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Volume 17 Number 2 - February 2017


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Construction on Dakota Access. 30. The proof is in the pigging
Barbara Belzer Adams, T.D. Williamson, USA.
05. Pipeline news
Several key pipeline projects have recently been approved; questions are raised
over pipeline safety; a number of offshore and onshore pipeline contracts are CONSTRUCTION CASE STUDY
awarded; and more. 36. Going down under
Giorgio Martelli, Gianmichele Pace and David York, Saipem, Australia.

42. Out of sight but not out of mind

T Tim Ross, P. Eng., PureHM, Canada.
he past year’s global economic difficulties took their
toll on many European and Asian countries that
have a large energy consumption. The disappointing
economic performance and uncertainty about a
significant and sustainable recovery in the foreseeable future
to restore their energy consumption to the pre-difficulty
period and hint at a growing consumption, negatively affected
these countries’ pipeline projects. No wonder, if the year’s
record in this regard was way below the one needed by
Russia experiencing a steady decline in its energy export-
generated revenue thanks, mainly, to the free fall of
48. Extending the life of ageing pipelines
Mushaid Nauman, Penspen, Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Hooman Peimani
assesses a number
of Russian pipeline
55. Overcoming seemingly inaccessible terrain
projects and discusses
the status of the
country’s past, present
Christoph Ludescher, LCS Cable Cranes, Austria.
and future midstream

61. Handling pipes in the Johan Sverdrup field

PAGE Dave McGuinness, Schoenbeck GmbH & Co. KG, Germany.
12 13

12 67. Lifting the standards

Shawn Lowman, Sharewell HDD, USA.


REGIONAL REVIEW 71. Safety first!
12. Shedding light on Russia's pipelines Stephanie O’Born and Mike Yeats, Shawcor Composite Production Systems,
Dr. Hooman Peimani assesses a number of Russian pipeline projects and Canada.
discusses the status of the country’s past, present and future midstream
75. Familiarising the unfamiliar
PIPELINE INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT Luc Perrad, Polyguard Products, Belgium.
17. Adapting tools for dead legs
Lewis Clark (UAE) and Darran Pledger (UK), STATS Group. 81. Controlling complicated corrosion conditions
Scott James (Corrpro, USA) and Bruce Sanderson (Aegion Corporation, USA).
21. Keeping up with corrosion
Christoph Jaeger and Andreas Pfanger, NDT Global GmbH & Co. KG,
85. Coating without chromate
25. Predicting the future of ILI tools Ian Robinson, Division Scientist – Electrical Markets Division, 3M United
Robert De Lorenzo, Quest Integrity, USA. Kingdom PLC.

Volume 17 Number 2 - February 2017

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his issue of World Pipelines includes Yet, despite its benefits, not everyone
a lead feature on pipeline praises the project. DAPL first saw signs of
construction, detailing a number of opposition in April 2016 and, since then, the
successful projects. However, not all project has generated tremendous public
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT pipeline projects are straightforward. interest across the world. The Standing Rock
Stephanie Roker The US is currently playing host to a Sioux tribe and environmentalist groups have controversial pipeline project; Dakota Access been at the centre of the protests, claiming
(DAPL). This pipeline construction project that the pipeline threatens to contaminate
seems to have become the ‘new’ Keystone Lake Oahe, which is the tribe’s primary water
MANAGING EDITOR XL, generating global mass media coverage. source, as well as contribute to global warming
James Little
First proposed in 2014, the US$3.8 billion, through potential leaks.
1172 mile pipeline will transport crude oil from However, ETP insists that measures have
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT the Bakken oilfield in North Dakota, through been taken to safeguard against a spill. The
Anna Nicklin South Dakota and Iowa, before terminating at company has, and will, continue to inspect the
a refinery in Illinois. At present, construction pipeline during the construction and operation
ADVERTISEMENT DIRECTOR of the line is over 95% complete, with just a stages of the project in order to comply with
Rod Hardy small section, primarily regulatory standards.
including the crossing Once in-service, the
ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER under Lake Oahe, left to CONSTRUCTION OF line will be remotely
Chris Lethbridge
With over
THE PIPELINE WILL monitored 24 hrs/d
and will be subject to
ADVERTISEMENT SALES EXECUTIVE 2.4 million miles of oil LESSEN THE US’ regular onsite
Will Pownall and gas pipelines DEPENDENCE ON inspections. currently operating in the
US, DAPL will cater to the
FOREIGN OIL AS The company also
noted that DAPL will
Stephen North nation’s energy market by WELL AS BENEFIT not impact the transporting half of the THE NATION’S reservation’s water
Bakken’s oil production to
refineries across the
ECONOMY supply. The tribe
currently gathers water
Laura White country, before it is approximately 20 miles
distributed to consumers. away from the pipeline’s proposed route and,
ADMINISTRATION Advocates of the project include state reportedly, the tribe is set to relocate its water
Nicola Fuller and local government leaders, who believe source 70 miles downstream from the line.
construction of the pipeline will lessen the The project is expected to create around
WEBSITE MANAGER US’ dependence on foreign oil as well as 8000 - 12 000 jobs, as well as inject money
Tom Fullerton benefit the nation’s economy. into industries such as manufacturing, With the vision of becoming an energy construction and other similar trades. The
DIGITAL EDITORIAL ASSISTANT independent nation, DAPL will transport project will also generate approximately
Angharad Lock domestic crude in an environmentally US$55 million in annual property taxes and responsible manner – through a 30 in. dia. US$47 million in North Dakota, South Dakota,
heavy-walled steel pipe – rather than relying Iowa and Illinois sales taxes. From this
on crude-by-rail or crude-by-truck methods. increased revenue, DAPL will be able to
Palladian Publications Ltd, At present, North Dakota’s crude oil is improve schools, roads and emergency
15 South Street, Farnham, Surrey,
GU9 7QU, ENGLAND transported primarily by rail. Though this has services in areas the pipeline passes through.
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 718 999 caused a boom in the rail industry, crude-by- Overall, the line will be able to increase
Fax: +44 (0) 1252 718 992 rail is not necessarily a more effective regional employment, benefit the nation’s
Website: alternative to pipelines. An extensive report economy and offer a safe method of energy
published by the Manhattan Institute for transportation.
Policy Research1 compares the safety aspects Now, after a turbulent construction period
Annual subscription £60 UK including postage/£75 of energy transportation via pipelines, road, that saw regular temporary halts, a verdict has
overseas (postage airmail). Special two year
discounted rate: £96 UK including postage/£120 rail and barge. The study provides evidence been made. On 24 January, US President
overseas (postage airmail). Claims for non receipt that pipelines are not only safe, but are “the Donald Trump signed a series of executive
of issues must be made within three months of
publication of the issue or they will not be honoured safer option” out of the abovementioned orders, which will see the construction of
without charge. transportation methods. DAPL advance. He has also signed an order to
Applicable only to USA & Canada: Between 2013 and 2016, at least 10 rail revive the previously vetoed Keystone XL
World Pipelines (ISSN No: 1472-7390,
USPS No: 020-988) is published monthly by
explosions occurred in North America, pipeline expansion project, which will
Palladian Publications Ltd, GBR and distributed in resulting in numerous casualties. Project transport crude from Canada into the US.
the USA by Asendia USA, 17B S Middlesex Ave,
Monroe NJ 08831. Periodicals postage paid New
operator, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), With his known support for the oil and gas
Brunswick, NJ and additional mailing offices. stated that DAPL will be able to replace industry, Trump commented that his support
POSTMASTER: send address changes to World
Pipelines, 701C Ashland Ave, Folcroft PA 19032
seven trains of 100 - 120 carriages every day of both DAPL and Keystone XL is driven by the
from North Dakota; a substitution that would need to promote energy policies that will
automatically lessen the risk of spills and benefit the US and its people.
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World News
Trump backs Dakota Access and Keystone XL TransCanada pipelines approved by FERC
On 24 January, President Donald Trump signed five executive orders The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved
regarding key environmental topics. Of these five, two addressed the the construction of two TransCanada pipelines; Leach XPress and
controversial Keystone XL and the Dakota Access (DAPL) pipelines. Rayne XPress.
The orders support the construction of the two pipelines and will The pipelines will provide additional outlets to transport
allow both projects to advance. domestic, clean burning natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica
While Keystone XL was halted in late 2015 by the Obama production areas to the higher value midwest and Gulf Coast
administration, construction of the final section of DAPL was stopped markets.
in late 2016, after the US Army Corps of Engineers denied the pipeline Once the remaining regulatory approvals are obtained,
a permit to explore alternative routes for the pipeline to take. TransCanada plans to begin right-of-way preparation and
According to news sources, after this move, oil producers in construction activities on both projects this month.
Canada and North Dakota are expected to benefit from quicker routes The company is currently reviewing the projects’ overall
for transporting crude oil to refineries at the US Gulf Coast. timeline in an effort to maintain its proposed 1 November 2017
When signing the measures, Trump noted that the Keystone XL in-service date.
project would create approximately 28 000 construction jobs. “Approval of Leach XPress and Rayne XPress follows a very
He is reported to have stated: “We’re going to put a lot of […] steel thorough review by the FERC,” said Stan Chapman, TransCanada’s
workers back to work [and] we’ll build our own pipelines, we’ll build Senior Vice President and General Manager of US Natural Gas
our own pipes.” Pipelines. “These projects will create critically needed connectivity
Trump said that both projects would be subject to negotiated between the prolific, but constrained, Marcellus and Utica shale
terms and conditions by the US. production areas and higher value markets. The projects will also
Groups associated with the oil industry have widely praised the create significant new jobs and tax revenues for communities
move as they believe that the pipelines will create jobs and cut energy along the projects’ routes.”
costs. The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), Leach XPress will allow for the safe transportation of
Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) and API have all applauded Trump’s approximately 1.5 billion ft3/d of natural gas from the Marcellus
signing, which will allow the construction of both Keystone XL and and Utica supply basins. The 160 mile project will cross the
DAPL to move forward. northern panhandle of West Virginia before traversing
CEA President, David Holt, commented: “Everyone – families, southeastern Ohio.
farmers, manufacturers, distributors and small businesses – will benefit Rayne XPress primarily involves the construction of two new
from the decision to greenlight a pair of pipelines that will help cash- compressor stations along TransCanada’s existing Columbia Gulf
strapped families lower costs.” system. The project is designed to create an additional
However, with this signing occurring amidst extensive protest, the 1 billion ft3/d of capacity to efficiently transport Marcellus and
decision has angered environmentalists and the Standing Rock Sioux Utica production to markets in the Gulf Coast region and beyond.
tribe who say that the current route of DAPL will damage cultural sites Both projects are underpinned by long term, fixed fee, firm
and could contaminate a key water source. Energy Transfer Partners – transportation service agreements. They will be designed,
the company behind DAPL – has long disputed this, stating that constructed and operated with a focus on safety and minimising
measures have been taken to make the pipeline safe. environmental impact.

Trans Mountain expansion approved by the British Columbian government

The provincial government of British Columbia (BC) has given its environmental assessment certificate for the Trans Mountain
environmental approval for Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion project.
of its Trans Mountain pipeline. The company plans to triple the Environmental groups were swift to criticise BC’s approval of
existing pipeline’s capacity of crude oil to 890 000 bpd, and has the project. Kinder Morgan’s project has faced extensive
promised to share a proportion of the spoils with the province. opposition from both environmentalists and indigenous groups
This recent approval could represent the final regulatory since it was first proposed over four years ago. However, in
hurdle for the project, which is expected to increase Canada’s November 2016, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau,
crude exports to Asia, thus reducing its dependence on the US. announced his approval of the expansion project.
The total cost of the project is estimated at approximately Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan’s Canadian unit,
CAN$5.5 billion. stated that BC’s approval “represents a positive outcome for our
BC’s Premier, Christy Clark, is reported to have said in a company, customers and for British Columbians and all Canadians
statement that the project had satisfied, or was close to satisfying, who will benefit from the construction and operation of an
the five conditions (covering matters related to the environment, expanded pipeline.”
aboriginal communities and economic benefits) that she laid out While the project still requires final approval from Kinder
to pipeline companies in 2012. Clark’s statement also highlighted Morgan’s board of directors, the company plans to commence
that the government has granted 37 conditions along with the construction in September of this year.

FEBRUARY 2017 / World Pipelines 5

World News
PennEast schedule to be delayed? PHMSA introduces new
pipeline safety rule
Canada New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF),
TransCanada Corporation (TransCanada) Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association On 10 January, the US Secretary of
has submitted a Presidential Permit and Eastern Environmental Law Centre have said Transportation, Anthony Foxx, signed an
application to the US Department of State that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission advance notice of proposed rulemaking
for the approval of the Keystone XL (FERC) has revised its schedule for reviewing the (ANPRM), which was issued by the
pipeline. PennEast pipeline. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
FERC’s deadline for releasing a Final Administration (PHMSA). The ANPRM
Australia Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) has been will seek contributions from the
Construction of the AUS$19.8 million delayed from 17 February to 7 April, with a federal government, industry and public on a
Bundaberg Port gas pipeline has been authorisation decision deadline of 7 July 2017. range of questions associated with
completed. While pressure testing of the “[The] decision reaffirms what citizens and establishing a vapour pressure threshold
pipeline is complete and pipeline marker government agencies have been saying for almost for unrefined petroleum products (such
posts have been installed, some work still two years, that PennEast has yet to prove that its as crude oil) in transportation to inform
remains before the pipeline can be pipeline is needed or can be constructed without the evaluation of the potential safety
commissioned. Ongoing work includes the significant environmental impacts,” said Tom benefits of utilising vapour pressure
installation of main line valves and Gilbert, Campaign Director, ReThink Energy NJ and threshold(s) in the hazardous materials
offtakes along the pipeline. NJCF. “FERC’s next step should be to reject this classification process. The full text of
unneeded pipeline that would cause significant the ANPRM can be found on PHMSA’s
USA damage to our drinking water, preserved land and website.
Williams Partners L.P. has announced that farmland and the health of our citizens and API Midstream’s Group Director,
its Transco gas pipeline has transported a communities.” Robin Rorick, has expressed support of
record amount of natural gas. The pipeline In its notice of the delay, FERC cited the need the new PHMSA rule, which will address
has helped meet recent demand, which to review additional environmental information pipeline safety, stating: “Pipelines are
has been driven by the current cold filed by certain state agencies and PennEast since extremely safe and 99.999% of the
weather conditions. 8 November 2016, when it set its last schedule for product reaches its destination without
Peru issuance of the FEIS. Several state and federal incident, but we’re not satisfied until
agencies have raised concerns about missing data 100% of our product reaches its
Odebrecht has missed the deadline to sell and analyses, and the environmental impacts, destination without incident.”
its shares in the Peruvian Southern Gas including the risk of arsenic contaminating of “That is why we have been working
pipeline, which was needed in order to drinking water. with the PHMSA and supported the
achieve the financial closing of the project. “These repeated delays signal that the pipeline development of an effective rule to
Canada is in trouble and cannot meet its projected address pipeline safety for liquids
Following a public comment process, the in-service date in 2H18,” Gilbert said. pipelines,” Rorick added.
National Energy Board (NEB) will now
require companies to provide additional
Is Nigeria losing its appeal?
emergency response detail during the Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, region’s poor infrastructure is the abundance
pipeline application phase of a project. recently stated that the country’s oil will not of pipeline vandalism, highlighting that over
be as valuable within the next few decades. 3700 pipeline attacks had occurred in 2014
He blamed this, in part, on militants alone, with over 20 000 people injured from
Alongside the US Coast Guard, the Bureau attacking pipelines, particularly in the Niger fires due to pipeline vandalism between 1998
of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Delta region – Nigeria’s primary region for and 2015.
recently responded to a release of gas and producing oil . The militant groups responsible for the
condensate from a pipeline at West According to Osinbajo, the attacks are attacks believe that the Niger Delta region
Cameron 165 in the Gulf of Mexico. The causing the country’s clients to find should receive a greater share of the country’s
spill was approximately 32 miles southwest alternative means of energy. When visiting energy wealth, as well as be included in
of Cameron (Louisiana) and the pipeline is the Niger Delta area he revealed: “America energy dialogues regarding the oil produced
operated by Kinetica Partners, LLC. has stopped buying oil from us. All the from the area.
Russia countries of Asia that buy oil from us are Infamous militant group, the Niger Delta
building alternative means of power, China Avengers (NDA), previously threatened to
In 2016, the Nord Stream pipeline operated
and Japan are developing electric cars. In fact, renew pipeline attacks in the Niger Delta
at 80% of its annual 55 billion m3 capacity.
Japan has more charging stations than petrol area. Its threat to resume bombings was
In five years, Nord Stream has reliably and
stations. Solar power is getting cheaper […] In fuelled by the delay of oil negotiations by
safely fulfilled all transport nominations
another 20 - 30 years, our oil won’t be as Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.
without interruptions. By the end of 2016,
precious as it is today and that is reality. We Since then, the Pan Niger Delta Forum
a total of 154.4 billion m3 had been
must be smart and act intelligently and fast.” (PANDEF) have tried to appeal to the
transported to the EU.
Osinbajo explained that the Niger Delta militants, explaining that continuing pipeline
area only has a few hospitals and his heavily bombings would only be detrimental while
polluted. He stated that one reason for the negotiations are ongoing.
6 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017
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Events DIARY
World News
Tribe calls for Enbridge Mountain Valley pipeline receives
22 - 24 February 2017 pipeline to be removed public support
AOG 2017 A northern Wisconsin Chippewa tribe is A Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey has
Perth, Australia calling for 12 miles of Enbridge’s Line 5 shown that the majority of Virginians support the pipeline to be shut down and removed proposed Mountain Valley pipeline (MVP) project.
from its tribal reservation lands after Among all respondents, 62% said that they
27 February - 2 March 2017 64 years of operation. support the MVP. Respondents in the Roanoke
The Bad River tribal council approved and southwest Virginia region showed the
a resolution that would not renew strongest support for the project, with 74% of
Houston, USA
easements for 11 parcels of land along a respondents in the Roanoke area supporting the
section of the Line 5 pipeline, which MVP.
carries 540 000 bpd of crude oil, The project has received support from private
synthetic crude oil and natural gas citizens, business groups and elected officials,
28 February - 2 March 2017 liquids. including the governors of Virginia and West
OPT Bad River spokesperson, Dylan Virginia.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands Jennings, claims that the pipeline “These survey results reflect the importance threatens the tribe’s water and land. of this project to the state and region,” said Shawn
pipeline-technology/ Robert Blanchard, Bad River’s Posey, Senior Vice President of MVP Construction
Chairman, added: “We depend upon and Engineering. “The transportation capacity for
everything that the creator put here MVP is already fully subscribed, which reflects the
26 - 30 March 2017
before us to live mino-bimaadiziwin, a market’s recognition of the need for low cost,
NACE Corrosion good and healthy life. These reliable natural gas.”
New Orleans, USA environmental threats not only threaten “These findings are reassuring that the vast our health, but they threaten our very majority of Virginians recognise that natural gas is
way of life.” clean, affordable and abundant here in the US,
28 - 30 March 2017 Bad River’s officials have called for and we need infrastructure like the MVP to
StocExpo Europe planning of a Line 5 removal project to promote energy independence, create jobs and
begin. This would include a health study, generate tax revenue,” said Chris Saxman,
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
pipeline contents recycling and disposal, Executive Director of Virginia FREE.
stocexpo-rotterdam-2017/stocexpo- and surface restoration. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
rotterdam-2017/ Brad Shamla, Vice President of (FERC) is currently reviewing MVP’s application.
Enbridge’s US operations, reportedly
29 - 31 March 2017
stated that the tribe’s decision not to
renew easements for its Line 5 comes as
OMC 2017
Ravenna, Italy
a surprise to the company. The tribe and
Enbridge have been negotiating renewal
News Highlights
of the easements since their expiration in
4 - 7 April 2017 “Our hope is that we can continue to
Gastech Japan 2017 have a dialogue and a conversation,”
Chiba-city, Japan Shamla said. “We really want to have an opportunity to hear from the band, listen
to their concerns and really work to a
solution that is a win-win solution.”
9 - 13 April 2017 Shamla also stressed that, contrary to
NASTT’s 2017 No-Dig Show the beliefs of the tribe, the line is safe
Washington D.C., USA and is inspected at least once every five ➤ Keystone XL: years. a step forward to building a
21st century energy infrastructure
While Enbridge sources have claimed
20 - 22 April 2017 that there has never been a spill on the ➤ Plains All American to expand
Bad River reservation, Jennings Cactus pipeline capacity
India Oil and Gas Pipeline
Conference (IOGPC) highlighted the tribe’s belief that the
ageing pipeline could ruptures soon. ➤ McElroy and Netafim partnership
Mumbai, India
While this action comes amidst aims to grow HDPE business
ongoing disputes over the Dakota Access ➤ BridgeTex to expand pipeline
pipeline, the tribe has denied that this capacity for crude deliveries to
decision has anything to do with the Houston Gulf Coast
protests in North Dakota.

