevent additional moisture
coming into the pipeline.
The pig train run may be repeated once again, if felt necessary.
This method achieves a maximum push out of water with a minimum amount of
moisture input. Pig trains are usually more efficient than the sum of individual pig
Swabbing pigs shall be used at short intervals (maximum 10 percent of the pipeline
length spacing). This requires a launching facility that can launch consecutive pigs
without interrupting the flow. The positive effect of pushing water forward will
otherwise be spoiled by stopping the flow.

Introduction of pipeline product leading up to process conditions

Mainly sealing pigs are used for this purpose to ensure that only the designated
product is in the pipeline when the process is started.
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A high wear rate on the pig discs/cups shall be expected as the pipeline is new and
the wall will be abrasive due to the presence of mill scale. For longer pipelines (above
80kms long), it may be required to provide supportive components (e.g. brushes) on
the pig to prevent premature excessive wear on the discs/cups. Pigs subject to
excessive wear on discs will loose its sealing ability, allowing fluid to bypass and air
staying behind it.
Some processes or pipeline products are very sensitive for mixing with air or water.
Particularly fluids such as propylene, ethylene, etc.
Ethylene requires particular attention as it is a gas under atmospheric condition and it
goes into supercritical condition above 80 bars pressure when it is a liquid gas. The
density is about 300 kg/per cubic meter, which is nor gas (100 kg/per cubic meter) nor
liquid (850 - 1000 kg/per cubic meter).

2.2 Figure 2: Dust in an ethylene pipeline

Nothing can be done, if a pig is run in ethylene and it will get stuck. It is not possible to
weld on the pipeline. Pressure variations can cause operational problems and it is
better to empty the pipeline before pigging and pig with nitrogen. Even then there is
the present of dust or ethylene grains, that may accumulate in front of the pig and
cause the pig to stop.

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Pipeline cleaning (Maintenance)

There are two reasons for pipeline cleaning in a maintenance program:

2.2.1 Removal of aggressive debris from production so that corrosion is minimized.
Examples are; water in sour -crude oil, -product or -gas pipelines, etc. Quite often, the
effect of corrosion activities is only discovered after inspecting the pipeline by
intelligent pig.

The best pig for the job can be tried out and established by keeping good records on
efficiency and pig wear as these maintenance type cleaning pigging operations are
usually carried out at frequent intervals.

In cases of neutralizing the aggressive corrosion agents, frequent cleaning and
scraping is required for proper preparation of the pipewall for treatment with chemicals
for neutralizing the aggressiveness of corrosion agents. Money spent on chemicals is
only efficient, if the chemicals are applied to the clean wall of the pipeline.
The chemicals are either injected into the pipeline by dosing pumps or they are
applied by pumping a batch, dissolved in a solution of liquid of the same specific
gravity as the chemical, in between two pigs.

2.2.2 Removal of accumulated debris over a longer period of time after prior inspection
cleaning. This may be an irregular pigging operation requiring special attention. The
removal of the accumulated debris may interrupt the normal operation of the pipeline.

This type of job is usually new or strange to the operating team of the pipeline. If
organized by maintenance department, detailed plans for carrying out such a pigging
campaign shall be written including possible consequences for the operation of the
pipeline. The total plan shall be reviewed by all company departments involved prior to
In certain instances, the plan should further consist of back up procedures for the
contingencies response plan.

These instances may be :

The line has not been pigged since commissioning (e.g. 28 years ago) and there
are worries about the piggability.
A lot of debris is expected to have accumulated in the pipeline and there is
concern about blocking the pipeline.

2.3 Figure 3: Wax removal

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The back up plan may include hot tap and by pass equipment or standby of
sufficient nitrogen capacity for expelling the gas from the line section.
Pipeline inspection

Pipeline inspection is required for keeping the finger on the pulse for the integrity of
the pipeline. The subject is further elaborated on in section 9, Pipeline Inspection.

Pipeline cleaning (Operation)

Removal of obstructive production debris for maintaining the designed flow area free
from sand, waxes, paraffins, asphaltenes, liquid built-up in gaslines, etc.
These pigging operations are usually carried out at regular intervals.
The best pig for the job can be tried out and established by keeping good records on
efficiency and pig wear.
During the design stage, attention shall be paid to the downstream equipment for
handling the extra ordinary process condition created by running a pipeline pig.

Batching of different products

Batching of different products in pipelines is a common practice for pipelines carrying
refined products. The interface of different products is reduced, economizing on the
transport efficiency.
The pigs used for this purpose must have a good sealing ability.

In many cases, however the practicality of using pigs is diminished by ill functioning
pigging installations; pig-sigs that do not work, quick opening doors that do not open
quickly, logic control systems that malfunction, etc.

Batching is also used for sending batches of chemicals in solution as described in
Pipeline cleaning (Maintenance).
For special jobs batching can also be used to run an Ultrasonic Type Inspection Pig in
a batch of liquid of a gas pipeline. More elaborate information is in Section 7, Special
Pigging Jobs.

Product evacuation and re-introduction (Pipeline Repair)

Pipeline pigs may be used to economize pipeline repair activities.
Pigging in opposite direction may be required for this activity.
Product can be evacuated from the pipeline or a part of the pipeline can be freed of
hydrocarbons. High friction pigs can be used to batch a slug of water to the area of
pipeline repair and hold the hydrocarbons away. More elaborate information is in
Section 7, Special Pigging Jobs.

Product evacuation (De-commissioning)

At the end the lifetime of a pipeline local authorities might demand that the pipeline is
not just abandoned but the pipeline is cleaned, the product is evacuated and the line
is filled with a product (water) harmless to the environment.
Pigging in opposite direction may be required for this activity.

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3 | Planning
Consideration should be given to the pipeline loading growth for planning of pipelines.

Certain pipelines are designed for transmitting full load from the very beginning. Other
pipelines are designed in anticipation of increasing throughput loading. They reach
the ultimate design throughput later in their lifetime. The effect of initial low flow shall
be given attention.

Example :

The pipeline will be carrying crude oil from an offshore field to an onshore terminal
and the field is presently producing only 15 percent of its anticipated design
throughput that will be reached in 5 years time.
The produced crude oil contains traces of water with H2S or other aggressive
components that require regular removal from the pipeline. The pipeline requires
pigging for maintenance purposes.

The planner shall consider building two pipelines. One for the initial 3 years and a
later one to share the ultimate field production capacity with the firstly installed
pipeline. The added advantage in addition to the low initial investment cost is, that we
end up with two lines, giving ultimate flexibility.

Building a full scale pipeline for the ultimate flow requirements may result into
operating the pipeline in the initial 3 years below minimum flow conditions. The initial
flow will be too slow to perform efficient pigging to remove the aggressive components
that settle down at the bottom of the pipeline creating irreversible internal corrosion at
the bottom half of the pipeline.

Pipelines, especially those operating at low laminar flow conditions, are known to be
very good gravity separators. The aggressive components will settle down at the
bottom of the pipeline, especially at such low flow rates.
The minimum flow for effective pigging of liquid lines is normally 0.2 meters per

The final result may be that the pipelines lifetime has been shortened by 15 years in
the initial 3 years of operation.

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This is an example where the planner should be aware of the effect of different
loadings on pipelines that require pigging for maintenance purposes.

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4 | Design Aspects for Piggable Pipelines
The design of piggable pipelines must aim at trouble-free and efficient pigging for all
the aspects of cleaning, commissioning, maintaining, inspecting, operating, and de-
commissioning activities.

Trouble free means that the pig can pass the pipeline all the way from the beginning
to the end without any obstructions that might stop, slowdown or make the pig
accelerate dramatically.

Efficient means that the purpose of pigging is achieved in the most economical way.

If the pipeline is existing and a pigging program is to be planned, the following design
notes shall be checked against the as-built situation.
Any differences between the design documents and the as-built situation shall be
highlighted and assessed before starting pigging.
An engineering report shall be made to address the differences so that precautions
can be made in terms of selecting the type of pigs or whether pipeline modifications
are required. By carefully preparing this, pigging can be trouble free.