8 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017 To read more about the articles go to

26-30 MARCH 2017

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Contract News
Offshore pipelay contract secured by SNS pipeline to be acquired by Independent Oil
McDermott and Gas
McDermott International, Inc. was recently awarded an Independent Oil and Gas plc (IOG) has signed a Memorandum of
offshore pipelay contract in the Middle East. The sizable Understanding for 100% acquisition of a currently disused
pipelay contract includes the engineering, procurement pipeline in the Southern North Sea (SNS). IOG plans to use this
and installation of two oil pipelines offshore. pipeline as its main export route for its SNS gas assets.
Work on this contract is expected to begin Discussions regarding the sale and purchase agreement (SPA)
immediately and be and will be reflected in McDermott’s are at an advanced stage and all parties are committed to
fourth quarter backlog for last year. completing the necessary documentation that is required to
“This contract marks another example where our conclude the acquisition at the earliest opportunity.
clients in the Middle East recognise our integrated Under the terms of the SPA, IOG would also acquire the
customer-driven solutions that are consistently delivered associated onshore reception facilities.
with outstanding safety and within cost and schedule,” Upon acquisition of the pipeline, IOG will undertake an
said Linh Austin, McDermott’s Vice President for the intelligent pigging inspection to assess the integrity of the
Middle East and Caspian. “This award demonstrates our pipeline and ensure that it is safe for reuse. The company then
ability to offer our customers a flexible, tailored project intends to recommission the pipeline to enable evacuation of gas
solution that meets their needs and that uses our multi- from both its Blythe and Vulcan Satellites hubs. This will require
purpose assets.” the installation of inter-field pipelines and tie-in points, as with
Detailed engineering and procurement is expected to any gas field development. With a 300 000 million ft3/d
be carried out by McDermott’s specialist teams in Dubai, capacity, the pipeline could also accommodate export of the
with vessels from the McDermott’s global fleet scheduled newly enlarged resources in the Harvey discovery, subject to
to undertake the installation work in 2018. Work is further appraisal.
expected to be complete by the end of the 2Q18. There may be potential for third-parties to use the pipeline,
in which case IOG would benefit from tariff income. Moreover,
mltech awarded its first Caspian pipeline by owning the pipeline, the company will incur no transportation
tariffs, thus improving the economics of the SNS gas assets.
The consideration is for a nominal sum, with IOG agreeing to
Specialist in pipework setup and measurement software bear the liabilities for the future decommissioning of the pipeline
development, mltech, has been awarded its first contract and reception facilities.
in Baku (Azerbaijan) by Metal Qaynaq Sinaq (MQS).
The one year contract – which also has scope for Seatronics and Force Technology form
extension – will see mltech train MQS personnel to use its
proprietary autometTM software (licensed to MQS) to
perform pipe spool fabrication surveys and onsite Seatronics has formed a new partnership with technological
pipework and steelwork surveys. consultancy company, Force Technology. Under the agreement,
By reducing expended survey time, automated surveys Seatronics customers base will have access to Force Technology’s
that are carried out using automet continue to improve field gradient sensor (FiGS) system; a non-contact cathodic
MQS’ spool surveying efficiency in fabrications. protection (CP) inspection tool.
MQS provides services including process piping With the system detecting coating damages on exposed and
fabrication, heavy and light structural steel fabrication, buried pipelines and structures, it offers a change in CP integrity.
mechanical site services and civil construction to some of The FiGS can accurately measure anode performance and help to
the oil and gas industry’s largest operators and tier one optimise CP retrofitting. It offers substantial cost savings for
contractors. clients, as well as reducing inspection time.
automet is a complete and reliable method of Leiv Laate, Vice President of Force Technology, said: “We are
replacing existing or installing new pipe and steelwork. happy to partner up with Seatronics, a leading player in the
Therefore, it removes the requirement for hot work and market, and we look forward to fruitful co-operation for years to
eliminates the associated risks. come.”
Mike Lloyd, Managing Director of mltech, said: “We Phil Middleton, Group Managing Director of Seatronics,
are delighted to have secured a contract with a new commented: “We are delighted to have partnered with Force
customer in a new region […]. The Caspian market is a key Technology and the FiGS system is a product that we are
element of our strategic growth plans which will allow us genuinely excited about.”
to continue expanding our capabilities and service offering He added: “We are actively developing our portfolio of
internationally. Winning this contract is a great start to equipment, which can assist our clients in assessing the long term
2017 and we intend to use this success as a springboard integrity of their assets. We feel the FiGS system is unmatched in
for growth throughout the rest of the year.” this respect and look forward to working with Leiv and his team.”

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Dr. Hooman Peimani
assesses a number
of Russian pipeline
projects and discusses
the status of the
country’s past, present
and future midstream

he past year’s global economic difficulties took their
toll on many European and Asian countries that
have a large energy consumption. The disappointing
economic performance and uncertainty about a
significant and sustainable recovery in the foreseeable future
to restore their energy consumption to the pre-difficulty
period and hint at a growing consumption, negatively affected
these countries’ pipeline projects. No wonder, if the year’s
record in this regard was way below the one needed by
Russia experiencing a steady decline in its energy export-
generated revenue thanks, mainly, to the free fall of

oil and gas prices. Yet, given such circumstances affected all border point. As part of a US$400 billion contract, signed
major oil and gas exporters and their pipeline projects, Russia’s in 2014, the pipeline system will carry gas from Russia’s east
pipeline experience was not entirely disappointing. In fact, it Siberian gas fields in Irkutsk and Yakutia, which are to be
was a mixed record containing potential for major projects in developed under the contract.
the future with the world’s two most populous Asian countries Known as the Power of Siberia, this Russian transmission
that have large and growing energy consumption. system will connect the gas fields to both the Russian Port of
Russia’s major project with China, the East Route gas Vladivostok and China, through two new pipelines in addition
pipeline, went forward as planned. Unlike the South Stream to the existing ones in eastern Siberia. The construction of its
project (shelved by Russia in December 2014) the pipeline has first leg (3200 km Yakutia-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok line) started
continued without any ground for its future halt. However, the on 1 September 2014 in Yakutsk and is set to go online in late
fate of Moscow’s seemingly promising project with China, the 2017. The schedule for constructing its second leg (800 km
West Route gas pipeline, is still in limbo. Beijing’s lower than Irkutsk Region-Yakutia) is still unknown.
expected economic growth – likely to last a while, which is On 30 June 2015, CNPC began the construction of the
primarily, but not exclusively, due to the uncertain economic Chinese system’s northern, southern and central sections, near
recovery and consequent decline in imports in China’s Heihe in China’s northern province of Heilongjiang, bordering
main Asian and especially European partners – questions Russia. Added to a 3170 km pipeline, it consists of auxiliary
the wisdom of a long term commitment to an additional underground gas storages and an existing 1800 km pipeline
30 billion m3/y of Russian gas for 30 years. While China’s passing through six Chinese provinces (Heilongjiang, Jilin,
refusal to sign the required agreement makes its realisation in Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong and Jiangsu), the Inner Mongolia
the predictable future unlikely, continued negotiations suggest autonomous region, Tianjin and Shanghai.
that China is leaving the option on the table. Though set for completion in 2018, the East Route gas
Preparations for constructing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline pipeline’s full operation could be delayed, according to an
are well underway, despite Brussels’ and Washington’s announcement in October 2016 by CNPC Vice President, Xu
opposition. Major energy corporations of the European Union Wenrong. He noted that the pipeline would be operational “in
(EU)’s heavyweights – France, Germany and the UK – have 2019, in 2020 at the latest.”
remained committed to its construction out of necessity. A Gazprom’s October 2016 progress report indicated the
combination of the EU’s foreign policy (keeping Iran out of EU completion of 115 km of the Russian pipeline in 2015 and the
piped gas exports in absence of comprehensive agreements planned completion of another 400 km in 2016. This was
with Tehran on a wide range of issues), the existing piped gas added to CNPC’s planned construction of 80 km in the same
supplier’s limited (e.g. Azerbaijan and Algeria) and insecure (e.g. year.
Libya) reserves, as well as the remoteness (e.g. Turkmenistan)
and insecurity (e.g. Egypt and Nigeria) of potential piped gas The West Route gas pipeline
suppliers, have practically left Russia as the only large scale Also known as the Power of Siberia II, it is still unclear whether
gas supplier to the EU when the regional grouping’s own gas Gazprom’s West Route gas pipeline (30 billion m3/y) – whose
reserves are depleting with no realistic prospect for major construction was meant to begin in 2015 for completion in
discoveries. 2019 – could become a reality in the absence of any signed
The TurkStream pipeline is becoming a reality due to a commitment by China for its construction. Beijing is now
thaw in Turkish-Russian ties. Turkey’s aborted July 2016 coup facing a different economic reality both inside the country and
sped up the normalisation process, which started shortly abroad, with the corresponding energy requirements lower
before its development, as Ankara’s relations with Brussels than expected. Nevertheless, continued negotiations between
reached a low point. As a major factor, these relations have China and Russia are the foundation of Gazprom’s optimism
since guaranteed the expanding Turkish-Russian co-operation for its eventual construction, though with focus on a different
on various issues, including energy. capacity, as Gazprom’s Deputy Chairman of the Management
Finally, the prospect of a long envisaged Russian-Indian Committee, Alexander Medvedev, stated on 30 August 2016.
gas pipeline has now become more serious, although still a Accordingly, as reported by the Russian News Agency TASS,
far-fetched project, due to the signing of a Memorandum of the required contract for its construction “depends on
Understanding (MoU) during the October 2016 visit of Russia’s volumes, rather than on the price.”
President, Vladimir Putin, to India.
The following assessment of these projects aims to shed Nord Stream 2
light on the status of Russian pipeline activities in 2016 and The preparations for construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas
their direction in 2017. pipeline have been occurring despite Brussels’ opposition to
the pipeline for its undermining the EU’s plan to reduce its
The East Route gas pipeline membership’s energy dependency on Russia, as its ties with
Construction of the largest joint venture of CNPC and Moscow are lowering due to disagreements over Ukraine
Gazprom (approximately 4000 km; 52 in.; 61 billion m3/y) and Syria and, in general, strategic considerations. Despite
has been progressing. The joint venture will feed China with this opposition, which was backed in November 2015 by 10
38 billion m3/y of Russian gas for 30 years through two EU countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech
separate Russian and Chinese pipeline systems, linked at a Republic, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia) and

14 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

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the US, Gazprom and major EU energy corporations, namely commitment of both sides to deliver the project as soon as
Austria’s OMV, Germany’s E.ON and BASF/Wintershall, and possible.”
France’s ENGIE and Royal Dutch Shell, are moving forward with In its original form, TurkStream – which is meant to
their 4 September 2015 agreement. feed gas to Turkey before its second string delivers gas to
The project aims to double Nord Stream’s current capacity southern Europe via Greece – consists of four offshore
(55 billion m3/y) by 2019 through the construction of a strings (each 910 km) passing 660 km under the Black Sea
new pipeline system that mirrors the existing one. Hence, within the previously decided South Stream pipeline corridor,
Nord Stream 2 will carry 55 billion m3/y of Russian gas to followed by 250 km within a new corridor towards the Turkish
Germany via twin offshore pipelines (each 27.5 billion m3/y; European part. Reportedly, the Turkish onshore line’s length is
1200 km) that are buried under the Baltic Sea’s seabed. It is approximately 180 km, but that of Greece is unknown.
set for operation before late 2019. Gazprom’s 18 May 2016 It seems that the revived project for exporting
announcement regarding the completion of geophysical 31.5 billion m3/y of gas at the estimated cost of US$11.4 billion
surveys for Nord Stream 2’s subsea section and the continuity is now focused on feeding Turkey. Gazprom’s announcement
of required geotechnical investigations indicated the in November 2016 refers to spending over US$595 million “on
commitment of the project’s stakeholders. the expansion of the gas pipeline system to deliver gas to
According to Nord Stream AG in November 2016, the the TurkStream natural gas pipeline and implementation of
project is proceeding as planned. The undertaker awarded the the project itself in 2016.” In that month, TASS reported: “Gas
contracts for pipe deliveries, and pipe coating and logistics in deliveries via the first stretch of the gas pipeline are designed
April 2016 and September 2016, respectively, while concrete wholly to meet the requirements of the growing Turkish
coating of the pipes is planned to begin in spring 2017. The market.” On 7 September 2016, Turkey awarded Gazprom an
project’s largest pipe supplier is EUROPIPE GmbH, which will unspecified “first permits” for construction of the pipeline.
– according to Nord Stream 2 AG – produce “90 000 out However, the realisation of TurkStream’s part for feeding
of a total of 200 000 high quality large diameter pipes” for southern Europe is pending a clear commitment by Brussels
1134 km of pipes or “around 46% of the pipes required for the in order to avoid repeating Russia’s disappointment with the
pipeline.” South Stream pipeline. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov,
Apart from its significance as a major gas pipeline pointed out this issue in Athens on 2 November 2016, stating:
system, undertaking the New European Pipeline AG joint “The bitter experience with the South Stream project has
venture is important as it reflects the EU heavyweight energy taught us a lesson. We will be ready to extend this branch
corporations’ opting for their national interests. Brussels to the territory of the EU only after we receive strong 100%
opposes it because of its perceived negative impact on the guarantees from Brussels that the project will be implemented.
EU’s collective interests by expanding and solidifying Russia’s We hope that Brussels will be guided by pragmatic, not
role as the EU’s largest gas supplier. Gazprom’s joint venture politicised, considerations.”
share is 51%, while others have a share of 10% each, excluding
ENGIE (9%). Russia-India gas pipeline
After years of consideration, in 2015, India and Russia agreed
TurkStream to study the construction of a gas pipeline that would
The TurkStream pipeline seems to be back on track after transport Russian gas from Siberia to India. A MoU was
passing through a year of uncertainty, caused by worsening signed by Engineers India Ltd. and Gazprom in New Delhi
Turkish-Russian ties. Conflicting interests in Syria, reflected in on 15 October 2016 during Putin’s visit to India.
supporting opposite sides to its civil war, damaged ties, which The proposed project envisages connecting the Russian
was only worsened after Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian gas grid to India through a long pipeline with the estimated
military aircraft in November 2015. Ankara’s deteriorating length of 4500 - 6000 km, depending on its route. At the
relations with Brussels over a range of issues inclined Turkey to estimated cost of US$25 billion, the shortest route is through
improve its ties with Moscow, which has gained momentum, the Himalayas and into northern India. This is “a route which
especially since July’s failed Turkish coup. The decision to poses several technical challenges,” according to Indian
revive TurkStream – the modified replacement for Gazprom’s sources who also consider a less technically challenged but
South Stream that was shelved by Moscow due to Brussels’ longer alternative route via Central Asia, Iran and Pakistan into
opposition – became official on 10 October 2016, when the western India viable.
Russian and Turkish energy ministers signed the required The project will make sense only in the absence of much
document in Istanbul in the presence of their respective cheaper alternatives, which could be realised in a much
presidents, Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. shorter period of time. For example, importing Iranian gas via
The mentioned document notes the construction of two the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline would be much cheaper and
strings of the gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey across the could be realised in a much shorter period of time. In the
Black Sea and the onshore string for gas transit to Turkey’s post-Iranian G5+1 nuclear agreement, the completion of the
border with neighbouring countries. Signifying the resumption pipeline – whose mostly completed Iranian part is waiting
of work on the project, Gazprom CEO, Alexey Miller, stressed to be connected to the yet to be built Pakistani part – has a
the importance of its setting out “the legal framework for the realistic prospect as CNPC’s China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau
TurkStream project. The agreement has been prepared in an has reportedly offered to co-operate in completing the
unprecedentedly short period of time, which shows the strong Pakistani section from Gwadar to the Iranian border.

16 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

Lewis Clark (UAE) and Darran Pledger
(UK), STATS Group, detail the
approach taken during a
subsea pipeline dead leg
abandonment project.
Figure 1. Tecno Plug hydraulically activated deployment frame.


t is now commonplace to prolong
the safe and efficient operation of
oil and gas infrastructure beyond its
intended lifespan. In order to minimise
risk, operators take a proactive approach to
maintenance and inspection. They regularly
evaluate both the internal and external
condition of pipework to detect cracks, dents
or corrosion, each of which could impact the
integrity of their assets.
A primary area of concern for operators is
dead legs in pipework. Dead legs are sections

of piping that have been isolated from the flow of liquid to several internal corrosion mechanisms. Therefore,
or gas. Piping segments that are continuously exposed operators often face the challenge of removing dead legs
to the process, but without normal flow – such as lines that no longer serve a purpose.
closed by flanges, welded caps or other fittings – are often STATS Group was approached by a national oil
considered dead legs. The corrosion rate in dead legs can company in the Middle East. The company needed to
be significantly higher than adjacent active piping. As such, isolate a 42 in. subsea pipeline dead leg housed in an oil
it remains a persistent source of plant maintenance with storage tank. First installed in the late 1960s and situated
potential for integrity issues. Internal corrosion in dead in the Persian Gulf, the storage tank has a capacity
leg segments is a leading cause of pipe-related failures in for 500 000 bbls of oil. The huge structure stores oil
pipeline infrastructure. produced from the surrounding oilfields and has been in
Despite successful inspection and maintenance continuous use since it was commissioned. The operator
programmes, managing corrosion in these pipe segments identified some irregular flow characteristics, which made
is challenging as they are generally unpiggable or difficult them suspect the integrity of this 42 in. dead leg. It was
to chemically treat. This means that they are susceptible concerned that over time the problem would worsen, with
the potential of water contamination of the oil export.
The 42 in. dead leg is connected to a 96 in. pump
plenum in the oil storage tank. This supplies suction to
three topside pumps and the main 36 in. feed transfer line.
STATS Group was commissioned to engineer a solution
to provide a secure isolation to be deployed subsea via
divers into the 42 in. dead leg through an open flange entry
point. The isolation plug would be required to negotiate
two mitre joints and travel up a 5˚ incline before reaching
its final isolation position 38 m away, directly ahead of the
plenum weld. A mechanical isolation plug featuring wheels
and three seals was chosen, which allowed the plug to be
pushed to location with stem bars. The mechanically set
plug also provides the capability to be removed at a later
date, if required.
The project presented several challenges. Firstly,
since the pipeline was constructed of thin wall pipe,
consideration was given to ensure that the weight of
the isolation plug would not pose a risk of rupturing the
pipeline during the deployment process. Additionally, the
isolation plug is required to provide leak-tight isolation for
at least 25 years. Thus, suitability of seal material for long
Figure 2. A 42 in. Tecno Plug isolation tool. term deployment was essential. STATS Group also had to
ensure that the subsea deployment, setting and testing of
the isolation plug could be conducted by divers in a strict
14 day window. This allows the storage tank to remain in a
fully operational state throughout the workscope.
STATS proposed the use of a modified Tecno PlugTM.
These non-intrusive inline isolation tools have an extensive
track record of providing pressurised isolation of both
onshore and subsea pipelines in sizes from 3 - 48 in. and
in a variety of applications. However, due to the thin wall
pipe of the dead leg, a standard Tecno Plug would be too
heavy to deploy safely on this occasion. Therefore, the
company re-engineered the plug to reduce the overall
As standard, STATS’ Tecno Plugs feature two
elastomeric seals. The dual seal configuration provides an
annulus void that is pressure tested to verify that both
seals are leak tight. However, as a contingency measure, a
third seal was incorporated into the design. This additional
seal provided a facility to fill the seal annulus with grout if
Figure 3. Wheeled stem bar sections lowered to location.
additional sealing was required.

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Once the Tecno Plug was deployed and set at location, that the inspection data would not be available until
each seal was leak tested at 110% of the maximum after the plug was designed, manufactured, tested and
potential isolation pressure in turn. Once the seal integrity mobilised to the dive vessel. Should the inspection pig
was proved, the annulus was then vented to ambient to fail to return any data, or if the results highlighted that
create a zero energy zone. This provided effective double the pipe wall was not at the required minimum thickness
block and bleed isolation. to allow the Tecno Plug to be hydraulically set without
The large section elastomer seals are highly compatible causing damage to the pipeline, a contingency plug would
with poor pipe surfaces, particularly corroded pipework. be deployed. Therefore, STATS engineered and delivered a
The seals provide leak tight isolation, even in ageing 42 in. expandable rubber plug, which could be attached to
assets. The sealing capabilities of the Tecno Plug meant the front of the stem bars and deployed via the hydraulic
that the additional contingency measure of grout filling frame to location, in place of the Tecno Plug. This
the seal annulus was not required during this workscope. alternative solution provided a contingency method that
As an additional fail safe feature, a mechanical locking was suitable for a 12 month isolation period.
mechanism was incorporated into the plug design. Once Following the successful pipeline inspection and
the Tecno Plug was hydraulically set and following the detailed analysis of the inspection data, the deployment
successful seal integrity tests, the plug was locked into of the Tecno Plug was successfully carried out within the
the set position with the aid of a ratchet mechanism. tight deadline set by the client. Once the Tecno Plug was
This provided a further mechanical lock in place of the at the desired location and successfully set and tested, the
hydraulics to permanently set the plug once abandoned in stem bar deployment system was attached to a specially
the pipeline. adapted blind flange and bolted to the open flange, which
To allow the Tecno Plug to reach the desired successfully completed the isolation and abandonment
isolation location, STATS engineered a hydraulically workscope.
actuated deployment frame. This allowed stem bars Prior to the offshore deployment, STATS conducted a
to be installed in sections, pushing the Tecno Plug to client witnessed factory acceptance test at its operational
the location in a controlled manner. Flexible control base in Musaffah (Abu Dhabi). This included two days of
lines attached to the rear of the Tecno Plug allow for diver familiarisation training on a full scale replica pipe
communication to both set the plug and to test and fixture. During this time, the divers learnt the detailed
monitor the seals. operation of the Tecno Plug and stem bar to minimise
Since the Tecno Plug had to negotiate the mitre joints the duration of the subsea operation. Both the stem bar
without snagging, short stem bar sections featuring a system and procedure were modified to accommodate the
wheeled centralising unit were used. The use of short stem divers’ suggestions. This resulted in the actual deployment
bars also reduced the weight of each component, ensuring time being less than half of what was originally predicted.
that one diver could safely and efficiently install and The deployment of the 42 in. Tecno Plug and the
deploy the Tecno Plug to the desired location without any isolation of the dead leg was the result of a detailed
issues. analysis conducted during the front end engineering
In addition to the 42 in. Tecno Plug, STATS also process. This process includes the generation of a project
provided subsea hot tapping equipment for intervention design premise, pipe stress analysis, failure mode, effects
on the 42 in. dead leg blind flange. This operation provided and criticality analysis, operational procedure and risk
initial access to the pipeline to ensure no differential assessment. Due to the thin wall pipe encountered in the
pressure or environmental concerns were present, which dead leg, a finite element analysis of the pipe wall was
confirmed safe conditions for the diver to remove the conducted to ensure that the loads generated by the locks
blind flange. Once the flange was removed, access was and seals would not over stress the pipe wall and cause
gained to conduct an inspection of the dead leg. damage to the pipeline. As the Tecno Plug is hydraulically
A third-party service company then supplied an set, the force is transferred through the plug body and
intelligent pig, which was propelled down the full length applied to the pipe wall using the seals and locks. The
of the dead leg to gain real time data. The data was compression end loads create a radial load at the seal
analysed to determine the condition of the pipeline and and lock contact area. This analysis was then compared
decide the best location to set the Tecno Plug. To achieve to allowable stress limits in compliance with DNV-RPF113
the best isolation results, the Tecno Plug would need to code.
be set in the thickest available section of pipe so that Angus Bowie, STATS Group’s Regional Director for the
the maximum internal hydraulic pressures could be used Middle East and North Africa region, said: “This package
to apply a gripping and sealing force from the Tecno Plug produced by STATS identifies and mitigates operational
onto the pipe wall. risk, and reassures clients by providing detailed analysis of
The success of the Tecno Plug deployment the internal conditions and geometry of the pipeline prior
methodology relied heavily on a successful inspection to carrying out the isolation, guaranteeing the optimum
run. Unfortunately, the timing of the dive operation meant solution is always delivered.”

20 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

Figure 1. Testing of
inspection tool at NDT Global
test yard.

Keeping up with

Christoph Jaeger and couple of millimetres a year may not seem like
much, but in the field of pipeline corrosion this
Andreas Pfanger, signals a major problem. Accurately measuring
minute changes in corrosion allows pipeline
NDT Global GmbH & Co. operators to safely plan and manage the integrity of their
KG, Germany, explain asset.
For this reason, NDT Global uses the latest inline
why monitoring pipeline inspection (ILI) tool technology to record high resolution
corrosion is critical to pipeline data. In total, the company has conducted
ultrasonic testing on more than 150 000 km (93 205 miles)
avoid the consequences of pipeline and has 465 man years of data analysis
of line failure. experience.

prevents ruptures and provides a
timeline for the lifespan of the line.

Causes of pipeline corrosion

Corrosion can impact both the internal
and external surface of a pipe wall.
When the transported medium (such
as crude oil) carries trace amounts of
water or bacteria, corrosion is initiated
and can result in rapid growth.
Dirt and debris can aggravate
internal corrosion. Therefore, regular
cleaning of pipelines and the injection
of corrosion inhibitors are important
strategies for slowing or preventing
internal corrosion. Coatings and
cathodic protection are also used to
Figure 2. NDT Global’s ultrasonic inspection tools use high resolution inspection to prevent external corrosion.
identify the true state of corrosion in pipelines.
The technology
In 2015, NDT Global launched a high
resolution (UMp) metal loss inspection service, which
reliably detects defects and sizes as small as 5 mm (0.2 in.).
Representing a two-fold improvement in the minimum
sizing threshold from the previous entry level ultrasonic
service of 10 mm (0.4 in.).
Prior to inspection, pipelines are cleaned of dirt and
debris. Once the line is cleared, the ILI tool is deployed.
As it travels through the line, ultrasonic sensors covering
the full 360˚ range of the pipeline emit a short pulse of
ultrasonic energy, which is reflected by the internal pipe
wall. A portion of the signal enters the pipe wall and is
reflected by the rear wall, measuring the time of flight.
Using the speed of sound for the medium and steel, the
Figure 3. Remaining life of the pipeline at established MAOP.
distance from sensor to the inner wall standoff and the
wall thickness can be calculated.
Between 2010 and 2014, the Canadian Energy Pipeline
Association (CEPA) found that the leading cause of Case study one
pipeline failure amongst its members was metal loss, at In early 2015, NDT Global completed the first ultrasonic
34%. This loss is caused by either internal or external ILI of an offshore crude oil pipeline. After this inspection,
corrosion, which can be detected and forecasted data analysis teams discovered that this five year old line
through ultrasonic ILI. Similarly, in the 30 years leading had significant internal corrosion, which was unexpected
up to the new millennium, the US Department of given its age. Pitting and extensive channelling corrosion,
Interior Mineral Management Service found that internal with depths up to 10 mm (0.39 in.; 60% of the nominal wall
corrosion was the leading cause of leaks in 35% of thickness) were found mainly on the bottom of the pipe,
reported incidents in offshore pipelines. Natural hazards but also along the sides to the midpoint.
trailed well behind. Based on the surprisingly advanced corrosion
Corrosion is considered one of the most critical threats discovered in 2015, the client expected to see corrosion
to pipelines. The growth rate of corrosion depends on growth of between 2 mm (0.08 in.) and 2.5 mm (0.1 in.)
the medium within the pipeline and the rehabilitation per year. The client believes that the temperature of the
and protection measures that operators undertake. This crude oil, which was between 60˚C and 70˚C along with
uncertainty is why ILI is crucial. Multiple inspections allow insufficient cleaning of the pipeline during the first few
data to be compared and, in turn, corrosion growth rates years of operation contributed to the significant amount
to be estimated and safe operating pressure calculated. of corrosion. In an attempt to slow further damage, the
This information enables pipeline operators to make procedures for cleaning and injecting corrosion inhibitors
informed maintenance decisions. were changed.
For offshore pipelines, specific safe pressure levels are To prove the effectiveness of these measures, the
a critical measurement. Knowing when to reduce pressure client decided to re-inspect the pipeline in 2016, one year

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after the first ILI. Having two high resolution ILI data corrosion growth of all anomalies continues at the
sets enabled a detailed data-based corrosion growth maximum rate of 1.2 mm (0.05 in.) per year determined
assessment. This meant that the river bottom profiles of from the 2015/2016 comparison, the remaining life of the
the corrosion anomalies were compared instead of the pipeline at the established MAOP is eight years (Figure 3).
peak depths alone. This assessment revealed corrosion The comparison and assessment of the 2015 and 2016
growth between 2015 and 2016 for the majority of the ILI results showed that the initial prevention measures
corrosion anomalies. However, despite the ongoing slowed the corrosion growth after the 2015 ILI. In order
corrosion, there was some positive news. Based on the to reduce the still high growth rate, the cleaning and
2015/2016 comparison, NDT Global found the maximum corrosion inhibition procedures must be optimised.
growth rate is approximately 1.2 mm (0.05 in.) per year, Therefore, this year a re-inspection and an updated
which is not as fast as the clients expected based on the integrity assessment is planned to prove the success of
first inspection. these strategies.
Being an offshore pipeline, one of the most critical
pieces of information to determine is the safe operating Case study two
pressure. Repairing offshore pipelines is expensive, as While the previous case study focused on internal
conditions must be extrapolated to determine how long corrosion, in mid 2016, NDT Global worked with a pipeline
a pipeline can operate at certain pressure levels or when that had an issue with external corrosion on a riser
pressure must be reduced. The operation of offshore section that was approximately 185 m (607 ft) in length
pipelines strongly relies on the output of these corrosion and had been inspected by another ILI provider in 2014.
growth predictions and assessments. According to the 2016 inspection results, the most
The safe operating pressure was calculated according significant external anomaly was found in the splash zone
to Recommended Practice DNV-RP-F101, making use of the and had a depth of 8 mm (0.31 in.), leaving a remaining
detailed river bottom profiles of the corrosion features. wall thickness of 7 mm (0.28 in). It spans a length of 1 m
The calculated safe operating pressure of the pipeline (39 in.) and covers the full circumference of the pipe. This
dropped by 11 bar (160 psi) between 2015 and 2016, but heavy corrosion shows that the coating was damaged,
was still well above the maximum allowable operating allowing sea water to penetrate to the metal.
pressure (MAOP) of 140 bar (2030 psi). This client required a detailed growth assessment
Forecasts of the pipeline’s future safe operating that considered the high resolution depth profile of this
pressure were calculated using different corrosion growth external corrosion. In order to take a detailed look at this
scenarios. For the most conservative scenario, where particular anomaly, it was divided into eight 45˚ boxes.
Figure 4 illustrates the comparison of river bottom and
resulting characteristic wall thickness profiles from one of
these boxes. The growth rates are given in Figure 5.
Interestingly, the corrosion rate varied significantly
along the length of the anomaly. The first 600 mm (24 in.)
of the 1 m area featured corrosion that was growing about
twice as fast as the spots in the latter half. In this first
section, the rate ranged from 0.5 mm (0.02 in.) to 0.6 mm
(0.024 in.) per year, depending on the circumferential
position. However, after 600 mm (23.62 in.) the anomaly
was growing at a maximum rate of 0.2 mm (0.01 in.) per
year and several regions showed no growth at all.
Figure 4. A comparison of river bottom and wall thickness This type of high level corrosion growth results serves
profiles. as input for advanced 3D finite element pressure and
remaining pipeline life predictions.

Unchecked corrosion can lead to disastrous consequences,
which is why regular monitoring is critical.
Having accurate data about the presence of internal
and external corrosion, as well as the growth rate of those
defects, allows pipeline operators to intelligently plan
their maintenance, ramp up preventative measures and
ensure the pipeline is always operating at safe pressure
levels. It also gives a good indication of the lifespan of
the pipeline, which can aid in long term planning and
Figure 5. Corrosion growth rates.

24 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

Predicting the future of

or decades, pipeline integrity managers have used a set of evolving tools
to improve the solutions that are available for integrity challenges. While
great progress has been made on mainline piping systems, which are
conventionally piggable, a key difficulty facing pipeline integrity personnel
has been the ability to inspect and gather data on pipelines that are unpiggable

Next generation inline inspection technologies need to go beyond

navigation to consider accuracy of detection, measurement and location
of flaws, Robert De Lorenzo, Quest Integrity, USA, explains.

or hard to navigate. Inspection tools must navigate these lines and accurately
measure the size and specific location of all defects.
This article will outline what is required in the next series of inline inspection
(ILI) technologies in order to overcome unpiggable or difficult to inspect pipeline
integrity verification. Although finding the phenomenon known as a ‘pit within
a pit’, detecting and sizing small anomalies, and reducing false digs would be
beneficial, a key question still remains: how do we get there?

ILI development history improved as new and more sensors were added to pigs, which
ILI tools were first introduced in 1965. Early tools used sleds allowed for higher resolution imaging. While first generation ILI
carrying magnetic flux technology and could only identify tools were limited to metal loss detection, these newer tools
metal loss in the bottom quarter of the pipe for distances of could address a variety of damage mechanisms, such as internal
up to 30 miles. By 1970, ILI tools could detect metal loss around and external corrosion, dents and cracks.
the entire pipe circumference. Over the next decade, dramatic Combination sensors were later introduced on commercial
improvements led to the first ultrasonic (UT) tools. These could pigs. Sensors using different technologies and with different
directly measure and quantify metal loss, resulting in more capabilities can now be sent simultaneously through pipelines.
accurate inspection results. This gives engineers a more robust view of the pipeline along with
Advances in ILI technology continued into the 1990s and a greater ability to detect and characterise anomalies.
2000s. The accuracy of detecting and sizing metal loss anomalies Being more refined and sophisticated, present day tools have
reached a level of sensitivity and accuracy that allows inspection
data to be used for advanced fitness for purpose calculations
and integrity assessments. However, despite these technological
developments, ILI still has many limitations.