For new pipelines, the following notes shall be included in the basic design package
to be submitted to engineering contractors prior to awarding the contract for
engineering the pipeline. The engineering contractor shall advise whether these notes
contradict with any of the other standard documents issued by the client.

It is recommended to assign one individual mechanical engineer to the project with
the responsibility to safeguard the piggability of the pipeline throughout the entire
engineering, procurement and construction process of the pipeline, starting with the
feasibility phase of the project. The engineering contractor shall be requested to
appoint a pigging engineer too.
Many existing pipelines have irritating pigging problems due to minor design
deviations from the original concept.

There are many examples of this :
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The pipeline is built under a turn key type contract and the barrel diameter of the
pig-trap is not specified in the project brief. In order to save cost, the oversized
pig-trap barrel is insufficient. It is a struggle to get the pigs in and out from the
traps every time the line has to be pigged.

The 6 inch size pigtrap has a forged type reducer size 6 by 10 inch with an
extreme small internal diameter. It requires hazardous high differential pressures
to get the pig passed this reducer. Small diameter reducers shall be rolled rather
than forged.

4.1 Figure 1: Rolled Reducer

The internal diameter was not specified for pipeline fittings in a 1500lbs rating, 6
inch pigtrap. Pigging turned out to be impossible due to extreme internal diameter

Reduced bore ball valves were chosen for a low pressure gas pipeline as pipeline
separation valves. As a result the inspection pig accelerated to high speed,
making it difficult to assess the inspection data in the pipeline section downstream
of each of the valves.

The outlet of a pigtrap was so small, that the cup of a normal cup type pig blocked
it completely.

The impact on cost is very minor if a pigging engineer is assigned to the project, but it
would prevent these types of mistakes.

The following notes are to be followed for designing piggable pipelines:

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4.1.1 Design the pipeline for bi-directional pigging for maximum flexibility at very low cost.

4.1.2 A pipeline system consists of two parts; the pipeline itself and the pigtraps. The
pipeline design has to guarantee an effective running of the pigs, while the pigtrap
design shall be aimed at safe and efficient handling of the pigs for launching and

4.1.3 The pipeline shall have a constant internal diameter over its full length. This means,
that changes in wall thickness should affect the outside diameter and not the internal
diameter. An area of concern is road crossings and off-shore platform riser piping.

4.1.4 For pipeline inspection purposes using intelligent pigs, the pipeline should be
markered with pipe pups with a length of 2 meters, spaced every one or two
kilometers. These pups should be installed at the location of the above ground
kilometer markers for future reference.
4.1.5 Also, the chosen internal diameter shall be specified for all fittings such as elbows,
tees, valves, flanges, etc. of the pipeline and the pig trap piping. Supplier's quotations
shall be checked against the specified internal diameter. Also, the factory inspection
for fittings shall include this checking procedure.
Elbows in pipelines shall have a minimum radius of 10 times the diameter for pipelines
of 4 inch size, 5 times the diameter for pipeline sizes up to 14 inch and 3 times the
diameter for 16 inch and above.

4.1.6 Tees with a side outlet bigger than 50 % of the pipeline size shall have guiding bars or
preferably, shall be sphere type tees (see sketch).

4.2 Figure 2: Sphere type tees

4.2.1 Valves shall be full bore and shall be checked for piggability before purchasing.

4.2.2 Pig passage indicators (pig sigs, pig alerts, pig flags, etc.) shall be specified and
marked for the wall thickness of the specific pipeline section in which they are to be
mounted. Otherwise they may penetrate too far into the pipeline and obstruct the
passing pigs. It is best if bi-directional pig passage indicators are specified. This will
prevent any mishap in case of a pig reversing, intentionally or unintentionally,

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4.2.3 Check valves or non-return valves shall not be used in piggable pipeline sections. In
case of booster pump station arrangements without pigtraps, this arrangement is
Sizing of the check valve arrangement can be based on maximum velocity so that the
diameter is usually two sizes smaller than the diameter of the pipeline (designed on
pressure drop).

4.2.4 The piping layouts shall avoid swanneck arrangements (back to back elbows). The
minimum distance between two fittings shall be at least three times the pipeline

4.3 Figure 3: Fitting Arrangement

One specific requirement with reference to the layout of pipelines is mentioned here.
Reference is made to the example in Section 3, Planning, about a pipeline with low
flow and aggressive components; in these cases steep inclines shall be avoided, if
possible. Following the contours of the landscape can of course not be avoided but
pipeline crossings should be installed with a maximum 5 degrees uphill incline. This is
an experience figure. Steeper incline will cause internal corrosion of the bottom of the
pipe upstream of the pipeline crossing due to debris accumulation.

Pushing pigs through small diameter pipelines (< 16 inch) requires a much higher
differential pressure across the pig than in pipelines of a larger diameter. The required
force for pushing the pig forward is determined by the friction between the pipewall
and the cups/discs.
In small diameter pipelines, the ratio cross section/circumference is low.

| Pipe dia. | Cross section | Circumference| Ratio | Delta p
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| (inches) |(square inches) | (inches) | | up to (PSI)
| 4 | 12.56 | 12.56 | 1 | 175
| 6 | 28.26 | 18.84 | 1.5 | 125
| 8 | 50.24 | 25.12 | 2 | 75
| 16 | 200.94 | 50.24 | 4 | 15
| 32 | 803.84 | 100.48 | 8 | 3

An additional reason for higher differential pressure requirement in small pipelines is
the stiffness of small diameter pig discs/cups.

In addition to the high differential pressure requirement for running pigs, there is also
a relation between the starting pressure requirement in small pipelines. If a 4 inch
diameter pig happens to stop with the cup against severe weld penetration, it might
take more than 800 PSI differential pressure to overcome the resistance before it

Pigging is most effective if a relative constant speed can be maintained and it is clear
that this is quite difficult pipelines of a smaller diameter.

In view of the above, special care shall be taken for designing the internal geometry of
the pipeline. Avoid internal diameter changes especially between fittings and pipe.
Especially for very high pressure systems (above 900 lbs rating), the internal diameter
for fittings must be specified. The factory inspector can then check it before assuming

Designing small diameter piggable piping systems requires more than usual attention
from designers and engineers. The design cost to make a small diameter pipeline
piggable is higher than with a large diameter pipeline.

The basic design philosophy for pigtrap arrangements is recommended to be in
accordance with this piping and instrument diagram.

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Notes on the diagram:

The design of the pig trap and piping, up to and including the main line valve and the
bypass valve, shall be considered as piping in accordance with the applicable cross-
country pipeline code. The pig trap shall not be considered a pressure vessel.
Two pressure indicators, one located near the door and one in the pipeline section. By
this, the pipeline pressure can be monitored during pigging and the pressure in the
trap is measured at all times.
A pressure equalizer line is installed over the reducer. This line is a safety feature to
prevent accidents resulting from trapped pressure during opening of the trap. The line
also prevents shifting of the pig in an uncontrolled manner and hitting the valve during
pressurizing of the trap.
The kicker or bypass valve size shall be two sizes smaller than the pipeline diameter
with a maximum of 16 inch. The type of valve recommended to be used is a soft
seated ball valve. The kicker/bypass valves of 8 inch and larger shall have a smaller
size bypass valve for pressurizing the trap. The small size valve shall be designed for
throttling service.
Two drain connections avoid unnecessary spills to open air as the trap is drained on
both sides of the pig.
The piping arrangement of the traps is recommended to be basically in accordance
with this sketch.

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Notes on the sketch:

The internal diameter of the neck of the trap shall be the same as the chosen internal
diameter of the pipeline.
The length of the neck shall be 3 meters for all sizes, making the trap bi-directional.
Any type of pig can be received without the risk of having the tale end stuck in the trap
The reducer shall be eccentric (bottom flat installed) and preferably be manufactured
from plate. Forged reducers, in particular sizes up to 8 inch, often have reduced
internal diameters which make them not suitable for pigging.
The barrel shall be oversized by: 2 inches for pipelines up to 10 inch,
4 inches for pipelines up to 30 inch and
6 inches for pipelines over 36 inch size.
The length of the barrel shall be 4 meters.
The dead end connections shall be self draining and as short as practical to prevent
stagnant flow. The practical length between the centerline of the pipeline side
connection and the main line valve is recommended to be 2 times the pipeline
diameter. This will prevent operational problems in case the valve is accidentally kept
closed during pig receiving.
Two pig passage indicators are recommended. One at the reducer in the neck and the
other 5 diameters away from the mainline valve.
The bypass/kicker line connection should be located midway between the reducer and
the door. A flanged connection is recommended between the trap and the
bypass/kicker valve.
It is recommended to standardize the pigtrap layout, so that the risk of mis-operating
the valves is kept to a minimum.
Platforms shall be installed, if necessary, to operate the valves safely.
The trap area shall be hard covered with a concrete slab and protected by railing
against traffic.

H2S service

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The pigging trap unit shall have double block and bleed valve arrangements for the
trap valve and the kicker/bypass valve. If the kicker/bypass valve arrangement has a
second valve for throttling, this valve may be used as double block and bleed.
The bleed valve shall be double block too and shall be opened only for testing the
seals on the main valves. They should normally be closed.

The trap should have permanent connections for purging before opening of the trap.

The trap arrangement operations shall only be carried out when all the safety
requirements for H2S installations are in place.

Quick opening doors

Quick opening doors have actually three features that require attention during
technical evaluation :

The sealing reliability
The easiness of operation
Standard size spares

The sealing reliability is of course very important and attention should be paid to the
sealing arrangement; the seal shall be a large diameter o-ring that should not be
squeezed for sealing. But it should seal in a chamber that is irrespective of the
alignment of the door. This is especially relevant for the larger sizes. The hinge
arrangement may be of influence to the alignment of the door seal.

The technical evaluation for choosing the door type should concentrate on this
feature. Any seal arrangement, that is depending on alignment will sooner or later be
mis-aligned. It is better to justify some more money during the purchasing proceedings
than to be stuck with a troubling door ever afterwards.

4.4 Figure 4: Pig Trap Doors

The easiness of operation (not necessarily the quickness of operation) is important for
the pigging crew. The easiness of operation is determined by the number of people
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required to open the door, or whether special tools are required (if the tool is lost or
broken, the door can not be opened or worst closed).

The spares should be easily available and easily installed.

Standard size and shape o - rings,
Standard size threading in the door for the pressure warning valve,
Standard type pressure warning valve,
Large size threading on the plug of the pressure warning valve so that it is not
spoiled easily after a few times of use.

The screw type door requires quite some force to break the seal. If the door is not
used for a long time, the force is tremendous and the lugs on the door can give way
sometimes due to the high forces. Similarly, the key to operate the door can get easily
spoiled, if high forces are applied for breaking the seal after long time of operation.
Similarly, the frequent use wears out these keys fairly quickly. If they are used forty
times, they will be worn out.

4.5 Figure 5: Clamp Door

Some clamp type doors have safety catches so that they can not slam open all the
way when perhaps little pressure has built up during the process of opening the door.
This may be caused by a slightly leaking valve.
The safety catch will allow the door to open little only to relieve the pressure.

The clamp type doors should not have an arrangement, that requires the clamps to
pressure on to the seal. The seal shall be made by the o - ring in the chamber and the
clamps should just be holding the collars of the door and the trap together without
pressurizing the sealing o - ring.

Some designers like the non-venting type pressure warning valves for H2S service. It
is a general experience that the non-venting type safety pressure warning valves are
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not really reliable at low pressures. The arrangement is usually, that over pressure in
the trap prevents opening the door. How little over pressure is over pressure? If any of
the valves to the trap are leaking, they will be leaking. And if the leaking rate is low,
we may be able to open the door before the non-venting pressure warning valve kicks
into action.
The situation would be more dangerous if the impression is given, that there is no leak
while, actually there is one.
With the venting type pressure valves arrangement, the procedure is to sniff the outlet
of the valve after purging for H2S content in the gas. If there is no presence of H2S,
there is no leak. According to safety practices, continuous readings shall be made
during the time the trap is open.

These are the most important tips for reviewing different designs for doors.

Pig Passage Indicators

Pig passage indicators (PPI), pig sigs, pig alerts, etc. are relatively inexpensive. They
tend to be ignored or their importance is underestimated during the technical review.
But they are very important for the success of pigging operations.

They are usually considered as unreliable. When they have not signaled at time that
the pig is expected to have passed by, generally they are ignored.

There can be three causes for malfunctioning:

Poor design of the PPI
Wrong installation
No maintenance

The design of the PPI can be checked for:

The length of the finger penetrating into the pipe
The angle at with the finger switches the top work of the PPI
The sealing arrangement between the pipe connection and the top work
The ability and the easiness to exchange the internals of the PPI under pressure.
What spares are required to do this. Is it foolproof?
Can it be installed wrongly and the finger brakes off when a pig passes?
Do you need different models (and internals) for different wall thickneses?
Is it bi-directional?
Can it be hooked up to the instrument systems for remote monitoring?
What corrosion resistant materials are used for inside or outside corrosion?

Pipeline companies usually require a lot of these PPIs and since they are
inexpensive, it would pay off to actually buy one of each on the selected vendors list
and let engineering study them.

The wrong model could be installed on the wrong wall thickness. The result would be,
that the finger would not sufficiently penetrate the switch, when the pig passes, or the
finger would penetrate too much and damage the pig.
The finger penetrates into the pipe sideways rather than in longitudinal direction.

The PPI has been sitting on the pipe and has been painted three times and nobody
looked at it before using it.
A little solvent and grease plus some movement does wonders.

Effect on downstream pipeline facilities caused by pigging operations

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Condensate in gas lines

Condensate separates very well from gas in gaslines especially under laminar flow

The separated condensate will accumulate in the bottom of the pipeline in the low
spots of the pipeline. Especially in the case of offshore lines, that run from platform to
platform or from platform to coast, the middle section is low and a lot of condensate
accumulates there. The amount of accumulated condensate can only be calculated by
computer modeling as it is depending on many factors: pipeline length, inlet/outlet
pressure, flow, amount of condensate in the gas, vapor pressure of the condensate,
topography of the pipeline route and accumulation of condensate. Different flow
regimes in different parts of the pipeline will occur at different times due to the
restriction of accumulated condensate and the movements of condensate.

Some time after start up, if no flow changes occur, a status of equilibrium will be
reached and the product composition of the inlet flow will be equal to that of the outlet
flow of the pipeline. A pig however will disturb the equilibrium and a slug of liquid will
puke over into the downstream facilities.

The downstream facilities should be designed for such an event. The normal
gas/liquid separation facilities will usually be insufficient for the slug of liquid coming in
at gas rate. Gas/liquid separation facilities are normally designed for the liquid
production as part of the gas production, say 1,000 cubic meters per day. When the
slug comes in, the requirement may be as high as 1,000 meters per hour.
Slug catchers are the usual solution to this problem. The size of the slug catcher can
be optimized by choosing a certain pigging frequency.

Gas in oil lines

The phenomena of slugging may also occur in pipelines from wells, in which the
associated gas has not yet been separated from the crude oil. The gas/oil ratio at the
downstream end will be disturbed tremendously when a pig is run.

Initially during the pig run, only gas will arrive and towards the end of the pig run only
oil will come in but at a rate that could be 5 times higher than the design rate for the
gas/oil separator. The separator will also have insufficient hold up capacity to handle
the slug of oil. And if no special pre-cautions are taken, the plant will shut down on
high oil level in the separator.

The inlet flow into the pipeline has to be reduced.

History case:

A 12 diameter, 36kms long pipeline carrying untreated crude oil with associated gas
from an offshore production unit to an onshore treatment plant.
When the line was pigged for cleaning prior to inspection, the separator would flood
the plant. The field had to be shut down.
The shutdown could have been prevented, if the production had been cut back by 50
percent when the pig reached the 28 km mark. This was calculated by time and flow.
Following this procedure, the separators could handle the increased oil flow at the
incoming rate and the field was cut back by 50 percent for maximum 4 hours only.
After pig arrival, only gas would come in as the low spots in the pipeline were filling up
with oil before the status of equilibrium was reached again.