The navigation hurdle

Now that major inspection techniques – MFL and ultrasound
– are well-established, recent and ongoing developments have
had a different focus. Over the last decade, ILI research and
development projects have been geared towards solutions for
unpiggable pipelines, which cannot be inspected using standard
intelligent pigs.
Figure 1. An example of complex piping configuration that There is a myriad of scenarios that make a line unpiggable.
would have once been deemed unpiggable.
According to Dr. Keith Leewis, in ‘An Introduction to Unpiggable
Pipelines’, the simplest explanation includes the obvious barriers to
pigging a single pipeline:
) Access – a free swimming tool cannot be introduced or

) Low pressure and flow – there is insufficient flow to overcome

friction and drive a pig.

) Multi diameter – problems with loss of sensor coverage and/

or high velocity excursions.

) Physical barriers – the tool cannot navigate past internal

obstacles or barriers.

) Inconvenience – customers cannot tolerate any reduced

product flow and access is curtailed.
While many piping systems have historically been deemed
unpiggable, advances in smart pigging and other inspection
technologies now allow for inspection of these lines. Industry
leaders in ILI navigation capabilities have shown that many of
these unpiggable aspects are now manageable. In fact, the Pipeline
Figure 2. The Pipeline Operators Forum (POF) chart is a Research Council International (PRCI) now discourages use of the
common reference for categorising ILI tool capabilities. word ‘unpiggable’. With sufficient planning and budget, any line
can be pigged if the integrity benefits of the ILI data justify the
difficulty and expense that is necessary to guarantee the tool
For example, Figure 1 shows a 4 in. unpiggable pipe that
contains back to back S, mitred and 1D bends. The fabricated test
loop shown is routinely navigated by Quest Integrity’s ILI InVistaTM
tool, which can navigate other unpiggable features, such as dual
and tri diameters, bore restrictions and low flow.

The challenge
Figure 3. Sensitivity of magnetic flux leakage (MFL) technology Recent high profile pipeline failures have encouraged increased
to pipeline defect orientation.
regulatory scrutiny over pipeline integrity assessment and

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areas of metal loss, while high resolution geometry data allows
engineers to calculate stress concentration factors and build finite
element models of individual dents to demonstrate fitness for
Competing inspection technologies can be evaluated not
only by comparing the cost of inspection, site preparation and
mechanical setup, but also by examining what can be done with
the data after the inspection. Discussions about ILI often focus
on data quality, precision of measurement and statistics about
Figure 4. Pipeline damage featuring a large area of general
metal loss.
flaws of a variety of depths. While these are important and easily
quantifiable, for a pipeline operator the most crucial decisions
come down to the ability to safely operate the pipeline and to
spend maintenance budgets efficiently.
Gathering a high quality data set from an inspection allows for
enhanced planning and management of a pipeline system.

The growing challenge

By inspecting hundreds of lines that were previously termed
‘unpiggable’, and with significant strides being made to develop
solutions for the unpiggable over the last decade, a new challenge
has arisen. It is no longer enough to be able to navigate extreme
pipeline geometries alone.
Across the pipeline industry, operators’ demands have led
to a focus on the ability to not just locate, but also accurately
identify and size small diameter defects that are classified as
pitting or pinhole corrosion. Thus, operators are challenging ILI
service providers to both navigate pipelines and acquire data that
Figure 5. ILI coverage resolution illustration. is detailed and accurate.
The POF chart shown in Figure 2 is a common reference for
standardising and categorising the capabilities of ILI vendors’
tools. It is not enough to merely identify small diameter defects.
Operators require accurate information to allow for a prioritised
repair plan. Accurate depth measurements allow dig programmes
to be more cost-effective, with corrosion growth analysis and
engineering assessments being enhanced.
A pit within a pit requires ever-increasing resolution to
identify and quantify accurately. With reference to the POF chart,
while the larger anomaly may be classified as pitting or general
corrosion, the critical part of this defect is well within the pinhole
While the POF classification chart is a useful first cut at
classifying pipeline anomaly types, its general definitions are
Figure 6. This Quest Integrity test loop illustrates the evolution
of digital imaging. tied to older methods of MFL flaw boxing and identification. As
illustrated in Figure 3, the orientation of anomalies in a pipeline is
key when analysing or processing the data from an MFL inspection.
management. The consequences of potential failures mean Other technologies, such as ultrasonics, are not nearly as sensitive
that operators cannot selectively manage different parts of to flaw orientation. Detection and sizing capabilities are a
their pipeline systems with variable attention. While regulatory function of the total size of the anomaly, as well as tool sampling
compliance may be achieved by hydrotesting some lines, this frequency.
testing will not provide a complete picture of the condition of However, when it comes to sizing and characterising anomalies
a pipeline. ILI now allows operators to gather a large amount of appropriately, all ILI technologies are sensitive to the size of the
inspection data about systems that they were previously able to deepest part of the anomaly.
obtain very little or incomplete information. Figure 4 shows a large area of general metal loss that is
As well as collecting information about a wider range of easily detectable by all modern ILI tools. In order to correctly
pipeline systems, the quality and resolution of data is also characterise and prioritise such an anomaly, the ILI tool must be
enhancing. While many high resolution inspection technologies able to resolve the deepest area of corrosion. In this case, the
can accurately size the length and depth of a flaw, it is now deepest area is a pit within a pit that is less than 0.04 in. dia.
possible to go beyond basic flaw dimensions. High resolution wall Correct identification and sizing of deep small diameter areas
thickness data allows for Level 2 (effective area) assessments on drives ILI technology development.

28 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

As illustrated in Figure 5, the coverage resolution of an ILI pipe radii, taps, tees, valves and other restrictions that are
tool is defined by its inspection grid or the density of data characteristic of unpiggable and challenging pipelines.
measurements acquired in both the axial direction (along the The industry would also want a tool that requires minimal
pipe axis) and circumferential direction (around the circular pipe onsite setup time that is easy to launch and receive.
axis). This inspection grid is one of the primary components Flow conditions in challenging pipelines can be hard to
in determining how small of a flaw can be detected with a control. A next generation tool would need to be able to
particular ILI tool. The finer the grid spacing, the smaller the navigate and gather a complete dataset along with a range of
minimum detectable flaw size. flow velocities, often during one inspection run. As well as
Grid size is the primary driver of an ILI tool’s probability of providing operation security and confidence, a bidirectional
detection capabilities. To achieve measurement success on a flaw pipeline camera would allow for inspection of lines that end in a
that is 0.2 x 0.2 in. (the reference size for a pinhole defect in the tee or pipe vault.
POF specification), a minimum grid resolution would need to be However, each of these ease of use or navigation
on the order of 0.08 x 0.08 in. or greater. considerations still require a camera to take high resolution
images of the pipeline. It was not until small digital cameras
Looking ahead began to take pictures on par with bulkier film cameras that they
For all intents and purposes, an ILI tool is very much like a became truly ubiquitous.
camera taking pictures along the inside of the pipeline. Thus, for The inspection data collected from an ILI run is key to
illustrative purposes, let us use a digital camera analogy. ILI tools a pipeline operator. The data helps to enhance operator
follow a similar path to digital cameras with regards to increased confidence, drive repair plans and prevent a loss of containment.
resolution. In lines where small diameter pitting and pinhole type defects
When cameras first became commercially available, their are a concern, quality and resolution of the ILI inspection data is
resolution was subpar to film media. However, as digital essential. The anomaly shown in Figure 2 is an example of where
technology progressed, pixel resolutions increased to rival – and we need a high resolution digital zoom to take a truly useful and
eventually surpass – that of standard film. Increased resolution clear picture of the pipeline.
brought crisper, more detailed images.
ILI tools of yesterday struggled to collect data on the Conclusion
bottom 30% of a pipe’s surface and to navigate. Similar to Since the pipeline industry now has ILI tools that can navigate
cameras, today’s ILI tools are moving forward in resolution, the most difficult of pipelines, there is a new focus on ensuring
accuracy and repeatability. Higher resolution ILI tools are that these tools return with as high a quality of picture as
becoming more commercially available and offer enhanced possible to highlight the condition of each pipeline that is
quantifiable images and measurements, as illustrated in Figure 6. inspected. While ILI tools must be able to navigate past back to
For piggable pipelines, ILI tools offer sizing of anomalies just back mitre bends and buckles, they must also be able to detect
0.4 in. across and identification of anomalies with diameters of and size small diameter pitting that lies between the mitres.
as small as 0.25 in. However, achieving this type of resolution As designers of ILI tools that enter some of the most difficult
requires multiple sensor carriers on long, heavy tools. This tool pipelines, solving this challenge is what pipeline operators require
design means that trade-offs are required, such as sacrificing the and demand. In today’s environment of increasing regulatory
tool’s ease of use and navigability. scrutiny, the industry must strive towards obtaining the best
Most desirable would be a short tool consisting of one or pipeline pictures in even the most challenging environments. The
two modules, containing hundreds of MFL or UT sensors and demand for ever improving data, ease of use and navigational
that was still lightweight and flexible enough to be hand carried ability is a challenge that was introduced by the formerly
in the field, while also able to navigate tight bends, multiple unpiggable pipelines.

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With a proper
pigging programme,
operators can avoid
downtime and boost
productivity. Barbara
Belzer Adams, T.D.
Williamson, USA,
describes how.

t might seem odd to think
of pipeline pigs – those flow
assurance warriors that keep
pipelines clean and well
maintained – as easygoing or forgiving.
The truth is, not every pipeline
cleaning pig is equipped with stiff
steel brushes for forceful scraping or
Some pigs have a gentler side, such
as those made from urethane foam.
These have just the right amount of
‘oomph’ to thoroughly remove paraffin
and other soft foreign matter. Then
there are inflatable pigs, which are
used to remove liquid hydrocarbons
and water from pipelines and piping
systems. There is even a class of easy
to run pigs that are designed to assure
operators that other pigs will be able
to traverse the pipeline without getting
stuck and stopping product flow.
In fact, there is a pig to tackle
almost any pipeline maintenance
and integrity task, from cleaning and
batching to inline inspection (ILI). This
makes the pig selection process fairly
intuitive. However, it is possible to run

the wrong pig on the wrong schedule. For his reason, any of growing international demand for US-produced natural
operator’s pigging plan has to take variables like pipeline gas liquids (NGLs), pigs that displace liquids (separating NGL
product, infrastructure capacity, pigging technology and condensates from wellhead production gas or wet gas so
pigging frequency into consideration. Without this insight, they can be processed and marketed) help operators take
unanticipated difficulties may arise and can sometimes be advantage of a lucrative opportunity.
severe. Many operators are not equipped to create the ideal
That was the experience of the operator of a multiphase pigging programme on their own. However, they should not
pipeline in the US, whose overly aggressive pigging plan really have to as their expertise lies in transporting product
to displace liquids on a 145 km (90 mile) segment caused safely to the refinery or consumer, not in the nitty-gritty
a number of serious concerns, including flooding the two details of pigs, launchers, receivers and tracking equipment.
downstream plants every three days or so. When this That is why partnering with a qualified pipeline services
happened, the only remedy was to take the entire system company makes good operational and economic sense. In
offline, drain down the pipeline condensate collection this case, the operator contracted T.D. Williamson (TDW) to
systems, evacuate the pipeline receiving systems using a better align its pigging programme with prevailing conditions.
vacuum truck, then bring everything back into operation. Its goals were to prevent flooding and downtime, keep
However, because the operator did not adjust the pigging wellhead pressure constant, control condensate recovery
schedule after the system was restarted, the pattern – and do all of this without requiring additional maintenance
pigging, flooding and two day shutdowns – persisted. personnel.
To stop the cycle, the operator worked with a pipeline
services company to create a more appropriate pigging Too much, too often
programme. After modifying the schedule and deploying For this operator, the difficulties began after expansion of
tools that were better suited for the pipeline conditions, the a 145 km (90 mile) segment of a multiphase pipeline. The
operator was able to: project added five sections: three that extended the reach of
) Stabilise flow conditions to prevent unscheduled, the trunk pipeline and two that tied in as branches along the
expensive downtime. gathering route. The additions increased the total length of
the system to 354 km (220 miles).
) Reduce wellhead back pressure, which eased wellhead To control the load, displace liquids, and recover
flow restriction and enabled additional production. condensates from the original segment, the operator
developed a pigging regimen based on a few easily
) Take smaller bites of pipeline condensate hold-up to stay
well within the operational design limits of the receiving measureable metrics and an understanding of historic
end knockout equipment. conditions. For convenience, the operator tailored existing
access points for pigging and conformed to an established
maintenance timetable. The schedule called for launching an
Beyond cleaning: capturing condensates aggressive mandrel pig every two or three days. A mandrel
Pipeline pigging plays a fundamental role in the normal pig is a steel-bodied pig that can be configured with
maintenance of oil and natural gas systems. However, its different components to meet particular needs.
benefits go far beyond keeping things neat and tidy. Unfortunately, the pigging frequency did not take into
In addition to staving off the costly consequences of account the amount of liquids produced, the capacity of the
corrosion and contaminants, properly planned pigging can receiving equipment, or back pressure across the pipe. Lee
help operators boost productivity, performance and safety. Shouse, Manager of TDW Global Applications Engineering,
Pigging maintains throughput and improves the accuracy of explains that because more liquids were displaced than the
ILI results, enhancing integrity efforts. Moreover, in a period infrastructure capacity could handle, flooding was inevitable
and caused cascading problems.
“For example, the associated downtime and buildup
of liquids in the pipeline increased the flow differential
in the pipe section, which in turn increased wellhead
back pressure to 76 bar (1100 psig),” he says. This meant
the pipeline system was running at the maximum
operating pressure while the amount of product the
wells could deliver to the pipe segments was reduced.
On top of that, unscheduled shutdowns and uneven
production rates created uncertainty about how much
condensate was actually being produced each day. There
was no way to properly anticipate or plan for production
issues or develop appropriate control parameters for
the liquids recovery equipment either. Shouse notes that
because of these problems, the operator started to get
Figure 1. An example pipeline system.
the impression that pigging operations are bad and that

32 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017


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Innovation based. Employee owned. Expect more.
they less they did it, the better it would be. Of course, that idled equipment to a transport system, which created a
idea has significant drawbacks. potentially hazardous environment for personnel.”

Matching the pig to the production Automation caps personnel expenses

Not only could less frequent pigging negatively affect Taking a page from the less-is-more handbook, TDW
pipeline maintenance, in this case it would reduce the developed a conservative solution that replaced the
amount of valuable condensates being captured, which is heavy mandrel pigs with lighter weight, inflatable spheres
just like leaving money on the table. Displacing less liquid designed for displacement and batching. Because the
would definitely expose the pipeline to the possibility of spheres displace approximately 35% less liquid than the
major corrosion issues in the future. mandrel pigs did, they are run more frequently, every
Troy Geren, TDW Senior Product Manager, Pigging 6 - 8 hrs. The new plan also called for clearance check pigs,
Technology, states: “The operator recognised that the which confirm condensate clearance from the pipe section,
pigging programme could not be abandoned altogether. to be launched every other day.
What they needed was an effective plan that returned TDW also automated most of the pig launching
control over processes, kept the volume of displaced equipment and receiving procedures so the operator
liquids consistent and within the operating limits of the could execute the pigging programme without adding
existing equipment, and matched the type of pig and maintenance personnel.
pigging frequency to the production moving through the “We installed launchers that release multiple pigs one
pipeline.” at a time along each of the three pipeline segments,” Geren
In other words, they needed what TDW refers to as the explains. “Technicians manually load the spheres, which are
‘pigging for purpose’ approach, which in this case started then automatically launched. The clearance check pigs are
by systematically investigating each of the conditions manually loaded and launched. Being able to load multiple
contributing to the problem. spheres minimises trips to the remote launcher, reduces
Shouse notes: “Our first step was to understand the labour requirements and increases manpower efficiency.”
receiving system capabilities. We used design criteria to
determine that the receiver and knockout system could Progressive pigging maximises throughput
catch about 1500 - 2000 bbls of liquid at one time and The concept of running multiple pigging tools in the same
still maintain operational flow capabilities. However, line consecutively – in this case, urethane foam pigs and
the volume of condensate production was well beyond spheres – is not revolutionary or novel, but it is extremely
that volume, and the ‘slug’ of liquids was causing the effective. In fact, through what’s known as progressive
downstream plants to flood as a part of normal operations. pigging, operators can overcome a number of pipeline
The condensate had to be manually transferred from issues, reduce operational risk and maximise throughput.
According to Geren, progressive
pigging uses a variety of tools to clean
a pipeline to a level that satisfies the
expectations of the owner or operator
before proceeding with the next step

1 FOAM in the maintenance process.

Foam pigs are inexpensive and indispensable, providing operators with valuable information
regarding the condition and piggability of their line. Collapsible and resilient, a visual inspection of a

“In progressive pigging, a series

foam pig at the end of the run will often determine the next step in the progressive process.
means pipeline operators are losing
of pigs is launched in sequence, profit and increasing operational risk.
To mitigate these unnecessary losses

beginning with the least aggressive

and maximize pipeline throughput, the
industry relies on progressive pigging.

2 CHEMICAL pig, which is often one made of

Chemical batching is achieved by injecting a chemical slug between two urethane pigs,
intended to lessen the cohesion of any contaminants or debris that have become attached to the pipe
wall. The discs of the batching pigs will also help disrupt the debris before and after the chemical slug.
Due to the variety of complex factors
unique to each pipeline, development and

urethane foam that is used to prove

implementation of a progressive program
can be challenging. To help simplify the
process, the program can be divided into
pigs can pass through the pipeline,”
four basic steps: Foam, Chemical, Urethane,
and Specialty. Inclusion and order of the

he explains. “Each additional run steps and specific pigs will vary depending
on the particular line conditions.

3 URETHANE uses a tougher pig, for example, up

Urethane pigs are where “progressive” really comes into play. These pigs can range
from simple molded urethane with cups and then discs, to very aggressive, steel-bodied pigs with an array
of molded urethane cups and discs, and hundreds or even thousands of steel pencil brushes.
to ultra-aggressive steel-bodied pigs
with spring-loaded steel mandrels for >30% Flow Reduction
>100% More Pressure

removing corrosion deposits within

4 SPECIALTY internal pitting, or jet or spray pigs for
The unique challenges of pipeline operators often require a unique solution,
such as ultra-aggressive steel-bodied pigs with spring-loaded steel mandrels (for removing corrosion
deposits within internal pitting), and jet or spray pigs (for debris suspension and removal).

debris suspension and removal.”