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An additional problem in this line was that the oil is wet and water separated too. After
inspection, internal corrosion was found and it was decided to sweep the line

Dust in gas lines

Another problem is dusty gas lines feeding into power generation plants.
Dusty gas lines are generally a problem for both operational and pigging activities.


The problems of dust, during normal operation, manifest themselves mainly in the
downstream facilities of the pipeline i.e. power generating turbines, transmission
compressors, etc.

Running of pigs usually increase the downstream problem during arrival of the pigs
when a large cloud of dust comes in with the pig. Most of this dust cloud will leave the
pig receiving trap through the outlet connection into the downstream facilities and only
a small portion will stay in the pig trap.


The origin of dust is not exactly known but it is generally believed that it is formed in a
reaction caused by H2S (even if it is only present in very small quantities) with the
pipewall. Oxygen is required for this reaction and this may be the explanation why
dust is formed at a high rate in new pipelines.

The mill scale is rich in oxygen and the reaction of dust forming continues at quite a
high rate until all mill scale is converted into small size dust particles that may be
pyrophoric. The rate of dust forming slows down after all mill scale is converted.
Dust forming does not completely stop after this stage due to the fact, that all
produced gas contains, at least, traces of water which contains the necessary oxygen
keeping the H2S reaction active.
Dry gas does not exist. Up to 5 milligrams of water was found per cubic meter of
dry gas with a Dew point of minus 42 degrees Celsius.

Although dust is being formed immediately after commissioning of the pipeline, it may
not manifest itself immediately in downstream facilities. This will only happen, when
the flow in the pipeline is sufficiently high to loosen the dust from the pipewall and
move the dust to the downstream facilities.

The theory of preferential route in piping systems may explain why dust particles
seem to accumulate in side connections such as instrument tubing connections which
cause problems to operations.

Considering the foregoing, intensive cleaning pigging using brush type pigs,
immediately after commissioning is the best solution to prevent the development of a
dust problem before it can go out of proportion. In this way, the mill scale can be
removed before it is converted into small size dust particles. The cleaning activities
must be continued until several pigs are received without any debris present.

Cleaning the pipeline before commissioning is good. It is however more expensive
and it is impossible to apply a quality criteria for the cleanliness of the pipewall.
Before commissioning, pigs are usually propelled by low pressure compressed air for
economical reasons. Low pressure is not ideal for running pigs in stable conditions
and there will be a tendency to cut down on the number of pig runs before the pipeline
is clean. The dust problem may still develop without it being known.
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It is recommended, that the pipeline be cleaned before commissioning for removing
normal construction debris and cleaning the pipeline again after commissioning to
remove all mill scale.
A train of 4 brush pigs in front of hydrostatic test water will give good results provided
that a constant flow of water at a minimum velocity of 0.3 meters per second can be

Since it is more difficult to remove construction debris than to prevent it from entering
into the pipeline, it is highly recommended that the pipejoints be equipped with plastic
caps immediately after fabrication. These plastic caps should be kept in place during
transportation from the pipemill to the jobsite until the pipejoints are welded together.
Install nightcaps during construction of the pipeline.

Usually the dust manifests itself when the flow through the pipeline system gets up to
speed and the downstream filter units have to be changed at an unacceptable high
frequency. The design of filters protecting downstream equipment is based on
catching dust particles larger than 5 or 10 microns. These filters clog up when the
differential pressure reaches about one Bar but they do not have any reasonable
storage capacity for dust.

Getting rid of dust that is accumulated in the pipeline system by filtering is not
practical. The average quantity of dust measured per filter element is 0.6 kg. These
elements cost about US$50 so that the material cost for removing one kilo of dust is
Diverting the gas flow to the flare during pigging may not be acceptable from an
environmental and economical standpoint.


Removal of dust in gas pipelines from a pigging point of view does not differ much
from removing any other debris from pipelines but there are two specific difficulties:

fast wear on the discs by the abrasive dust
bringing-in manageable quantities of dust with each pig run
(usually, the quantity of dust exceeds the push-out capacity of the pigs by many
times and the danger of an excessive amount of dust accumulating in front of the
pig is not unusual)


The pig receiver is not capable of separating the dust from the gas and most of the
dust will leave the pigtrap through the outlet line.
Handling the dust during pigging downstream of the pigtrap is significantly different
from the conditions of gas/dust separation under normal operational conditions.
At normal gas/dust separation operations, filters are normally used and the dust
present in gas at a certain density is filtered and the filter is changed when the
pressure drop reaches the maximum level.
At pig arrival, a large amount of dust arrives at once and such a quantity is too large to
be handled by filters. Filters do not have storage capacity and they would be blocked
before the dust cloud is finished.

For a dry method of separation, a cyclones unit must be installed in the outlet of the
pigtrap for pigging operations. The unit shall have a high dust/gas separating ability
and a large dust storage capacity.

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The unit has to be emptied after each pig run and many pig runs may be required to
clean the line once dust is formed.

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5 | Pipeline Construction Aspects for Pigging
Besides the normal construction requirements for laying pipelines, there are some
special requirements for trouble free pigging;

With reference to the notes on small diameter pipelines in section 4, Design aspects
for piggable pipelines, care should be taken to avoid having excessive weld
penetrations and misalignments in small diameter pipelines up to 8 inch.

Pipelines are usually marked every kilometer. The marker, however, is situated above
ground and has no physical connection to the pipeline. This means, that the marker
position cannot be recognized by any intelligent pig unless a feature is installed in the
pipeline itself marking the above ground marker location.
It is suggested to introduce a pipeline feature by installing a short pup-joint (say 2
meters long) at the above ground marker location. The short pipejoint welds will be
recognized by all the different types of intelligent pigs and together with the above
ground marker joints, it can be used as a landmark for finding pipeline features such
as corrosion defects accurately in the future.

With regards to freeing new pipelines from construction debris, it is better and easier
to prevent debris entering into the pipeline during construction rather than trying to
clean the pipeline afterwards with cleaning pigs.
During transport and construction, pipejoints should be capped with a plastic cover.
The pipeline should also be night-capped daily.

Pipeline pigging during construction for cleaning the pipeline of debris should be
carried out in accordance with written plans. These plans should be presented in the
construction quotation for review before order placement.

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5.1 Figure 1: Pipeline Construction
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6 | Considerations for Purchasing of Pigs

Looking at a bit of history, pigging started to be used first, early this century and in
those days there was not really any sophistication in the design of pipeline pigs.
Pigs developed over the years, following a trial and error method. What that really
means is that when somebody, with a little more courage than others, would come out
with a new model and this model was successful (commercially) it would be copied by
every company that is in the pig business.
No real research or scientific developments were done until feedback from
instrumented pigs was used for optimizing pig designs. This feedback included
confirmation that pigs do rotate in pipelines. They only stop rotating when they wear
excessively high on the discs/cups and they wear out one sided.

It was the company of ROSEN, that looked at the basics of pig behavior and came up
with the innovative idea of separating the sealing discs from the supporting discs.
Until then, the bi-directional pigs had only square discs and when they worn out the
sealing was lost and the pig stopped.

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Similarly, the design of conical cups is always a trade off between:

a. sufficient flexibility to maintain a seal for driving the pig and
b. providing sufficient rigidity to center the pig in the pipeline.

The idea of separating the two functions of sealing and supporting the pig into two
different discs has proven to be very effective and efficient.
The guiding discs are thick and rigid for supporting the pig and for driving debris from
the pipe with less tendency then conical cups to climb over debris and leaving it
The sealing discs are thinner and made of a softer grade polyurethane, they are also
oversized so that they shape up as a conical cup in the pipeline featuring wear
compensation over long distances.

The concept of separate sealing and guiding discs was further developed for long run
pigs for the 800kms long single run Zeepipe pipeline.
Special emphasis was given to the material quality of the discs and their mounting
design in terms on internal pipeline /mounting flange diameter ratio.

The ratio determines the flexibility/stiffness of the pig. The smaller the mounting
flange, the more flexible the pig is in terms of passing dents and other obstacles in the
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pipeline. A smaller mounting flange increases the pig cost as the thickness of the disc
has to increase to maintain stiffness and polyurethane is more expensive than steel.
This could have quite a large effect on the yearly expenditure of spare parts when
many pigs are run per year.

The mounting flange diameter is referred to as the hard core diameter of the pig and
together with the thickness of the discs or cups, it determines the minimum passage
diameter at pipeline dents.
There are two parameters for minimum pipeline diameters for passing pigs:

a. The smallest free opening at the dent location.
b. The smallest reduced diameter in the pipe the pig can pass.
Both should be referred to in millimeters or inches for specific pipelines rather than in
percentages of the diameter. The diameter can be many different things; the nominal
pipe diameter, the outside diameter, the inside diameter, the minimum inside diameter
of the pipe or even the minimum inside diameter of the smallest pipe fitting.

The mounting flange diameter determination is really a trade off between sufficient
flexibility to cope with internal diameter changes/obstructions and minimum cost in
terms of polyurethane. For specific jobs, low cost pigs are developed with larger
diameter mounting flanges that require less polyurethane.
Selecting one or the other design is really an engineering decision rather than a
commercial decision.

For smaller pigs, some companies have marketed all urethane pigs that do not have
a steel body. In some cases, this design is more commercially attractive than pigs
with replacement discs. The real comparison is whether the whole all urethane pig
can compete with the replacement discs on extensive pigging programs.

Beware of small size hollow type all urethane pigs. When they get stuck, the front
may be blown out and the remainder of the pig will be very difficult to remove.

6.1 Figure 1: Special Pig

Looking at the consumption of pigs and replacement spares and considering their
application efficiencies, it has been concluded that no real scientific research has
been carried out to optimize the wear rate of the replacement discs/cups for pigs.
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The manufacturer shall provide a dimensional drawing.
The manufacturer shall indicate the maximum running distance (Foam pigs are
effective for a very limited distance only).

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7 | Special Pigging Jobs
Special pigging jobs are usually low cost activities with a high risk factor carried out on
pipeline facilities with an extremely high value.


The pipeline has never been pigged, it is 33 years old, there are no drawings, it is the
only pipeline available to carry the product and it needs cleaning for inspection.

The special pigging job cost around Fifty Thousand US Dollars.
The pipeline on which the job will be carried has an investment value of Two
Hundred Million US Dollars
The pigging job on the pipeline is risking production loss of up to Three Million US
Dollars per day on revenues, if the pig blocks the pipeline.
The job has never been done before and it is debatable whether the job can be
completed as planned due insufficient information on the conditions of the
pipeline in question.

The pigging contractor can not give any other guarantees than assurance that he will
present a sound engineering plan, bring proper equipment and competent engineers.

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7.1 Figure 1: Gas Dust Pipeline Cleaning

The risk factor is the factor for the chance of successful completion of the job
successfully. Compared with a normal job, where all the parameters and all the
conditions are known, the risk factor is high. These are not the kind of jobs one would
enter into without proper engineering investigation and planning for what-if situations
occur. Special pigging jobs must be pre-engineered and all eventualities shall be
taken into consideration.

What are the main areas of concern:

The pig gets stuck and blocks the pipeline.
The pig gets stuck but the flow continues.
The pig brings in a quantity of debris that can not be handled by the down stream

There are only two reasons why a pig should stop:

1. Pig stuck - flow situation.
The pig has lost seal and the bypass area is large enough to let the flow pass by
without creating the required force to move the pig forward.
2. Pig stuck - no flow situation.
The differential pressure is not enough to move the pig passed the obstruction.

In the first case, there is no immediate emergency influencing the operation of the
pipeline but there is an unwanted obstruction in the pipeline. No other pigging is
possible and that may be a problem when regular operational or maintenance pigging
is required.
Pig stuck - flow situation can cause losing seal due to severe wear on the discs/cups.
Likely in long dry pipelines (> 100kms.).

In the second case, there is an immediate problem as the flow is stopped.
Pig stuck - no flow situation can cause lack of required differential pressure to move
the pig forward because of :

Insufficient pressure in the line to move the pig through normal pipeline fittings
and the pig stops at a bend or at a severe weld penetration. Likely in small
diameter pipelines (< 14 inch diameter).

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Obstruction in the pipeline.

7.1.1 In the category : dents, wrinkles, short radius elbows, reductions in diameter, the
obstruction must be found and the pipeline has to be cut.
7.1.2 In the category : huge accumulation of pipeline debris in front of the pig, the
obstruction has to be found and there may still a possibility that the debris can be
handled without cutting the pipe.

In any of the above cases, if the pig has been equipped with a pig locator, the location
of the problem area can be determined.

Up to this point, the causes for trouble and amount of trouble has been described,
now prevention and resolving the problems will be concentrated on.

Prevention of trouble

The best way of preventing trouble is to analyze the pipeline in detail and design a
pigging program that minimizes the risk to an absolute minimum while still being
prepared for trouble.

Why risk the trouble?

The only answer is and must be:
There will be bigger trouble ahead, if the pipeline is not pigged.
Do not pig for the sake of pigging.

Analyzing the pipeline involves study into the:

Design parameters.
Mechanical properties.
Routing of the pipeline.
Operational details.
Construction pigging and results.
Hydrostatic testing pigging and results.
Commissioning pigging and results.
Historical events that may be relevant to the pigging program.

Give a specific name to the pipeline section and the pigging program.

Design parameters

Design basis (Local standards, ANSI, etc.)
Design pressure
Design temperature
Maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP)
Maximum flow

These parameters are required to set the maximum limits for operations. The pig in
the line may cause a condition that is foreseen in the original design parameters of
the pipeline.

Mechanical properties

Material specification(s)
Pipe wall (seamless, ERW, Spiral weld, etc.)
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Wall thickness(es)
Internal diameter(s)
Coating specification and application (Internal and / or external)
Bends radius and inclined angle
Fittings (internal diameter and geometry, material specification)
Pipeline layout check (any back to back fittings or bends, closely located tees that
can create bypass, etc.)
Valves, valves type and valve internal geometry (ball, gate, globe, check valves)
Flanges used (raised faced, ring type joint, others)

Routing of the pipeline

Topographic elevation differences
Uphill inclination
Downhill declination
Water crossings
Crossings that may be of critical nature (railroad crossings, water crossings, water
win areas, historical valuable monuments, nature reserves, national parks, etc.)

Operational details

Temperature and temperature differences in seasons or due to any operational
differences, likely temperature during the pigging program.
Pressure(s), normal operating pressure, possible maximum operating pressures with
corresponding flows, minimum pressures, likely pressure during the pigging program.
Fluid composition and possible changes due to flow, temperature or pressure
changes. Wax/parafins/asphaltenes presence and melting temperature.
Flow restrictions, minimum flow, minimum daily flow, no shut down allowed in winter,
maximum pumping time and quantity per pigging run(s), limited storage capacity at
the end of the pipeline, pumping frequency or any operational condition that might
influence the continuity during the pigging program.

Construction pigging and results

Get the construction pigging records with type of pigs used, number of pig runs,
running times, propelling fluid and pressure and debris analysis.
If these written records are not available, it may be possible to find somebody who
can remember, although time plays strange tricks on memory.

Historical events that may be relevant to the pigging program

The pipeline may have been subjected to out of the ordinary conditions that need
considering before sticking a pig into the pipeline.
Or the operational conditions have changed tremendously and the previous conditions
may have created a situation that needs considering before sticking a pig into the
Examples of out of the ordinary conditions:

The weather conditions prevented continuation of construction and the pipeline
was left open and was flooded for a while before construction continued.
The pipeline was left without any preservation for two years before
The initial flow was very much less than presently.
Other types of crudes were transmitted (waxy, parafins, asphaltenes, etc.)
The line was used to transfer sludge after a well blow out, 5 years ago.
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These type of events are very important for the selection initial pigs in special pigging

The collected data on the pipeline shall be summarized for analysis.