10% Flow Reduction
30% More Pressure

Each pig in the sequence must CLEAN PIPE

No Flow Reduction

achieve cleanliness standards based Standard Pressure

upon the amount of pipeline liquids,

scale, debris, or solids received
Figure 2. The right pigs and more launching stations increased production and before the next pig is launched. If the
eliminated downstream flooding. cleaning acceptance criteria is not

34 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

met, then the run is repeated or an even less aggressive ) No unscheduled shutdowns or lost production – or
cleaning pig is launched. The process is repeated until the the labour costs associated with them.
acceptance criteria or customer cleanliness standards are
met. ) Increasingly stable flow conditions, with little or no
surging. The pipeline’s pressure management systems
are less likely to develop stress from pressure and
Sustainable long term benefits
flowrate cycling.
Due to the conditions affecting any particular pipeline,
developing a pigging programme – progressive or ) Low levels of liquid buildup and less back pressure
otherwise – can be challenging. But for this operator, mean operations at the receiver are smoother and
the results were clearly worth the time and effort. By more predictable.
incorporating appropriate pigs, more launching stations
and better scheduling, condensate in the pipe segments ) There is less potential for corrosion because the two
is now more consistent. Instead of roughly 2000 bpd of phase regions of the pipeline are swept clear of liquids.
condensate being displaced all at once, the total is now ) Because proper maintenance is applied as needed,
divided into more manageable 500 - 600 bbl displacement launchers and receivers stay in peak condition and
run portions. Receiving station equipment can easily catch just minimal pipeline cleaning will be required prior to
the liquid without being inundated and flooding, reducing smart tool inspection.
the expectations that a shutdown will be required for
each pig run. Best of all, a reduction in wellhead pressure ) Pigging data is reliable.
from 76 bar (1100 psig) to 72 bar (1050 psig) has enabled an
increase in production of approximately 5 million ft3/d of Whether they are used for cleaning, batching, gauging
gas from the wellheads with no additional work. or, in this case, liquids displacement, pipeline pigs have
Under the modified pigging pattern, the operator has specific functions, and a mismatch between the tool and
realised a number of sustainable benefits, including: the job can be serious and costly.
) Increased operating efficiency. The pipeline continues On the flip side, a properly designed pigging for
to achieve maximum throughput potential based on purpose programme can tick off all the boxes on an
supply. operator’s checklist. The proof is in the pigging.
Giorgio Martelli, Gianmichele Pace and David York,
Saipem, Australia, recall the challenges of the longest
subsea pipeline down under; the Ichthys LNG project’s
gas export pipeline.

he Ichthys gas field is located offshore Western Australia,
some 440 km north of Broome and 800 km southwest of
Darwin, in permit area WA-285-P in approximately 250 m
(latitude) of water.
The INPEX-led Ichthys LNG project includes a central processing
facility (CPF) and a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO)
facility, along with a number of satellite drilling centres consisting of
manifold/subsea wells tied back to the CPF. Additional facilities to
separate the gas, condensate and water, gas dehydration facilities (water

dew point only), gas export compression and facilities for the pipes on board cargo barges that provided a continuous supply to
transfer of condensate/produced water to the FPSO, are also Semac 1. Safety was enhanced by the use of cranage, decreasing
planned. the manual intervention required for pipe handling.
Offshore development includes the 882 km, 42 in. offshore The CastorOne was mobilised in January 2015 to complete
gas export pipeline, which will transfer the gas to the LNG the remaining 714 km of pipeline and is one of the most
process plant at Bladin Point (Darwin). advanced pipelay vessels currently operating worldwide. The
Saipem mobilised a dedicated team in Perth (Western majority of the Australian construction crew that worked on
Australia) throughout the duration of the project. The company the Semac 1 were joined by additional workers in Singapore in
also set up specialised offices and logistic bases around the world order to achieve the average 640 crew members needed for the
in order to support safe completion of project team activities, project. This allowed workers to become familiar with the vessel,
which included installation engineering, procurement, technology especially with its state-of-the-art and technically complex
process qualification, fabrication, transportation, installation and equipment and different work stations, ahead of the vessel’s
mechanical completion of the pipeline system. arrival in Australia. Saipem took this initiative to ensure the entire
crew was settled and familiar with their work environment prior
Execution to the start of physical pipelay operations. It is believed that this
The execution phase started in Darwin, where an important contributed to the excellent safety record of the pipelay scope.
portion of the project was performed. While a logistics and
supply base was set up in close proximity to Darwin Port’s East Welding operations
Arm Wharf to manage consumables and all of the requirements In early February, CastorOne recovered the pipeline section
for the offshore fleet, a subcontractor was used for excavation laid by Semac 1 and progressed with line welding operations.
of the trench through Darwin Harbour and for the preparation of The pipelay production rate was quickly ramped up so that by
the shore crossing and shore pull winch. the time the entire crew had performed
Moreover, planning required four live Ichthys LNG project’s gas export pipeline in at least one work rotation, the lay-rate
cables to be crossed along the pipeline numbers exceeded the previous rate achieved by
route during the pipelay campaign in Kilometres of pipe installed 882 CastorOne on previous projects.
Darwin Harbour. Therefore, concrete Tonnes of pipe transported 1 217 800 Operations were affected on two
mattresses were installed either side of Linear metres of offshore occasions by cyclone weather events.
247 500
the existing cables in order to bridge circumferential welding performed Saipem’s preparedness for these was
the pipe over them. These mattresses Tonnes of rock placed on pipe for evident in the seamless implementation
587 500
were installed and surveyed using a protection of a critical weather event management
subcontracted construction support Cubic metres of treated seawater plan, which ensured that CastorOne and
725 000
vessel. used for hydrotesting her crew could safely suspend operations
The Saipem semi-submersible pipelay Individual offshore crew changes 9000 in a timely manner, secure the pipeline and
barge, Semac 1, arrived in Darwin Harbour navigate away from the potentially critical
in June 2014 following major upgrade weather.
works in Singapore. She performed a Pipelay operations involved the
3 km longshore pull, pipelaying inside welding of ‘triple joints’ (12 m pipe joints
the trenched section of the harbour into 36 m lengths). This was performed
and crossing of the four power/ in the pre-fabrication area of the vessel.
communications cables within the harbour Welding and field joint coatings (FJC) were
too, before finally abandoning the pipe at completed and the triple joints were then
a water depth of 60 m. transferred to the vessel’s main firing line.
A complex logistic system for the safe There, the triple joints were welded onto
transportation of the pipe joints provided the pipeline in three welding stations using
by INPEX, each weighing more than 20 t, Saipem’s proprietary automatic welding
was likewise set up. Bulk carrier vessels system, which uses a mechanised gas
of 30 000 t deadweight were used to metal arc welding (GMAW) technique.
transport the concrete coated pipesthat Six welders operating four welding bugs
weighed up to 26 t each, from coating worked at each station to achieve the
yards in Kuantan (Malaysia) and Batam optimum welding rate, and each weld
(Indonesia) to a transhipment location in was ultrasonically tested to ensure there
Kupang (Indonesia), strategically located were no defects. The welds were finally
close to the pipeline route. The Kupang anti-corrosion coated using 3-layer
transhipment location had a wharf heat shrinkable sleeves before being
purposely upgraded for the Ichthys mechanically protected by the application
LNG project, and Saipem mobilised a of a polyurethane foam infill.
specialised crane with a hydraulically Figure 1. Saipem’s proprietary SWS welding At peak production, the pipelay rate
operated spreader bar to tranship the system. exceeded 4.5 km in a single day and the

38 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

weld repair rate over the entire pipeline installation was below Management and installation
the industry standard. Alongside the excellent logistics planning and execution, the
To facilitate the pipelay, an immense logistics operation rotation of the CastorOne crew was a carefully managed
ensured that CastorOne was continuously supplied with over and controlled operation. Since CastorOne laid the pipeline
300 joints of pipe per day, plus materials, spares, consumables further away from Darwin, helicopters were no longer
and provisions throughout the installation period. The line able to cover the distance with commercial payloads. To
pipe transportation supply chain incorporated experienced accommodate this limitation, a complex system of fixed
teams located in Kuantan, Batam and Kupang. The joints were wing flights to Truscott airbase in the north of Western
transferred directly from bulk carriers to dynamically positioned Australia and transfer onto awaiting helicopters allowed
pipe supply vessels. The transhipment team co-ordinated and the 45 member crew to be constantly changed on a daily
loaded out line pipe 24 hrs/d for over nine months and, as a basis. INPEX Logistics worked closely with Saipem to ensure
result, CastorOne never ran short of pipe. that fixed wing and helicopter schedules were integrated,
resulting in no significant flight delays throughout the nine
month campaign.
During the pipelay, CastorOne installed INPEX supplied
hot tap tees and inline spools for future gas production
expansions. The inclusion of these inline structures only
had a marginal effect on the production rate and all the
structures were installed within the target box locations,
with the help of CastorOne’s own remotely operated
vehicles (ROVs).
Simultaneously, along with the CastorOne pipeline
installation, Saipem’s Field Development Ship (FDS) was also
mobilised to Australia in order to install the subsea structures
of Ichthys project’s pipeline end termination (PLET) in the field.
The FDS installed four structures weighing over 100 t in water
depths exceeding 250 m, with an accuracy of less than 1 m. In
addition, 14 Saipem procured steel and concrete counteracts
Figure 2. A FJC station.
were installed to enable CastorOne to lay the 42 in. pipeline
around the tight final curves of the route. The FDS campaign
was completed on a very aggressive schedule, which saw her
performing simultaneous operations with third-party vessels in
the Ichthys field.

Final laydown
The final 6 km of the Ichthys 42 in. gas export pipeline route
were the most complex to install. The routing was located
between and over a number of newly installed flowlines. The
tight radius curves and uncertainty in on-seabed lateral bend
stability meant that CastorOne had to lay with continuous
monitoring of the touchdown point. The welding acceptance
criteria for this area was also enhanced to account for the
Figure 3. A flooding, cleaning and gauging station. INPEX lateral buckling design.
The final laydown incorporated a large ‘laydown
assembly’, which included an INPEX-supplied diverless
connector clamp for the future tie-in of the spool to a
riser base. This large connector clamp required temporary
polyurethane shrouds to cover it in order to assist with
the passage of the assembly through the CastorOne firing
line and over the stinger. The shrouds then needed to be
removed subsea once the assembly was out of the stinger
and recovered to deck.
The laydown assembly installation required extremely
tight tolerances (<0.75 m and <0.5˚ heading) in the PLET
structure, which had been installed beforehand by the FDS.
A large long baseline seabed survey array consisting of over
30 transponders was used to assist in accurately positioning
the pipeline along its final routing and into the PLET position.
Figure 4. A hydrotesting station. Thanks to the team’s skillful planning and co-ordination efforts,

40 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

the laydown assembly was positioned with pin-point accuracy variations recorded during this extremely long hold period
and CastorOne disconnected the abandonment wire, thus were well within allowable limits defined by DNV.
completing construction of the longest subsea pipeline in the These successful mechanical completion works were a
southern hemisphere. major achievement for Saipem, since they represented the
world’s longest flooding, cleaning and gauging pig run in a
Mechanical completion stage single section, along with pressure testing.
Following completion of the pipeline installation and post-
lay construction activities, works on the line moved onto the Conclusion
mechanical completion stage. The pipeline was first flooded In conclusion, Saipem’s contribution allowed the first major
with chemically treated seawater, before being cleaned and package for one of Ichthys’ three mega projects to be
gauged in preparation for the pressure test. Operations were completed. This was safely accomplished using Saipem’s state-
performed utilising the equipment spread temporarily set up at of-the-art equipment and engineering, together with a team
the landfall site by Darwin. consisting of a mix of Australian and international workers and
At the landfall site, a flooding spread capable of subcontractors whose outstanding performance was a key
delivering up to 2500 m3/hr at a pressure of 30 bar was factor that supported success.
installed. The spread was comprised of
numerous piping manifolds and hoses,
several filtration stages, transfer pumps,
break tanks, chemical dosing units, main
flooding pumps and various instruments
that supplied critical information about the
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gauging bidirectional pigs and two calliper some of the world’s most difficult terrain, for decades Pipeline
pigs, was propelled from a temporary pig Inspection Company has understood the rigors of pipeline
launcher at the landfall to a temporary construction. Our SPY® Holiday Detectors have been buried,
subsea receiver head at the PLET location. dropped from great heights, run over and even submerged
during the course of pipeline holiday detection operations
Throughout flooding operations a constant
pig train velocity of 0.5 m/sec. was
maintained. The pig train reached the other When your project takes you to the extremes, rely on
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Recovery of the pig train confirmed that
the pipeline was intact and exceptionally
clean with a negligible amount of
construction debris inside. This was the
result of stringent quality control measures
in prefabrication stations on board Semac 1
and CastorOne where each double/triple
joint was cleaned and inspected before being
sent to the firing line. Gauge plates did not
indicate any presence of obstructions to the
pipeline bore. This was later confirmed by
verifying the data collected by the calliper
Upon completion of flooding, the low
pressure pig launcher at the landfall and
the subsea receiver were replaced with high
pressure closures, making the Ichthys pipeline
ready for the system pressure test.
A high pressure pumping spread capable
of delivering up to 4000 l/min. of water
at 400 bar pressure was used to pressurise
Ichthys’ gas export pipeline to its test
pressure exceeding 230 bar.
In accordance with the client’s
specifications, the pipeline was subjected to
a 14 day hold period at test pressure. Pressure
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Tim Ross, P. Eng., PureHM, Canada, details how remote
tracking allowed a major pipeline operator to monitor ILI pigs
more safely on its natural gas transmission pipelines.

n recent years, pipelines that transport critical energy resources have come under
increased scrutiny from governments, interest groups and private citizens who
are concerned about the environmental risks of a pipeline rupture.
The increased publicity surrounding pipelines has led to more pressure being
placed on companies that own pipelines to ensure they are operated as safely as
possible. It has also led to strong opposition to the construction of new pipelines,
which would increase energy output and capacity.
While investing in research of renewables and alternative energy sources is an
important long term initiative, the transportation of energy through pipelines to meet
current demand is crucial to both the economy and communities. Moreover, despite
the conventional belief that pipelines are dangerous, they are in fact the safest and
most efficient way of transporting energy resources.
To put this into perspective, it would take thousands of tanker trucks operating
24 hrs/d to replicate the output of a single transmission pipeline. Not only would this
pose a massive risk of a spill and be nearly impossible logistically, it would also leave
a huge environmental footprint from the vehicles that would be required to transport
the products.

Keeping pipelines safe pipeline integrity programme. One way of increasing staff safety
There are over 1 million miles of energy pipelines in North is by reducing the number of people in the field where possible.
America, which are owned and operated by hundreds of This, in turn, reduces the amount of windshield time behind
different companies. In order to keep their pipelines functioning the wheel of a vehicle and the overall safety risk of the project.
safely, operators spend huge amounts of money on pipeline To trial this approach, the company decided to pilot a new
integrity programmes each year in order to reduce the solution for field tracking the inline inspection (ILI) tools it used.
risks associated with transporting energy products. These Originally developed in the 1960s, ILI has been the most
programmes use a variety of aboveground and inline tools, commonly used form of pipeline integrity since the 1990s. ILI
which can identify damage on pipelines before it leads to a spill. tools (or ‘pigs’ – named with reference to the squealing sound
While operators leverage third-party technology for pipeline they make while traversing the pipeline) are regularly used for
integrity, most solutions require the owner or technology everything from cleaning a pipeline to assessing its condition
vendor to have individuals working on the pipeline in the field. for geometric defects, cracks, corrosion, dents and even small
This comes with an inherent safety risk. leaks.
Pipelines often run through remote areas and operate
continuously. Particularly during the winter months, access is a The importance of ILI pig tracking
major burden on field staff and contractors. Moreover, access While ILI tools are technologically advanced, their resulting
has made working conditions and safety a principle priority data is of little value without having the ability to locate the
for pipeline owners. Even if staff are third-party contractors, identified defects on the pipeline. This is made possible by
reducing safety incidents during pipeline projects helps maintain having time and position reference points that are provided by
the reputation of the pipeline owner. aboveground tracking and benchmarking of the inspection tools
For one major North American pipeline company, increasing as they progress through the pipeline. This service tends to be
field staff safety has become a major internal priority within its provided by a third-party.
Tracking pigs is relatively simple; each time the pig passes
a predetermined location, the exact GPS synchronised time is
noted and reported to the pipeline owner. It is a crucial part
of an ILI programme and can represent as much as 25% of the
cost of inspecting a pipeline.
The reason tracking is so key is that if the pig gets lost or
stuck in the pipeline, it can cause damage to valves or other
appurtenances, or cause a lengthy shutdown. This could, in
turn, result in millions of dollars of lost revenue for the pipeline
Although pipelines that transport oil and gas are both
inspected using pigs, the product being transported often
dictates the frequency and type of inspection undertaken.
However, oil and gas bring their own sets of challenges with
regards to tracking ILI tools during a run.
Figure 1. The Armadillo AGM tracks pigs with up to seven
sensors, providing greater reliability than other tracking
While the operator in this pilot programme transports both
methods. oil and gas, it targeted some of its gas pipelines to pilot the
new pig tracking solution. This was because gas pipelines are
more challenging to track and could benefit from an advanced

The challenges of gas pipelines

A key challenge when tracking pigs in gas pipelines is that the ILI
tools move significantly faster than in liquid lines. In some cases,
pigs travel at up to 15 km/hr in gas lines, compared to as low as
1.5 km/hr in liquid lines. This makes it difficult to track the tool
safely, as the tracker needs to get from site to site before the
pig does. However, trackers are restricted by roads and traffic. If
the tool’s speed suddenly increases or the tracking site takes a
long time to access, this can lead to an unsafe situation called
‘pig chasing’, where the tracker is rushing from site to site to
keep up with the pig. This is particularly dangerous during high
traffic times, in urban environments or bad weather. To mitigate
Figure 2. Armadillo LiveMap is a web-based platform that this, the owner can introduce additional trackers to the field
provides real time viewing of a pig’s position during an ILI run. – in some cases one or two extra trackers per shift. While this