The presentation of the collected information shall be specific to the planned pipeline
pigging job.

The analysis should aim at concentrating on giving the most realistic information:

Relevant information for pigging that is not known for this pipeline should be
highlighted as such.
If difficulties are expected but it can not be proven that they are really present, a
probability factor can be used.
As an example, the valves may not be piggable in the way pipeline valves usually
are and they are supplied by an unknown vendor, there is a high probability that
the valves may not be piggable.
Generalities shall be avoided.
Field checks are always helpful. One example is that the line was specified with
possible presence of reduced bore ball valves. The ball valve on the launching
station was labeled with a factory name plate stating 24 x 22 inch. It is better to
know for sure so that the pigs capable of negotiating reduced bore valves can be

Efficient pigs for the pipeline pigging program can be selected for dealing with specific
problems or difficulties. It is difficult and most of the time unrealistic to have to have
pigs that are supposed to handle all thinkable obstructions.
The term efficient means here that the pig can meet its target (facts finding) which
may be just to pass the pipeline without bringing in any debris.

It is best to attach this analysis to the tender documents and request the bidders to
comment on it. Furthermore, the bidders should be requested to justify there choice
of pigs for the pigging program. It will give good information for the technical bid
evaluation process.


Matters of pipeline geometry

If short radius bends are expected, run a pig with a slim hard body for passing
previously un-pigged pipelines and with gauging plates for detecting short radius
bends. Although these pigs can not indicate the location and the number of the
short radius bends but they do indicate whether or not short radius bends are
present. This is important for the choice of type of cleaning and inspection pigs.

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If dents are expected, run a pig with a gauging plate and determine the minimum free
area at the biggest dent in the pipeline and chose cleaning pigs that can negotiate
such a reduction.

Matters of debris in the pipeline

If a lot of debris is expected, pigs shall be selected to bring in quantities that can
managed or downstream facilities shall be adapted to handle the amount of
Special pigs can be selected to measure/estimate the quantity of debris in the
pipeline (see section 9, Pipeline Inspection).

Examples for debris handling:

After commissioning, construction debris was left in the pipeline and has to be
removed but the product turbine meters are installed immediately downstream of
the pipeline receiver. The filter arrangement shall be checked for capacity to
separate and store debris. It may be required to install a filter plate in the pig
receiver or the flow, at pig arrival, shall be routed to a temporary installed pit.

The gas pipeline feeds direct into a power generation plant and the piping has to
be re-arranged for preventing dust to go to the power plant (flare the gas, install
dust separators, check the filter arrangement for hold up capacity, etc.).

An advanced fast track pigging program may be designed to clean the line during
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The pigging program shall be based on the extend of the job to be done under
realistically estimated conditions. The conditions that can not be assumed realistic
shall be marked with a probability factor.

The pigging program shall design a back-up plan.

The back-up program for the emergency response plan shall be based on economical

Here are some of the possibilities:

| Emergency | Stand-by | Services | Remarks
| Response Activities | Services | available within |
| acceptable time |
| Hot tap & Bypass | | |
| Hot tap & Stopple | | |
| Evacuation of gas by inert gas | Between two
| | | | block valves
| Evacuation of product by water | | | Between two
| | | | block valves?
| Arrange reverse flow possibility | | |
| Any of the above combinations | | |

For economical reasons, some of the above combinations for may be;
select the hot tap & stopple concept but have only the hot tap & bypass services on
stand-by. The flow can be re-routed and stopple services can be arranged if and
when required.

The expenditure of emergency response plans should be considered as insurance
policy costs.

Special pigging jobs may be split into two stages:

1. Fact finding stage
2. Pipeline cleaning stage

The pipeline cleaning stage can be bid in unit prices and the scope can be determined
after completion of the facts finding stage.

Latest Development in Pipeline Cleaning
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ROSEN has developed a Scale Detection Pig (SDP). The pig makes use of the
already developed system of the Electronic Geometry Pig (EGP) combined with
sensor shoes that run over the deposited scale and measure the thickness.
The EGP technology can measure the distance of the pipeline and the out of
The sensor shoes are spaced less than 200 millimeter so that the deposited debris
can be located and estimated in quantity.
The configuration of the driving cups is aimed low efficiency for moving the scale.

Using this SDP, the cleaning program can be designed together with the downstream
facilities for handling the incoming debris/scale.

Leak Detection Systems

There are leak detection services in the market, using pipeline pigs. They are mainly
used during hydrostatic testing of the pipeline.

Some leaks do not require specialized pigging services:

7.2 Figure 2: Leak Detection Figure 3: Leak Detection

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8 | Field Pigging Operations
Field pigging operations shall only be carried out following written operating
procedures complete with back up procedures (see attached example for pigging

The operational activities for running pigs shall only be carried out by experienced
operators of the pipeline owner. It is best if the procedures are discussed in a
coordination meeting with the up-stream and down-stream operation staff.
Selection of pigs, pig tracking, loading and extracting of pigs from pig traps may be
done by the pigging contractor but is not advisable to let the contractor operate the
valves without supervision of the pipeline owner.

Pigging operations shall be recorded accurately.
Records of individual runs will ultimately end up to a complete picture of the pipeline
on cleaning, development of corrosion, built-up of wax, behavior of condensate in gas
lines and down stream facilities, etc.
It is recommended to record the performance of the pig and discs/cups in a data base
with the following input:

Pipeline information:

Pipeline identification {diameter(inches) - length(kms) - number - from - to -
telephone country code number of pipeline start}
Example: 24 - 120 - 1 - Amsterdam - Rotterdam - 31)
In case of one pipeline, the pipeline number is 1.
Year of commissioning.
In case of dual diameter give length and diameter order of sequence.
Off-shore/on-shore (give length and sequence of length on-and off-shore).

Pipeline operational information:

Pressure in / out
Pressure in / out with the pig in the line
Temperature in / out

Pigging information
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Pipeline is pigged regularly yes / no, frequency in weeks.
Pigging started since.

Any new pigging shall be preceded by a check on the pigging equipment on the

Smooth working of pig passage indicators (PPI).
Sealing of pig trap valves.
Smooth operating and sealing of pig trap doors.
Proper indication of pressure indicators on pig traps.
Exact position of the pipeline block valves.
Make sure all spares are available for PPIs, pig trap door sealing o-rings.
Fire fighting equipment at the trap stations.
Any other pipeline or downstream equipment that may be actively involved in the
pigging operations.

A check list type of arrangement might be useful forging people to sign for the
checking proceedings and the OK of the equipment.

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9 | Pipeline Inspection
Pipeline inspection using intelligent pigs is now a well accepted method of monitoring
the integrity of pipelines effectively.

The methods of pipeline inspection that are most commonly used for locating and
sizing corrosion defects are :

Ultrasonic (US)
Magnetic flux leakage (MFL)

US System

The US system uses an Ultrasonic beam for wall thickness measurement. The
sensors are distributed around the circumference of the pipe wall at small spacing and
nowadays the smaller defects can even be detected. The system differentiates
between defects on the inside the pipe wall as well as on the external and internal
surface of the pipe wall.

MFL System

The MFL system introduces a magnetic field into the pipe wall and measures the
disturbance of the magnetic flux at defects in the pipe wall. The system is presently
offered to the market in two versions; high resolution and low resolution. The low
resolution system is on the way out as the market requires to compare consecutive
inspection surveys to monitor corrosion growth which is only achievable with the high
resolution systems.
The high resolution system is elaborated on later.

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Generally speaking, both methods can equally well find and size defects.
US has the special ability to size and identify inclusions and blistering inside the pipe
wall. US requires a relatively low speed, extreme clean internal pipe wall surface and
a homogeneous liquid between the sensor and the pipe wall. The latter make the
method less able to inspect gas lines or pipelines with a mixed flow (Gas / Oil, Oil with
parafins, Water / air, etc.).

MFL does not have any of these restrictions and can be used in water, gas, crude and
mixed flow pipelines at speeds up to 5 meters per second effectively.

Wall thickness wise US can not inspect thin wall but has no limit on thick walls and
MFL does not have a thin wall limitation but the thick wall is limited to 18 millimeter for
diameters up to 16 inch and 30 millimeters up to the larger size pipelines.

Cracking can not be accurately sized by both systems although both of them have a
limited ability to find cracks.
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There are special crack detection systems on the market but the exact method is kept
propriety information.

The type of defects that threatens the pipeline integrity and that shall be detected are
listed as follows:

Corrosion at the internal pipe wall surface due to:

Wet sour medium (H2S) attack.
CO2 attack.
Bacterial (SRB Sulfate reducing bacteria) attack.
Salt water.

Cracks on the inside pipe wall surface due to:

SCC (stress corrosion cracking).

Inside pipe wall defects due to manufacturing faults:


Weld defects

Cracks in the weld.
Cracks in the heat effected zone.
Improper welding

Mechanical damage to the pipe wall:


Corrosion on the external pipe wall surface due to:

Incidental coating damage during construction.
Incorrect pipeline coating material.
Incorrect pipeline coating application.
Incorrect coating material for weld areas.
Incorrect application for coating at weld areas.

The above listed defects have a degrading effect on the life span of the pipeline that
leads to early pressure de-rating of the pipeline followed premature shutdown.

In the past, corrosion allowance was fashionable but it is now considered to be an un-
necessary waste of materials. Pipeline walls are designed accurately for the required
service. Any degradation of the pipe wall threatens the pipeline integrity.

The integrity of the pipeline is threatened, if defects are so large that they cross the
Estimated Repair Factor (ERF) curve. The ERF curve is similar for all pipelines
percentage wise but unique for each pipeline in terms of defect sizes.
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WT: 10,30mm MAOP : 58.1 DES. PRESS. : 58.1
0 100 200 300 400 500






The Estimated Repair Factor (ERF) is calculated with a formula based on
ASME B31.4 respectively ASME B31.8:

If G 4.0

* .
. *
. * *
1 067
1 067

If G > 4.0

* . 11 1


| P | = calculated pressure
| P
| = internal design pressure supplied by client
| M | = MAOP supplied by client
| c | = max. Depth of the corroded area in mm
| t
| = nominal wall thickness in mm
| G | = 0.893L/Dt

| L | = axial length of the cluster
| D | = nominal outside diameter of the pipe in mm
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is wall loss in %.
The defects in the pipeline wall that are situated above this curve weaken the wall
strength to below design level and de-rating of the design pressure is required or
repairs have to be made.

It seems like that every pipeline wall can sustain quite large defects before the
integrity is threatened. This would indeed be the case if these defects would be
stationary. This however is not the case, defects are growing defects and it is not
known when they will grow though the ERF curve.

Obviously, looking at it from this angle, it is required to find them when they are really
small so that maximum time is available to fix them before they go through the ERF

For external pipe wall surface defects that is relatively easy. When they are located,
the coating can be fixed and the corrosion growth is stopped and the defect becomes
stationary. Although it is slightly more difficult to get to off - shore pipe walls it is still

Internal pipe wall surface defects are more difficult, if not impossible, to become
stationary. The best that can be achieved is, slow down of corrosion growth and that
requires close monitoring.

A special note is made for metal loss in the same location as mechanical damages.
The mechanical damage has stressed the pipe wall material over the yield strength
level and the original properties of the material are changed. In addition, cracks have
usually formed.
Which is way, mechanical damage to the pipe wall in combination with metal loss
require immediate attention and usually urgent repair.
For that reason, some inspection contractors carry out Internal Pipeline Geometry
Inspection as part of metal loss inspection surveys.


The reported results of pipeline inspection services can normally be used for pipeline
repair activities. Many pipeline inspection services companies have the ability of
linking sizing of the reported defects to a computer program that calculates the ERF.

The question is of course :
What is the reliability of the claimed accuracy level for the reported defect sizing !!!
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The claimed accuracy and reliability of inspection equipment from the different
contractors can be evaluated during the presentation of bids for inspection jobs by
asking the contractor to specify his method of inspection and equipment features.
This statement will be elaborated on later.

Irrespective of the defect size, all metal loss defects are serious.
The ones above an ERF of 1 and the ones that are deeper than 60 percent wall loss
are urgent.
All others are too serious to be ignored, otherwise, one day they become urgent

The reported information is restricted to information on metal loss from the pipeline
wall only. It does not provide any information on the cause of metal loss or on the
effect of this particular type of metal loss on the specific pipe material for the pipeline
in question in terms of growing rate or other weakening abilities.

Therefore, the reported metal loss information can not be used as the only input for
pipeline condition assessment studies.

Pipeline assessment studies provide information on ways of effective preventive
maintenance activities and rehabilitation as well as remaining lifetime estimates.
These assessment studies are usually carried out by specialized engineering offices
who take much more data into consideration.

survey data
data evaluation
customer database
and survey data
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In recent years an increasing number of pipeline operators are evaluating the potential
of assessing the risk factors to safely operate their pipeline system. The risk
assessment strategies vary from a rather theoretical to a more practical approach.
However, in both cases a great number of parameters have to be gathered, and a
database for the entire length of each section has to be established. While some of
the data might be readily available, others will have to be established with significant
cost and time effort involved.
Most of the risk assessment models currently being discussed do not consider data
from smart pig runs as a primary source for the assessment.
The following will provide information about the potential of using the data.

With regards to inspection pigging, spurious defects used to be a common topic of
discussions in the past. All significant signals were reported as metal loss defects but
in many cases, spurious defects were found. This, of course, annoyed many pipeline
operators and the confidence level in pipeline inspection was at an all time low in the
early 1980s.

The industry started to develop inspection pigs and aimed at increasing the
confidence level.

Dramatic improvements have since been made on the performance of intelligent pigs
and according to a survey, pipeline operators nowadays find inspection reports very
useful for reviewing the status of their pipelines and for maintenance programs.
This raises the question:

Can risk assessment studies also rely on inspection from intelligent pig survey?

Confidence in the reliability of reported information are the key words for answering
this question.

The pipe wall is wrapped up in coating and the pipeline is put underground or
underwater. Checking of reported defects by digging them up is one way of confirming
the reliability of reported information. This method defeats the object. The whole idea
of inspecting the pipeline by an intelligent pig is to find out about the condition without
having to dig it up and peel off the coating. Digging up reported defects for
establishing the confidence level of the inspection services can only be done after the
inspection has been carried out. This method is not practical for evaluating bids for
pipeline inspection services.
Confidence in the reliability of the inspection services can be established prior to
placing the order by checking whether the following points can be proven:

Repeatable results of measurement method
Tracing the conditions of measurement
Qualifying the inspection data
Comment: Insert photo
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Optimized use of recorded data
Possibility of further analyzing any point of the pipewall


The Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) method of detecting defects produces one hundred
percent repeatability. That is scientifically proven and we prove it each time when an
intelligent pig is pulled through one of our test
High Quality MFL Survey Requirements
- Repeatability -
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
feature depth [%]


At least two pull tests are performed before sending any intelligent pig on a single job.
Up to date, we have run a total of more than one thousand tests with confirming
results. The graph shows the repetition of results of 165 pulls in a 20 inch pipeline.

The deviation in repeatability is in the area of defects smaller than 10 by 10 millimeter
and under 12 percent depth. In fact, it is almost like defects are magnified by MFL as
the effect on the MFL can be three times as large in size than the defect itself.

Why is it then that the results of MFL in the eighties were unreliable and why are
things so much better now?