44 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

prevents chasing, it significantly increases the overall cost of During the inspection, the pig is monitored by a remote
tracking. tracker in a control centre using a web-based software that
Another challenge when pigging gas pipelines is when a pig shows its current position, speed and other relevant details. The
gets stuck. When this happens, it poses a more significant risk software can provide automatic updates and notifications on
than when one gets stuck in a liquid line. This is because when speed changes and pig passages. Tracking pigs remotely is much
stuck in a gas line, the pressure and speed of the product builds safer than using multiple field technicians to ensure that the pig
up behind the pig. This can, in turn, cause the pig to shoot off reaches each site.
like a rocket. This is not as significant a risk in liquid lines that In addition to removing the need for field staff, the remote
have lower pressure and speeds. To ensure that a pig does not tracking AGM also provides greater reliability than traditional
get stuck, it is crucial to continuously know the location of tracking, which is typically conducted using a standard hand-held
the pig while it is in a gas line. Then, the operator can make geophone and requires an experienced tracker to identify a pig
adjustments to make sure that the pig becomes unstuck. passage. The Armadillo AGM records each pig passage with up
Finally, a greater number of tools are used in gas pipeline ILI to seven sensors – three magnetic sensors, three 22 Hz sensors
projects because operators need to run cleaning pigs through and one geophone. This ensures that the pig has passed each
the line before using other tools. This process ensures that more location and provides a snapshot of the pig passage signal for
advanced pigs will not get stuck. Typically, gas operators only record keeping.
put one pig in the pipeline at a time for safety reasons, unlike During the pilot programme, the pig’s speed reached up to
liquid lines where a gap of an hour or two between each pig is 15 km/hr. As expected, this posed a challenge for the remote
common. With longer wait times, this means that there are more tracking team and would have been impossible to track without
tools and inspection days in each gas pipeline ILI project, which, the use of several trackers. However, since the runs were tracked
in turn, increases the cost of the project. remotely, it allowed for quick flexibility through the addition of
extra remote trackers to ensure the pig was tracked at each site.
Remote tracking pilot programme This would not have been possible with the traditional method
During the pilot programme, the pipeline owner selected 10 ILI as field trackers would have had to mobilise to the site after the
projects ranging in distance, from 25 - 400 km in length. Each run had begun, leaving the potential for a missed or lost pig.
project also featured a different number of ILI tools, ranging from
a one to nine pigs. To track the pigs within the pilot programme, Increasing safety and reducing cost
the operator used PureHM’s Armadillo remote tracking solution, For the pipeline operator, the purpose of the pilot programme
which allows a pig to be tracked without the use of field staff was to assess a new solution that limited the safety risks during
during the run. a pig tracking programme by reducing the number of staff in
In a remote tracking project, aboveground markers (AGM) the field. In terms of safety, remote tracking reduced risk and
and remote tracking units (RTU) are pre-deployed and tested provided a much safer solution than conventional tracking.
at the tracking sites before the inspection begins. This allows In total, tracking the 10 ILI projects remotely saved 2613 hrs
each site to be accessed safely without the pressure of the of technician time in the field and 2565 vehicle hours. It also
pig catching up. Before the pig is launched the boxes can be reduced the amount of time spent driving, which was a priority
remotely activated at each site to track the pig’s location. The for the operator as this is a significant safety risk.
RTU communicates through both a satellite or cell network, Beyond an improvement in safety, reducing the dependence
which allows the AGM to be activated and the pig to be tracked on field staff also allowed the operator to save a significant
from one of PureHM’s control centres. amount of money by lowering the costs associated with field
staff. For the 10 ILI runs, the operator was able to save 32%
compared to the conventional tracking estimates, while also
increasing tracking reliability.
In addition to reducing risk and the cost of tracking, the
remote tracking solution provided the auxiliary benefit of a
reduced environmental footprint. For many pipeline operators
battling negative public perception, limiting the environmental
impact of their operations can help to enhance their reputation.
Remote tracking is not ideal for every ILI project. In general,
conventional tracking is still the most cost-effective solution
for short ILI runs with no safety or access risks and for ILI
projects that feature a single tool. However, for ILI projects
that feature multiple tools, tracking sites that are challenging
to access, or long inspection distances, remote tracking is
typically the best solution to ensure pigs are tracked safely,
accurately and less expensively. As the oil and gas industry
Figure 3. Tracking pigs remotely means that fewer teams are continues to promote innovative solutions, remote pig tracking
required in the field. This reduces the safety risk of an ILI is being adopted by many leading pipeline operators for their
project. ILI programmes.

46 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

Managing Pressure, Minimising Risk

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The BISEP™ offers significant safety advantages over traditional

line stop technology, the hydraulically activated dual seals provide
leak-tight isolation of live, pressurised pipelines.
Extending the life of

Mushaid Nauman, Penspen, Abu Dhabi,
outlines an integrity evaluation of a 70 year
old subsea pipeline.

ipelines can be viewed as the veins of
the oil and gas industry. They are
fixed assets with large capital costs
and are essential for petroleum
transportation. While pipelines may
appear to consume little energy
for transportation compared
with other structures (such as oil tankers), they
do still deteriorate over time. In days gone
by, pipelines were designed to operate
for 25 - 30 years; this is now being
referred to as ‘middle aged’ in pipeline
terms. Nowadays, thanks to recent
advancements in technology and
inspection, the operational life
of pipelines can be extended

to 40 years or more through a variety of methods and inspection and sample analysis plan; and recommendations
techniques. on monitoring parameters and sampling locations.
Considering the current and prolonged downturn Penspen initiated three methods of review and
in petroleum product prices, extending the lifespan of evaluation of the pipeline, which included hazard
an asset while also maintaining a high level of quality identification (HAZID), an internal corrosion direct
and safety is a sustainable and cost-effective option. assessment (ICDA) and an external corrosion direct
Consequently, operators are seeking benchmarked asset assessment (ECDA).
life extension practices made by integrity management Both the ICDA and ECDA methods can be used as
organisations, such as Penspen. alternatives to pigging and are performed in four stages:
Penspen carried out an integrity evaluation of a ) Pre-assessment – collection and evaluation of historical
65.95 km pipeline, which has been in operation in the data and pipeline characteristics.
Middle East for the past seven decades after being
constructed in 1945. Consisting of a 17.6 km onshore ) Indirect inspection – use of over the line survey
section, a tie-in section of 4.6 km and an offshore section techniques or internal flow and slope assessment to
measuring 43.78 km, the pipeline is used to transfer light determine high risk areas.
sweet crude oil to a refinery. It is coated with concrete and ) Direct examination – excavation and inspection.
tape wrap, with wall thickness ranging from 7.95 - 12.45 mm
and operating at 120˚F. The majority of the pipeline is ) Post-assessment – assessment of defects and definition
unpiggable. of repair and inspection plans.
This article highlights the methods used and outcomes
presented by Penspen to extend the life of both the The HAZID desktop exercise was carried out first to
offshore and onshore unpiggable pipeline sections that identify major threats to the pipeline, followed by ICDA
are currently in use for crude oil transportation. The and ECDA systematically in the four major steps above.
scope of work included: identification of credible hazards; The HAZID method was used as an initial risk assessment
assessment of the condition of the pipeline system of the pipeline and allowed risks to be measured both
using operational data, corrosion rate assessments and quantatively and qualitatively.
recommended practices; a recommended strategy for This initial test saved time and money by justifying
extending the life of the pipeline; a recommended future the recommendations made and improved safety by
allowing Penspen to target the specific requirements of the
evaluation. It also ensured that decisions were made
based on clear data that was collated from the test.
This HAZID review was followed by an ICDA,
which was implemented because there was only
a small quantity of data available to be reviewed.
The ICDA included an internal corrosion hazard
review, pipeline sectioning, National Association
of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) recommended ICDA
flow modelling, risk ranking, direct examination and
a post-assessment. This was then combined with
expert corrosion engineering judgment on assessing
the internal condition of the pipeline.
A pre-assessment of operational data indicated a
crude oil flowrate of 230 million bpd and a historic
pressure range of 500 - 600 psig between 2011 and
2013. The maximum flow velocity was recorded at
10 ft/sec. over the entire section of pipeline.
Figure 1. A specialised corrosion monitoring sump was recommended.
The corrosion hazard identification desktop
exercise identified credible corrosion hazards such as
carbonic acid corrosion, microbial induced corrosion
(MIC), erosion and under deposit corrosion.
Carbonic acid corrosion was credible and of high
risk due to the sweet crude product being carried
and some water content available in the pipeline.
This corrosion can appear in two principal forms:
pitting and mesa attack (a form of localised CO2
corrosion under medium flow conditions).
MIC had already been found in the pipeline in
Figure 2. The pipeline comprises onshore and offshore sections, the question, which could have been detrimental to
majority of which are unpiggable.
the pipeline’s integrity. MIC is a potential threat

50 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

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associated with hydrotesting due to the presence of As part of the ICDA, direct examination was carried out
bacteria or if the reservoir formation water contains on two subsea pipe sections. This examination included an
sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). Potential areas for MIC to ultrasonic thickness survey and a visual inspection.
occur are low spots, dead legs or from upstream plants, Post-internal corrosion assessment work included
which supply product into the pipeline. a direct examination analysis, a statistical evaluation, a
Erosion was located in the pipeline by comparing the corrosion rate estimate and the creation of failure models
internal corrosion anomalies in the piggable part and the for internal corrosion anomalies. At most locations, wall
wall thickness change on the same section. Erosion and thicknesses were found to be within acceptable limits
under deposit corrosion were evaluated based on the and the subsea pipeline was expected to be at low risk of
crude composition, product flow, pipeline profile, along failure by internal corrosion.
with the basic sediment and water content. Aggressive ECDA was carried out to enhance the safety of
flow regimes and changes in internal pressure or conditions the pipeline by managing the risk of corrosion failures
can damage the protective iron carbonate (FeCO3) scale on and minimising the cost of verification and repair. This
the pipe’s surface. assessment was carried out on both the onshore and
As part of the ICDA programme, indirect inspection offshore sections of the pipeline in this instance. As with
included low spots identification, microbiological any offshore pipeline system, there is a higher degree of
test results, a ranking of internal corrosion areas and corrosion risk associated with the external environment of
recommended internal corrosion areas for examination. the pipe within this submerged section of the network.
Water wetting is expected at pipeline sections As previously stated, this particular pipeline had limited
where there is a positive inclination. Where the pipeline operational and inspection data available. Penspen carried
inclination becomes positive, water will be held up. This out tests to determine the internal corrosion rate and
allows corrosion to occur despite low water cuts. The completed flow modelling for different sections of the
inclination angle is calculated using the relationship given pipeline in order to build more analysable data.
in the NACE ICDA methodology. Using the elevation profile Pre-assessment of the pipeline under the ECDA
of the offshore pipelines, low spots were identified. A included a review of its leak/repair history and an external
ranking module was then established to each examination corrosion hazard review. This included examinations
location. for sulfide stress corrosion cracking, hydrogen-induced
The Froude model and the Wicks and Fraser model cracking, corrosion fatigue, soil corrosion and third-party
were used to calculate water accumulation. Both of these damages.
models are applicable for fluids that have a Reynolds The indirect inspection included an assessment of the
Number of greater than 2100. This is recommended by degree of coating deterioration, a review of pipeline wall
the NACE ICDA methodology. The examination region thickness, an evaluation of historic cathodic protection
with the highest inclination angle and the highest rank in (CP) potential outside the acceptable range and anodic
accordance with flow modelling results had the highest activity, construction related parameters and a review of a
priority for examination. 2014 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) CP survey.
Direct examination included a general visual inspection,
CP potential measurements and confirmation of low
potential areas, wall thickness measurements and any
external coat loss.
During each of the assessments, observations and
outcomes shape the recommendations that are presented
to the operator. In this case, Penspen concluded that the
age of this pipeline would not affect its safety based on its
history of safe operation and over time, the adoption of
reliable inspection techniques and the protective internal
pipeline product chemistry.
The direct inspections were carried out on sections of
the pipeline that had been noted as being at a higher risk
of internal corrosion than others by flow models and other
techniques. A recommendation made due to the outcome
of this inspection was to install a specialised corrosion
monitoring sump and implement an internal corrosion
monitoring plan for several parameters on identified
critical locations. A detailed inspection plan was created
and given to the operator to be implemented in the
company’s inspection department.
Figure 3. Direct examination was carried out on two subsea The ECDA uses engineering processes to assess
pipe sections.
locations for corrosion and to identify and review areas

52 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

where corrosion has already been located. This method and steel frames, while the long term plan included
often uses ROVs to carry out surveys, coupled with the removal of pipeline markers, concrete blocks and
previous operational data and manufacturing records to grout bags.
establish outcomes. The root cause of the corrosion is Other recommendations included a time frame
identified and defect mitigation is carried out before a for the next ROV inspection and the monitoring of
risk level is breached. locations that are vulnerable to cracking, including
In the case under consideration, the data collected prioritisation for mitigation/remediation, field
from the direct inspection was evaluated. The data repair techniques and the use of an electromagnetic
generated useful results for determining the external acoustic transducer tool run for crack detection.
condition of the pipeline. The stability of the pipeline After conducting a full assessment of the pipeline,
was confirmed through a free span review and an providing that all recommendations were followed,
on-bottom stability analysis. The pipeline defect it was concluded that the pipeline could remain
mechanism was also assessed. operational for the next 10 years before exceeding the
Post-assessments included direct examination analysis, tolerable dimensions identified.
external corrosion rate estimation, external corrosion Even the best designed pipelines can become
mitigation measures, re-inspection techniques and intervals. defective over time. This pipeline was unique in its
It was recommended that an anode retrofitting should behaviour, age, route and operation, and the outcome
be installed at several locations along the pipeline. This of this integrity evaluation was positive for the
would supplement the weak CP system of the pipeline at operator. It highlighted valuable information to ensure
the locations and would serve as a shield for the pipe to safe operation, the effects of a dedicated corrosion
prevent corrosion. management system, the use of product flow
Short term and long term recommendations were modelling, the statistical evaluation of inspection
made for external debris removal. The short term plan data and the use of credible inspection techniques for
included the removal of metallic beams, inverted pipes prolonged pipeline safe operation.


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Figure 1. Inclination and
unloading of a pipe in the
middle of a steep mountain

Christoph Ludescher, hile traditional pipelaying methods
LCS Cable Cranes, are well established and proven,
Austria, outlines how pipelines do not just run through
flat and convenient areas. Traditional
pipeline routes can methods often reach their limits when pipelines
run directly through have to overcome steep and seemingly inaccessible
challenging terrain and terrain, such as mountain ranges. The steeper and
more dangerous the slope, the more difficult it is to
still be laid in a safe and
handle and position the pipes. Therefore, specialised
efficient manner. solutions, such as cable cranes, have been developed to
ensure that pipes are moved and positioned safely and
precisely in difficult pipeline construction projects.

Pipe lifting in rough terrain
Every year, thousands of pipes are transported to construction
sites before being lifted and installed. While there are several
ways of approaching this procedure, the chosen method
will depend on the pipeline and both where and how it is
For example, a pipeline that runs over steep slopes will
need to overcome swampy areas, mountain ranges and rock
faces. Construction teams would often face huge challenges
using traditional methods, particularly with regards to
installing and welding the pipeline safely and efficiently. While
this challenge may seem difficult to overcome, generally, the
more critical the terrain is, the better the plan should be for
Options for reaching areas that are difficult to access
include using helicopters to fly both construction machinery
and pipes to particular locations and the construction of
wide roads along mountain ranges in order to access the
trench. However, the advantageous characteristics of cable
crane systems over other methods have proven to be safe and
efficient solutions for transporting and lifting both pipe and
Figure 2. Cable cranes in action in the middle of inaccessible
terrain during pipeline construction in Myanmar. pipelaying equipment in challenging environments.

What is a cable crane system?

For decades, material ropeways have been a proven solution
for transporting loads in mountainous environments. Cable
crane systems are built similarly to material ropeways. A
system consists of several towers, a track rope, a hauling rope,
a driving winch and a remote controlled motorised crane
unit. The lifting capabilities of a cable crane unit make it
reasonably simple to transport pipes onto steep slopes. While
it can lift or lower pipe and other loads (such as construction
equipment) along the entire track, it must be set up directly
above the centre line of a planned pipeline. Once a load is
hanging on the crane unit, the driving winch moves it to a
designated location.
The difference between material ropeways and cable
crane systems is that cable cranes have the ability to load and
Figure 3. Precise positioning of a pipe in steep terrain. unload at any point of a trajectory.

Solving issues in steep and sensitive terrain

Cable crane systems can be installed almost everywhere.
They contribute greatly to efficient pipelaying, particularly
where traditional methods may reach their limits due to the
conditions and/or terrain the surrounding the pipeline route.
Key projects that this method would be used for include:
when pipelines need to be constructed in hilly terrain without
access to roads; when a pipeline needs to overcome steep
slopes; or when a pipeline runs along mountain ridges, over
swampy terrain or environmental sensitive areas, such as
By using this method, operators can avoid laying several
kilometres of pipe to navigate around challenging conditions.
Instead, direct routes are possible.
As a modular solution, cable cranes can be adapted to the
characteristics of the specific pipeline section. Either a single
Figure 4. Transportation of a pipe over rock faces.
system can be set up along over 3000 m or several systems

56 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

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can be set up in a row to work like a ‘cable crane street’ that
runs exactly over the planned route.
One of the benefits of cable cranes is that even extremely
steep horizontal bends in the route do not decrease a
cable crane’s capabilities. Moreover, since the cable crane is
positioned exactly above the trench, only a narrow right-of-
way (ROW) is needed, meaning that environmental impact is

The crane unit

Crane units are at the heart of cable crane systems. They are
motorised systems that work completely independently and
dispose of diesel hydraulic engines with a power of up to
100 hp. Since the units can lift loads exceeding 20 t, not only
pipes, but also heavy equipment (such as excavators) can be
easily lifted into exposed locations.
Crane units are controlled via a remote radio control
Figure 5. Unloading of padding material in a steep section.
system. This way, different machinists can operate the crane
unit at different locations. While an operator in the valley may
be responsible for the loading procedure, another machinist
located where the pipe is to be laid may be responsible
for unloading and positioning the pipe. Both operators can
control the crane unit by sight.
Crane units use small winches to lift and lower the pipe.
These devices are driven by the engine and, depending on the
model, are reeved several times. The reeved wire ropes of the
winches are attached to a lifting bar. The lifting bar consists of
three attachment points for slings or chains.
Most crane units include two lifting devices, each of which
can be controlled independently so that loads can be inclined.
When a pipe is lowered and positioned in a trench, separate
lifting devices mean that it can be inclined in a way that fits
the trench precisely.
Figure 6. A crane unit with two lifting devices and a 12 m long
Lifting, transportation and positioning
Pipes must be positioned at a loading area, which tends to
be just below the cable crane system and is usually set up
at the valley station. The crane unit is then moved over the
pipe and the lifting bar is lowered. The pipe is attached to
the cable crane using slings around the pipe or by belts, using
attachment points. Notably, correct fixation is essential.
Once the pipe is attached, the crane unit lifts the pipe.
Once it is hanging in the air, it is ready to be transported to
its destination. The radio controlled crane unit can then be
switched off and the driving winch of the complete system
moves the hauling cable. This pulls the cable crane together,
with the pipe upwards to the slope where it will be laid.
Once the pipe is located at the desired point, the
machinist responsible for the lowering procedure switches
on the crane unit to lower the pipe. While lowering, the
inclination of the pipe can be adjusted and matched to the
inclination of the slope. Since the cable crane system runs
parallel above the ROW, the pipe can be laid precisely into
position so that it can be welded in a stable situation.