There are 6 main reasons for this:

| 1980 (Generally) | 1997 (ROSEN)
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| a) Recording of magnetic level | none | constantly
| b) MFL measurement | single direction | two directions
| c) Sensor spacing | 200 mm | 13 mm
| d) Speed measurement | hardly | constantly
| e) Wall thickness measurement | none | constantly
| f) Sufficient magnetization level | hardly | constantly

ROSEN is aggressively exploiting new developments in

the electronic industry
modeling software (Finite Element Modeling calculations)
new materials technology
data analysis

with the single aim of increasing the confidence level of pipeline inspection services.
These are the challenges for on-line inspection services in pipelines: They are mainly
speed related (acceleration/deceleration) but they are also related to weld penetration,
changes in pipe wall thickness, materials, fabrication processes and remaining debris
stuck to the pipe wall.

The speed variations usually occur when the internal geometry of the pipeline
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This happens at:

| Reason | Result
|1. Weld penetration at girth welds | deceleration
|2. Entering into fittings, valves | deceleration
|3. Leaving fittings, valves | acceleration
|4. Entering into reduced bore pipe | deceleration
|5. Leaving reduced bore pipe | acceleration

The speed variations are usually more prominent in gas pipelines of smaller size
and/or operating at lower pressures.

In addition to speed variations, the welding areas are also difficult for inspection if the
welds are handmade and the welding is very irregular. High/low differences at the
weld areas will result in lift off and vibration on both the magnet units and sensors.
The welding areas include girth welds and welds between fittings and pipes.

The pipe wall thickness changes in many locations:

Road / River crossings
Offshore platform risers
Gas pipeline design factors (0.72, 0.65 or 0.5 as per pipeline location)
In the inner- and outer-bend of an elbow
Around the outlet branch of a forged tee
The higher wall thickness in the smaller size of a forged reducer

The material specification may differ between pipe and fittings as well as between
pipes. The pipe materials are usually of high grade materials while the fittings are
made of forging type material. In such cases, the internal diameter is often much
smaller than the normal one.

The fabrication process of pipe joints is sometimes so different that pipe joint
suppliers can be identified by background noise level recorded by the pig.

The challenges on pipeline inspection can be grouped in relation to:

magnetization level
sensor lift off
background noise level

These issues will now be addressed to explain the requirements for high quality MFL


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Problems with speed may occur in three instances:

9.1.1 Too slow, incurring unstable pig running conditions (below 0.5 m/second in liquid lines
and below 0.8 m/second in low pressure gas lines).
9.1.2 Too fast, incurring loss of pre-set resolution in longitudinal direction and possible
mechanical damage.
9.1.3 Speed changes during the run.

The MFL is measured at intervals in longitudinal direction. This is called the sampling
distance and it determines the longitudinal resolution. Accurate sizing of defects is
optimal if the sampling distance is maintained at a 3 mm interval. The on-board
computers of the High Resolution pigs maintain the 3 mm resolution even if the pre-
programmed speed changes with a factor 1 to 4, provided that acceleration is below
0.3 m/s per meter.

Loss of sensitivity might occur outside of the above mentioned limits.

High Quality MFL Survey Requirements
- Recording interval -
0 2 4 6 8 10
inspection pig speed [m/s]



Magnetization Level

High quality MFL inspection is only achieved if the magnetization level is between 10
and 30 kA/m (for standard pipe material).
Due to speed, wall thickness, material changes and other challenges, this level may
not be achieved in certain areas of the pipe wall. ROSEN records the actual
magnetization level in each individual pipejoint so that the inspection results can be
qualified and quantified as to obtain the best inspection results.

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High Quality MFL Survey Requirements
- Magnetization Level -
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
field strength [kA/m]



Both, the unknown and the insufficient magnetization levels are the main reasons for
reporting spurious defects in the past.
Sufficient magnetization levels in thicker walls can be achieved nowadays due to
improved magnet technology. ROSEN has tools available with wall thickness
capabilities of e.g. 613 mm, 1219 mm and 36 30 mm. Further improvements can be
realized if required.

Sensor Lift Off

Sensor lift off influences the sensitivity but this can now be recognized and
corrections can be made within limits.

Background Noise Level

Background noise level will determine the threshold setting for the minimum defect
detection level. The background noise level depends on the pipewall material and
pipe manufacturing process.


The inspection data has to be qualified whether:

the results are inadequate to produce a report in accordance with the agreed
conditions of the contract or
whether the results are 100 percent in accordance with the specified conditions or
whether the results are adequate to produce an inspection report in accordance
with the agreed conditions of the contract.

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Elaboration on the above as follows:

When the data is grossly incomplete, it will be determined whether it is due to
failure of the intelligent pig. If this failure can be prevented on the next run, the
contractor shall rerun without extra charge to the customer. If however the lack of
specified quality data is debit to operational conditions in the pipeline that cannot
be improved upon, the inspection results may be mutually accepted as the best
possible for this pipeline.
A free moving inspection pig is subjected to many challenges in the pipeline and it
is virtually impossible to achieve an inspection run that is absolutely 100 percent in
accordance with the specified conditions in all locations. As such, this case will
hardly occur.
The inspection results are adequate when the evaluation of the recorded data can
be carried out. Although the inspection results may be short of specified sensitivity
in limited areas.

These may be:

Extreme high wall thickness in a riser pipe (Low magnetization level)
A pipe section downstream of a tight elbow in a small diameter pipeline
In low pressure gas service (High speed)
Very rough surface of the inner pipe wall (High noise level)
Irregular hand welding (Sensor lift off)
Accumulated debris in an awkward corner (Sensor lift off)
Vibration of magnet or sensor unit in valves (Low magnetization level, high noise
Rip off of a sensor by an irregular valve (Mechanical damage)

The inspection pig is subjected to off-specifications conditions in trouble areas and it
does affect the sensitivity. However, for these limited areas, the achieved inspection
quality can be defined.
The inspection report is qualified and the confidence level for the whole report is

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Optimized use of recorded data is demonstrated by this example:

Optimize Use of Recorded Data
- internal diameter -
0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 12.0 13.0
distance [km]



The line carries a gaseous product and has extreme wall thickness changes. The pig
has accelerated in many locations. The magnetization level changed dramatically in
many areas. In 1980, the result of the inspection survey report would have contained
a lot of spurious defects and the survey report would have been described as

Nowadays however, the recorded data is optimized and the results of the inspection
survey are qualified per pipe joint. The report is reliable and has been confirmed by
the accurate dig ups in the reported locations.

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Optimize Use of Recorded Data
- Pig Velocity -
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
distance [km]



As indicated, the pig speed varied strongly. In the areas, the speed peaked above the
3.2 m/s and this is above the 1 in 4 factor (0.8 to 3.2 m/s) for changes over the speed
setting of the inspection pig for this run.

The speed variations correlate with the locations of internal diameter respectively wall
thickness changes.

The gaseous product at low pressure made the pig accelerate in the reduced
diameter areas and it peaked above the maximum of 0.3 m/s per meter of pipeline
effecting the recorded interval. The resolution (sampling distance) in the areas
increased to over 5 millimeter.
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Optimize Use of Recorded Data
- Archieved Magnetization -
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
distance [km]



This has an effect on both, the background noise level and the magnetization level.
Both levels are determined and presented for each pipe joint (one cross represents on
pipe joint). This inspection conditions are within specifications for the larger part of the
pipeline length. The pipeline inspection results can now be qualified with high
confidence level.
Optimize Use of Recorded Data
- Joint Noise Level -
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
distance [km]




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10 | Pigging Dictionary

pipeline pig device driven by differential pressure for
internal maintenance and inspection of
pig trap device for launching or receiving pipeline pigs
were pigs can be removed from the pipeline
without depressurizing the pipeline
trap valve the valve that isolates the trap from the pipeline
main line valve the valve that is mounted in the main branch
upstream of the pigtrap
kicker valve the valve for kicking off the pig from the pig
bypass valve the valve for deviating the flow when receiving
the pig
quick opening door (QOC) the end connection on pig traps
equalizing line the line across the reducer of the pig trap for
equalizing the pressure up- and down-stream of
the pig in the trap
hard pig body diameter the maximum diameter of the steel components
of the pig. This diameter together with the
thickness of the discs can be used to estimate
the minimum free passage ability of the pig.
pig locator a device mounted on a pig, submitting a pulse
continuously so that the pig can be located in
the pipeline