No matter where and when

The modular character of a cable crane system makes it
Figure 7. Loading a 48 in. pipe in southern Italy.
flexible. Once a section of pipeline has been constructed, the

58 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

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system that was used can be moved and set up at another LCS Cable Cranes designs cable crane systems that are
location, regardless of the terrain and circumstances. Thus, suitable for transporting personnel, such as welders and fitters.
with just one cable crane system, several exposed an difficult A cabin can be attached to the cable crane so that personnel
to access pipeline sections can be approached and laid in a do not have to climb to the construction site. Rather, they are
safe and efficient way. transported to the site directly and safety.
Since cable crane loads are transported through the air,
operations tend not to be impacted by climatic conditions, Efficient and safe
such as heavy rain, desert-like heat or freezing temperatures. Once a cable crane is installed and operational, pipe handling,
Thus, the functionality of crane systems allows for transportation and installation procedures can be undertaken
construction throughout the year. in a timely manner, even though the environment and terrain
While flexible, efficient and safe once set up, the where the cranes operate are completely unfavourable. The same
installation of a cable crane system must be elaborately efficiency applies when transporting machinery and materials.
planned. Loads, tensioning forces, anchoring and other factors However, efficiency is not all. When tasks are performed
must be considered. Once everything has been defined, cable quickly, sometimes quality and/or safety can be comprised.
crane specialists are able to erect the complete systems. Moreover, while dangerous terrain raises numerous safety
concerns, since transportation occurs in the air, handling is
Pipes, machinery, padding material and precise, specialised and proven. Thus, there is little risk to
personnel operators or equipment involved.
The versatility of cable crane systems is exemplary. As stated
previously, being a reliable system, cable crane systems can be A solution for the future
used to lift both pipe and other loads into inaccessible areas. While material ropeways are certainly a proven solution, cable
The inclination capabilities of cable cranes means that they crane systems can be viewed as a development of them. Cable
can be used to transport buckets carrying padding material cranes make it possible to load and unload pipe, machinery or
and sandbags to the slope. Once the buckets reach where the materials at any point along the track. As a result, they contribute
material is needed, the cable crane can incline the bucket and efficiency, safety and precision to the most complicated pipeline
empty it in the middle of seemingly inaccessible terrain. construction sites in exposed and inaccessible terrain.

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Handling pipes in the

Dave McGuinness, Schoenbeck GmbH & Co. KG, Germany,

discusses a significant pipe handling contract for the Johan
Sverdrup export pipeline project in Norway.

he Johan Sverdrup is one of the five biggest

oilfields on the Norwegian continental
shelf (NCS). It first came to light in
2010 - 2011 when the NCS, located in the
North Sea, exposed the magnitude of the giant Johan
Sverdrup field. With expected resources of between
1.7 - 3 billion bbls of oil, it will also be one of the most
important and significant industrial projects in Norway

for its previously awarded Johan Sverdrup contract, announced
in December 2015. Wasco had been awarded a contract for pipe
external anti-corrosion treatment and concrete weight coating
(CWC) for the oil and gas pipelines. The offshore project
requires CWC pipes of 36 in. (274 km) and 18 in. (156 km); the
36 in. pipes for oil transportation to the Mongstad (Norway)
terminal, while the 18 in. pipes are required for the gas pipeline
terminal to Kårstø (Norway).

The challenges
Due to the pipe being CWC, Schoenbeck’s vacuum-based
handling technology was not the solution. Beginning in
September through until the first week of December,
Figure 1. HYD-SB-30 twin-triple lift. Schoenbeck had completed several technical papers and
presented the optional solutions for customer consideration.
All solutions needed to be not only in line with the customers
over the next 50 years, creating thousands of national jobs as concerns and demands, but also with project forwarder, SAGA
time moves on. Welco AS.
The total contract value of this project has been published SAGA Welco AS will provide ships with box shaped open
before on various medias. However, for the sake of information, hatches, all equipped with two specialised gantry cranes of
it is slightly less than NOK 2.5 billion. 40 t. Each crane has rotating tables and swivel lock connectors
Whilst the reservoir depth itself lies at 1900 m, drilling to which numerous tools can be connected, depending on the
started in March 2016 in a water depth of 110 - 120 m. At peak bulk loads carried; these connectors also being Schoenbeck’s
production, the four bridge-connected offshore platforms spreader bar link-up. The task is to handle as many pipes as
will produce an expected 25% of all Norwegian petroleum possible in a single and safe lift. This would generally indicate a
production and will deliver an estimated 650 000 bpd. It is said fairly simple job when only having to consider the SWL of the
that when walking from one end to the other and back again, gantry cranes. However, Schoenbeck enjoys a challenge.
you will have covered 1.5 km. The reservoir itself is said to be The company was confronted with five different pipe wall
200 km2. thicknesses (WTs). Whilst the CWC thickness remained stable
With many required puzzle pieces being put into place, at 50 mm, the varying steel WT meant that the spreader, to an
Statoil – the project operator – must rely on state-of-the-art extent, would have to be adjustable in its working width.
technology, along with dedicated suppliers and partners that It also became apparent that the vessels could be equipped
play their significant roles at their highest possible levels. As with any one of the four possibly rotating tables. Each rotating
such, Schoenbeck is extremely proud and thankful to be able to table differs in length and width. This factor played a significant
contribute its pipe handling equipment for this mega project. role in the engineering design of the spreader beam as it
The last six years have shown increasing interest towards needed to be – in any event – wider than the table in question
Schoenbeck’s spreader bar solutions. The company has now in order to permit pipe handling directly against port or
projected more than 15 models, with the biggest having a safe starboard inner beam sides of any of the vessel cargo holds.
working load (SWL) of 60 t. A further challenge was the pipe’s length: pipe
specifications supplied by Wasco declare lengths of
The customer 11 500 - 12 700 mm, for both 36 in. and 18 in. The overall length
In September 2016, Wasco Energy Group of Companies of the cargo hold being 13 200 mm means an absolute minimal
requested various OEMs to provide technical handling solutions area for manoeuvring, and consequently leaves only 250 mm at

Figure 2. The drawings clearly show the extreme confined areas involved.

62 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

either end of the longest given pipe. One positive note to of the beams structure, which is driven by the cranes own
the confined available space is the fact that Schoenbeck electrical power supply.
will be connecting to the swivel locks of the rotator tables, Commands for the open and close of all or individual
which will provide a higher degree of stability and decrease pipe rows are initiated by the operator via low frequency
unwanted swinging of the spreader – with or without pipes radio remote control units. The hydraulic system (cylinder
– when compared to chains etc. Similarly, the company’s movement) is based on the ‘master/slave’ principal. This
traditional pipe penetration pin design was immediately permits the main structure to centralise itself to the
scrapped. This design had foreseen a pipe penetration in first pipe row before randomly linking with row two and
the bore ends of 250 - 320 mm. It became rationally clear three. On completion of any operator initiated command,
that this standardised pin method needed warning lights (LED) will engage, which are
a completely new approach. activated by 24 individual located sensors.
Damage to the pipe bevel is not possible
Phases due to sufficient and suitable padding that
Phase 1 schedules the equipment to be is mounted to all pipe contact points.
onsite by mid/end April 2017. Here, the Rotate pin wing (RPW) is a protected
equipment must be ready for installation and embedded pipe penetrating system
and operator training for two pipe lifts located within the outer (red coloured)
(twin) of 36 in. that are CWC, which are spreader arms. When out of use (folded
being supplied from Wasco’s factory away) the RPW permits the spreader
in Kuantan (Malaysia) must also be beam to work in extreme confined spaces
complete. The stocked pipes will be as narrow as 100 mm from pipe end to
loaded into SAGA Welco’s Adventure, the ships bulk head until its activated
Bird, Tide or Future classed fleet; all in by the operator. When activated, the
all, over 6000 pipe pieces. Once loaded, wings of the RPW rotate outwards 90˚,
the vessels then travel to Norway for penetrating the pipe bore. Naturally, the
unloading. wings need to be suitably engineered
Phase 2 is to handle three (triple) of to accommodate the size of any inner
18 in. CWC pipes, totalling 30.251 pipe diameter (ID) and weight of the pipe,
pieces in Kuantan and Norway. Equipment otherwise they must be substituted for
arrival in Norway is scheduled for the RPWs of a higher SWL. For this particular
end of June 2017, and Schoenbeck is task, Schoenbeck specially designed
proud to be supplying both countries, the wings with removable adapter ends
covering both tasks with the same type to suit both pipe ID and weights. The
equipment. RPW system is a unique and service
The heaviest 36 in. CWC pipe equals friendly concept. The RPW arms are
13.562 kg per piece, whilst the 18 in. CWC Figure 3. RPW (blue) penetrating interchangeable and can be utilised for
pipe comes in at maximum 5.107 kg per pipe bore. both ends of the machine with quick
piece. Subtracting the estimated weight connectors for hydraulic and electrical
of the spreader bar and considering the power supplies.
vessel’s crane lifting capacity theoretically Prior to the Johan Sverdrup project,
allows handling of 2 x 36 in. and 4 x 18 in. Schoenbeck’s research and development
pipes. Project management later decided created a similar solution to load/unload
that 2 x 36 in. and 3 x 18 in. would be the high sided rail cars, with spreader bars
most preferred option when considering having to work in confined spaces. Thus,
other matters of importance. the ‘confined handling areas’ for spreaders
would appear to be more common than
The solution actually anticipated.
Schoenbeck’s HYD-SB-30 (twin/triple)
pipe spreader has a SWL of 30 t and is Conclusion
equipped with an onboard hydraulic Needless to say, Schoenbeck is
power pack. Due to the power coming via tremendously proud of this awarded
hydraulic oil, it is important to include a project. It not only confirms its capabilities,
dedicated oil spill pan that is suitably sized expertise and strength to engineer and
to carry the systems total oil capacity in manufacture safe and reliable handing
the unlikely event this should leak. The equipment, but also drives the company
power pack is centrally positioned and further as it continues to expand its global
Figure 4. RPW (blue) closed.
sunk as deep as possible into the centre reputation within the oil and gas industry.

64 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

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the latest
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advancem s pip e li n e in d
oil and ga

odern vacuum lifting systems date back
as early as the mid 1970s. In 1983, the first
self-contained vacuum lifting system was
introduced, specifically for the pipeline
industry. The concept was not widely accepted initially,
but it began a new era for pipe lifting equipment.
Prior to vacuum lifting, pipe handling methods
included chains, straps and slings. These methods
required multiple personnel, which resulted in safety
hazards of ground crews as they climbed on unstable
stacks of pipe. As coatings became industry standard
to protect the integrity of the pipe, those methods
became even more problematic. Traditional pipe
handling methods can damage pipe coatings, which can
lead to failures.

Vacuum lifting found a valuable niche in the pipeline attaches to the bottom of the lifter, and its shape and size is
industry, adding not only speed, but also safety. Eventually, dictated by the material being lifted. Vacuum pads are designed
vacuum lifting revolutionised the way pipe was handled in the to be used on a wide range of materials, including steel, cast iron
field, especially as the lifting system is able to eliminate the need and plastic/high density polyethylene (HDPE). Even concrete
for ground personnel. Typically, an operator sits in the safety of pipe can be lifted with a vacuum lifting system.
the host machine’s cab and exercises control over the vacuum lift There are numerous types of pipe coatings available on
system through remote means, such as a wireless controller. the market today, such as concrete coatings for steel pipe, and
Along with the numerous safety advantages that a vacuum vacuum pads can be selected to safely accommodate them.
lifting system provides, there are significant efficiency advantages In addition to pipe, flat vacuum pads can also be installed on
as well, because moving pipe using a vacuum lifting system is a lifter to allow safe lifting of plate steel or concrete slabs.
approximately 10 times faster than using traditional pipe handling Vacuum lifting systems’ lifting capacities may range, but lifting
methods. That equates to huge savings to the bottom line. weights in excess of 20 t is not uncommon.

Current landscape The 21st century

Vacuum lifting is now a state-of-the-art method of handling The pipeline industry has evolved significantly in the last few
pipe in the field. As a result, several major oil and gas operators decades. Over the past few years, crude oil prices have caused
contractually require the use of vacuum lifting technology the oil and gas industry to experience a sharp decline, making it
on their projects. Over the years, there have been several paramount that companies seek out the best and most efficient
companies who have introduced vacuum lifting systems to the equipment. The need for smart and cost-effective technology is
pipeline industry. Most of the devices operate on the same basic huge, and Pipeline Equipment SolutionsTM (PES) and SharewellTM
principles and with similar components: a pump that generates a HDD are two exemplar companies that are able to deliver on
continuous vacuum to use and/or store in a reservoir; an engine that need. PES has designed and engineered a ‘next generation’
or motor, usually diesel or gas, coupled to the pump; and a vacuum lifting system for pipes. The PipeVac lifting system is
hydraulic rotator that allows 360˚ rotation. manufactured in the US and distributed by Sharewell HDD.
Traditionally, vacuum lifting systems have been attached The proprietary PipeVac lifting system has a revolutionary
to excavators, as they are the best suited and most versatile new design. It has a sleek, lightweight frame and a lifting beam
means of a host machine. They can also be attached to a variety that is not shy on power. The HLS-26t model has a 26 t lifting
of other machines, such as cranes, backhoes, sidebooms etc. capacity and can be used on an abundance of operations, as it
Vacuum lifting systems can easily be made adaptable to the can cater to a range of different lifting needs.
majority of brands and sizes of these host machines. The PipeVac lifting system also has a custom-drive
The two main components to a vacuum lifting system are programme that utilises the host machine’s existing hydraulics,
the vacuum lifter itself and the vacuum pad. The vacuum pad eliminating the need for a separate gas or diesel engine. It is
engineered and manufactured to
meet and/or exceed ASME/ANSI
B30.20-2013, BTH-2014 and AS4991,
as well as being OSHA and CARB
compliant. It is also CE certified.
Safety is the paramount
concern for operators when
handling pipe in the field. Every
PipeVac lifting system is equipped
with high intensity LED safety
lights and a 102db audible alarm.
At times, however, adverse weather
conditions or severe terrain can
cause a scenario where that is
not enough. This is because the
operator is not always able to see
the safety lights or hear an audible
alarm. PES provided a solution
for the operator by offering an
innovative SmartLiftTM technology
wireless remote. This remote
enables the operator identify
whether the planned lift is safe,
with no guesswork required.
Figure 1. Circa 1942 - 1943 pipeline installation, War Emergency pipeline from Texas to PES has also integrated a state-
Pennsylvania. Think what they could have done back then with the availability of vacuum of-the-art GPS module into every
PipeVac lifting system. Along with

68 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

GPS, the module incorporates a diagnostic tool so the customer install, regardless of the host machine’s brand or size. It must be
can monitor their system and get real time data. attached to the host machine, where two hydraulic lines need to
SmartLift technology is used throughout the PipeVac lifting be connected before being ready to lift the pipe.
system. Every component is designed or selected with safety,
performance and durability foremost in mind. For example, the Conclusion
new vacuum pad design allows the operator to safely lift a wider Vacuum lifting is approaching its 35th year of servicing the oil and
range of pipe diameters with fewer vacuum pad SKUs. gas industry. It has taken some time to become accepted, but it
Each vacuum pad has its own built-in storage system, which is now one of the most widely recognised methods of loading,
minimises the risk of damage to the pad seal or seal channel. Every unloading and stringing pipe around the world.
individual vacuum pad is further designed with a proprietary pad With this in mind, PES and Sharewell HDD were able to design
seal and channel combination, affording an approximate 40% and manufacture a safe and reliable lifting system that brings
more life on pad seals. The PipeVac lifting system is simple to vacuum lifting into the 21st century.

Figure 2. PipeVac HLS-26t in action,

24 in. steel pipe.
Stephanie O’Born and
Mike Yeats, Shawcor
Composite Production
Systems, Canada,
highlight factors that
contribute to a safe and
irst appearing almost 20 years ago,
composite line pipe is a relatively
new technology in the oil and gas
industry. Those who are familiar
with it know that there are benefits to
using composite line pipe over steel. It is
corrosion resistant (eliminating the need
for corrosion management programmes),
efficient composite pipe provides installation cost savings and can
manufacturing process. be used for many applications. As a result,
composite line pipe has gained a lot of
traction in the industry over the last five
years. A key difference between the major
brands of composite pipe that are on the
market is the manufacturing process.

Figure 1. Installing
FlexPipe Linepipe High
Temperature via a chain

Shawcor’s Composite Production Systems group, operations culture and a key focus on maintaining the
which is home to the FlexPipe, FlexCord and FlexFlow highest safety standards. These factors allow the group to
product lines, focuses on operational excellence at provide a high level of manufacturing expertise.
its three Canadian manufacturing facilities. The group
benefits from its philosophies about manufacturing The basics
process control, commitment to quality, an empowered Composite Production Systems’ pipe is designed
by four teams of engineers – product, applications,
manufacturing technology and equipment, and process
and continuous improvement. The teams look after
each element of the process and ensure that Shawcor’s
composite designs are innovative.
The basic architecture of Composite Production
Systems’ three product lines begins with an extruded liner
made of high density polyethylene (HDPE). This liner acts
as the bladder that carries the fluids through the pipeline
system. Several strands of high strength glass fibre, steel
cord or composite tape are wound around the liner
with strict tension control and a carefully engineered
wrap angle. A jacket of HDPE is then extruded to
protect the glass, steel or tape. The type and amount of
reinforcement gives the pipe its strength and ultimately
determines the pressure rating of the pipe. Use of these
different materials allows Shawcor to offer pipe that is
Figure 2. Winding glass fibre around liner.
suited to a variety of applications.

Manufacturing philosophies
As a foundation, Shawcor has developed the Shawcor
Management System (SMS). The SMS encompasses a
lean manufacturing philosophy and set of best practices
that are focused around different lean, six sigma and the
company’s tools.
The SMS includes visual controls that show what
is going on in the facility, how things are progressing
and how to improve. Five minute meetings, called daily
management process meetings, are held at each work
centre to review metrics, reflect on how the previous
day went, identify any safety hazards and solve any
problems in real time. This immediate decision making
eliminates bureaucracy and ensures that road blocks are
Figure 3. Supervision of equipment. removed quickly. Therefore, employees can work more
The system has had a great impact on the general
running of the business, which, in turn, brings value to the
customer. Shawcor’s goal is to see permanent cost savings
of 2% of revenue each year. This offsets the rising costs
of high performance raw materials and allows Shawcor
to use higher quality materials, while keeping prices low.
As a result, customers see lower project costs, higher and
more consistent quality, along with enhanced on time
While annual assessments ensure that all of Shawcor’s
facilities are performing to programme standards, the
things a company does on a daily basis can make things
much better and more efficient. A constant focus on
improvement has allowed Shawcor to add capacity to its
Figure 4. Cooling the liner. manufacturing facilities by implementing better practices

72 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

alone. Employees examine process details to ensure they that it tracks all of the specifications to see if they fall
are as effective as possible and to identify how they can within expected norms. Considering the normal variations,
be improved. This not only leads to a consistent, cost- if something unusual happens it can be controlled and
effective and quality driven process, it also leads to less adjusted before it becomes a quality issue. Some of the
rework. tools used to collect data and measure quality include
All of the above come together to drive efficient ultrasonics, lasers and vision systems. A sample from every
manufacturing performance. reel of pipe manufactured goes through a full destructive
burst test to ensure product performance. The data that
Testing and quality is collected can either be fed to an online process control
Composite line pipe must meet very specific system or control charted real time to check for out of
qualifications in order to be released to market. Some of control events.
these qualifications include ASTM
F2686-10 (‘Standard Specification
for Glass Fiber Reinforced
Thermoplastic Pipe’), American
Petroleum Institute (API) SPEC
15S (‘Spoolable Reinforced Plastic
Line Pipe’), and ISO 9001:2008
(‘Quality Management Systems –
Requirements’). Since hundreds
of tests must be performed on
any new product before it is
released, the testing process takes
two years to complete. Shawcor
completes its testing in house
with specialised equipment and
with third-party witnessing and
Composites are more highly
scrutinised than many traditional
materials, such as steel. Therefore,
quality control is a critical part
of the manufacturing process.
From supplier evaluation and
approval to the qualification of
every finished reel of pipe, quality
control data must be diligently
reviewed and evaluated. However,
a commitment to quality should
begin before the pipe is made,
with exacting standards placed on
raw materials. Suppliers provide
material composition data and
maintain certification and quality
control test results for all raw
products. Material certification
and traceability helps link the raw
materials used with production
High quality monitoring
systems are active throughout
the manufacturing process to
ensure that all of the pipe that
is produced meets or exceeds
industry specifications. One unique
element of Shawcor’s process is
Safety and culture job safely, they sign off of training and graduate from the
Safety and the environment are key. They are also programme.
central to Shawcor’s core values. As both a company This introductory structure helps minimise the risk of
and as a community member, the company has a injury to new employees as workers in their first month on
responsibility to operate in a safe and environmentally- the job are more than three times more likely to suffer a
friendly way. lost time injury than workers who have been on the job for a
For Shawcor, safety is considered not only in its year or more.
manufacturing facilities but across the organisation. The stop work authority programme is an initiative that
As well as investing in high quality equipment and has been put in place by Shawcor to keep safety at the top
employing leading processes, Shawcor finds it beneficial of everyone’s minds and to reduce workplace accidents.
to invest in its people. Communication and training Every employee is responsible for recognising that by risking
are two areas that are continuously evolving. Focusing incident or injury, they are putting what they value and
on key performance indicators that are impactful and those they care for in jeopardy.
relevant to each process helps ensure that work is Employees are authorised and obligated to stop working
meaningful and clear. if they believe it will create an imminent danger to the
New manufacturing employees at Composite health and safety of both themselves and their co-workers.
Production Systems participate in a detailed safety In fact, any time a manufacturing employee activates an
orientation, which includes classroom training. emergency stop in the plant, regardless of the reason,
Following this orientation, they become part of the they are not reprimanded but celebrated. In activating an
company’s short service employee programme. emergency stop, there is time to address any imminent
An experienced mentor is partnered with the new danger instead of having someone jump into an unsafe
employee to answer questions, as well as provide situation and get hurt.
training and guidance. The programme typically lasts Overall, it is the sum of the parts that make the
between two and three months. Once the mentor feels manufacturing process something that Shawcor’s Composite
confident that the new employee can perform their Production Systems takes great pride in.

IPLOCA - Supporting
the pipeline construction
industry worldwide

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With members in more than 40 countries, IPLOCA
represents some 250 of the world’s key players in the
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Visit to find out more Geneva - Switzerland

Luc Perrad,
Products, Belgium,
Figure 1.
Polyguard discusses how a non-
RD-6 being
applied by a shielding coating is being
local contractor.
introduced into the European
and African pipeline markets.

hile differentiation can shock those who are familiar with
standardisation, it is the key to innovation. If manufacturers are not
innovating, they are merely competing in a commoditised market on
pricing. Eventually, in many cases, quality decreases as price takes over
as a dominant factor. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that a differentiated
coating system can be more advanced in its design.
Polyguard specialises in products that protect surfaces and structures from
moisture, water and other undesired substances. In 1988, Polyguard’s pipeline division
introduced the Polyguard RD-6 (RD-6) pipeline coating to the US market. It is the first

pipeline coating to address the problem of cathodic protection lap shear (soil stress) resistance due to the high tension that is
(CP) shielding and is a wrapping material that comprises a applied to the mesh during application and approximately 400%
continuous layer of cold-flowable rubberised bitumen, bonded to higher tensile strength.
a non-elastic polypropylene mesh backing. Polypropylene has different elongation properties and ratios
While the RD-6 coating has been, and is still, successfully used to PE. In fact, lower elongation is often preferred as a mechanism
in the North American market, it is now also available worldwide. against soil stress.
Since 2014, RD-6 has been being introduced into the Western However, despite its high performance, RD-6 cannot be
European market along with key countries in Africa. EN12068-approved because it does not meet its requirements. In
Introducing RD-6 to these markets has been particularly a peel test, after 100 days of ageing in a dry oven, the standard
challenging because they are driven by European and ISO requests 75% residual peel force. However, the typical result for
standards. These standards refer primarily to polyethylene (PE) RD-6 is 60%. It is important to note that this ageing test comes
materials, which the RD-6 coating does not contain. from the old DIN standards and fits perfectly for PE materials.
The German Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) was one For the ISO21809-3 standard, only polymeric (PE) and
of the first organisations to publish standards in Europe. In 1975, viscoelastic tapes, and PE shrinkable materials require a peel test
DIN was made the national normalisation institute to represent after ageing in an oven. All other coating types do not need to
German interests at European and international levels. Its undergo this specific test as it is not relevant for materials that are
standards, such as DIN 30670 for main line coatings and DIN 30672 not PE.
for field applied coatings, are specifically fit for extruded PE and With regards to conforming to ISO21809-3, Polyguard has been
cold or hot applied PE tapes and shrinkable materials. working with the relevant ISO group for two years to include an
The European Committee for Standardization publishes additional coating type called ‘polymeric mesh backed coating’ in
European norms (EN). For field applied coatings, EN12068 the standard. This procedure should take a couple of additional
(published in August 1998) is largely based on the requirements of years.
DIN 30672. Similar to DIN 30672, EN12068 standard fits perfectly
for PE materials. Peel testing in Europe and Africa
In December 2008, the International Standard Organization Despite its ‘non-compliance’ to the requirements of EN12068 and
(ISO) published the first international standard for field joint ISO21809-3, more and more pipelines operators in Europe and
coatings (FJC): ISO21809-3. Re-published in March 2016, this Africa have seen and understand the value of the RD-6 coating.
standard includes 11 FJC ‘types’; tapes (bituminous, wax, polymeric, They have, therefore, opened their doors to evaluate it.
viscoelastic), heat shrinkable materials, liquids, flame sprayed etc. One of the first pipeline operators to test Polyguard’s coating
Each coating type has its own requirements. For polymeric tapes on the field was Fluxys Belgium. In December 2014, RD-6 was
(PE tapes) and PE heat shrinkable sleeves, the requirements are applied on a 6 in. pipe, including the weld bead and overlap onto
mainly based on EN12068. However, ISO21809-3 does not include PE parent coating.
a coating type like ‘cold-flowable rubberised bitumen bonded to Seven months later, the pipe was excavated and the coating
a non-elastic polypropylene mesh backing’, which RD-6 would fall was tested. Holiday detection (15 kV) was followed by peel tests
into. on PE (3 - 4 N/mm) and steel (4 - 8 N/mm). Only the mesh came
RD-6 largely outperforms the requirements of the standards off, while all of the rubberised bitumen stayed on the substrate.
mentioned above that are used in Europe and North Africa. It has Sumed Egypt (The Arab Petroleum Pipelines Co.) owns and
good adhesion on steel and line coatings (even after hot water operates twin 42 in. crude oil pipelines of 319 km long. Originally
immersion), high cathodic disbondment resistance and enhanced laid in 1974, the pipelines were coated using PE tapes. The PE tapes
had suffered deterioration and ageing.
In May 2015, Sumed Egypt organised an application trial of
the RD-6 on a 12 in. pipe, together with PE tapes. The tests were
conducted 24 hrs after application and these convinced Sumed
Egypt of the quality of Polyguard’s RD-6 coating. In terms of
adhesion, the average peel resistance of the coating was 4 N/mm,
compared to 2.6 - 2.8 N/mm for the PE tapes.
After the testing, Sumed Egypt modified its technical
specifications by changing its reference standard from EN12068 to
NACE SP0109-2009, which RD-6 meets the requirements for.
RD-6 can perform well on wire brushed surfaces. In April 2015,
Air Liquide tested the adhesion of RD-6 on a wire brushed steel
surface quality (St 2 - St 3). Five months after application, the peel
force recorded was 6 N/mm. The same piece of pipe had been
peeled by Open Grid in Germany in September 2016 with the
same value.
In January 2016, peel tests were conducted at Exova UK. The
steel surface quality was St 2 at Sa 2 ½ standard with 100 mg salt
Figure 2. Holiday detection at 10 kV. contamination. The PE surface was 23˚C at 10 mm/min.

76 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017




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The tests conducted at Exova UK suggested that RD-6’s where the RD-6 had been applied on wet surfaces and strong
adhesion test need to be conducted at high speed (300 mm/min) adhesion elsewhere.
in order to evaluate the adhesion of the coating on the substrate. Even with the poor adhesion of the RD-6 when applied to
The NACE SP0109-2009 requirement is 3.5 N/mm, while wet surfaces, the coating showed excellent appearance with no
ASTM D1000 requires 300 mm/min. defects after six months in the soil. This is primarily due to the
In September 2015, RD-6 was applied on an in service 10 in. high tension applied by the wrapping machine during application.
pipeline that was operated by Sonelgaz DRTG. The application Due to its reduced elongation and high tensile strength resistance
conditions were particularly difficult. It had poor surface (approximately four times that of PE tapes), RD-6 is wrapped
preparation (St 2 - St 3) and constant humidity (moisture) on a with much higher tension. Polyguard’s coating firmly encloses the
large part of the steel surface. This was because the area needing circumference of the pipe by contracting after application, which
coating was located just after a decompression station with secures the cohesion and integrity of the coating.
important gas flow at temperatures close to 0˚C. Even the use of a Sonatrach is the national oil and gas company of Algeria. With
torch could not keep the steel surface dry during this application a total length of 19 600 km of transportation pipe that range
of RD-6. between 20 in. and 48 in. dia., Sonatrach is the largest oil and gas
Before backfilling, the coating was tested using a holiday company in Africa. As part of a pipelines rehabilitation plan, RD-6
detector with a potential of 15 kV. Six months later, the pipeline was demonstrated on a 28 in. operating section pipeline in March
was excavated for inspection. Visual inspection and holiday 2016. Field tests were also conducted:
detection showed a perfect general appearance of the coating: ) Holiday detection at 10 kV: no holiday.
no disbondment, no delamination, no wrinkles and no holidays. In
fact, the coating looked as new, despite the application conditions. ) Thickness test: 1.2 mm on single layer and 2.3 mm on double
An adhesion test conducted on the overlap area with a coal layer.
tar enamel (CTE) parent coating showed strong adhesion and
) Adhesion test: 5.6 N/mm.
no disbondment between the RD-6 and CTE. An adhesion test
conducted on the steel surface showed poor adhesion on areas In Croatia, application demonstration conducted on a 20 in.
pipe in September 2015 convinced Plinacro of Polyguard’s RD-6
coating quality. Moreover, Open Grid Germany decided to test the
material on an 8 in. pipe at its laboratory in Essen in September
2016. The tests are still underway.

Pitting corrosion due to shielding coatings

The non-shielding property of RD-6 has attracted many pipeline
operators, in both North America and, more recently, Europe.
A ‘shielding coating’ is a coating that protects CP current from
the electrolyte to the steel. This happens when the shielding
coating disbonds (lifts up) from the steel and insulates the CP
current from the non-coated steel. Anodic and cathodic points
develop under the disbonded shielding coating, resulting in pitting
corrosion at the anodic points. The water under the disbonded
Figure 3. General overview of the testing in Ingeca’s
shielding coating becomes acidic due to the corrosion reaction
laboratory. (typically a low pH of 4 - 6).
Pitting corrosion is, arguably, the most critical corrosion
phenomenon because it develops in localised areas, resulting in
leaks by punching the steel.
According to the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration (PHMSA), typical examples of shielding coatings
are PE tapes, shrink sleeves, coal tar mastics and asphalts. These
coatings can prevent CP currents from reaching the pipe when
they disbond from the pipe’s surface. It is also important to note
that field applied coatings are much more likely to disbond from
steel due to the following reasons:
) Ambient conditions during application are not 100%
controlled (temperature, humidity and due point).

) Surface preparation on the field is not controlled as it can be

in the plant (steel profile and salt contamination).

Figure 4. CP current (green arrows) can reach through the ) Most of the coating applications are manual rather than
overlap under disbonded RD-6. automated, which results in some defects.

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In North America, there is concern regarding cathodic shielding
with Ingeca. Stated below is the test method and the results of the
problems. Standards, such as NACE SPO 169-2007 and the US testing.
Code Federal of Regulation’s 49 CFR 192.461, 195.551 and 192.112, In October 2015, three 30 x 40 mm steel coupons were installed
prohibit the use of shielding coatings. Moreover, many pipeline on a PVC pipe and coated using RD-6. An overlap area was left
operators have complained about pitting corrosion due to the use just above each coupon. Coupons 1 and 2 had been coated with
of shielding coatings. However, the non-shielding property of RD-6 intentional RD-6 disbondment, leaving a void filled with water
is illustrated in Figure 4. between the coupon and the coating. Coupon 3 was properly
Its woven geotextile fabric (mesh) backing is conductive and coated without void between the coupon and the coating.
allows CP current to enter under the disbonded coating at overlap Contrex commercial water with following salt composition
areas. This can only happen if disbondment occurs with water was injected under the disbonded RD-6 coating: Ca: 468 mg/l;
present past the overlap. Mg: 74.5 mg/l; Na: 9.4 mg/l; SO: 1121 mg/l; HCO: 372 mg/l. The
To demonstrate to pipelines operators that its RD-6 coating PVC pipe was immersed in the same commercial water and no
does not shield CP current, Polyguard conducted laboratory tests additional salt was added.
Two additional non-coated steel
makers were used. One marker was in
the same electrolyte and container
as the three coated coupons (same
CP protection), while the other was in
the same electrolyte but in a different
container from the three coated coupons
(no CP protection).
Tests were conducted for three
months. After this period and once the
RD-6 coating had been removed, no
corrosion was observed on coupons 1, 2
or 3.
The original pH of the electrolyte
(commercial water) was 7. The uncoated
marker with CP was covered by calcareous
sediment after chemical reaction due
to CP current. The pH tested on the
surface of the sediment was 12. Under
the disbonded RD-6 coating on coupons
1 and 2, pH 12 was also measured. The
uncoated marker without CP was covered
in rust. The pH levels on the surface of
the rust was between 6 and 7. Finally, since
there was no water under coupon 3, no
pH was measured on this coupon.
The tests were convincing. A presence
of current was measured on each coupon,
visual inspection after three months
showed no corrosion under any of the
BRISTLE BLASTER ® coupons and pH 12 was measured under
disbonded RD-6. Thus, it can be drawn
that a polymeric mesh backed coating,
such as Polyguard’s RD-6, does not shield
CP current.
While Polyguard’s RD-6 coating system
does not align with all of the European
standards and is not included in ISO21809-3,
both the European and African markets
are showing more and more interest in
this coating system for many reasons.
These reasons include RD-6’s high basic
performance (adhesion, soil stress and
cathodic disbondment resistance) even
on poor surface preparations, its non-
shielding properties, and its ability to be
quickly and easily applied.

II 2G c IIA T4 X
Figure 1. Field
performing a
survey on an AC
mitigation project.

Scott James (Corrpro, USA)

and Bruce Sanderson (Aegion
Corporation, USA) explore
how geographic information
system data can be used to
streamline processes and
prevent pipeline failure.

he number one priority for every pipeline
management professional is the same: safety.
The key to keeping pipeline assets safe is COMPLICATED
effective monitoring, maintenance and
data management through an asset integrity
management programme. An effective

programme of this kind includes a mixture of
pipeline inspections and surveys, remediation
– such as alternating current (AC) mitigation
– and other solutions for various corrosion
and integrity problems. While keeping
track of this data is critical, it can
be difficult to manage. Currently,
many pipeline managers are using
disconnected systems and

multiple spreadsheets, which is not a good way of organising this CIS involves collecting pipe to soil voltage readings at 2.5 ft
data. Thus, Aegion Corporation is working to provide a solution intervals and recording the GPS co-ordinates for these locations
to this dilemma. The company provides a variety of products and in order to assess the status of the pipeline’s cathodic protection
services to extend the life of infrastructure and to comply with the (CP) system. DCVG surveys measure voltage gradients when pipe
pipeline integrity management regulations of the US Department coating defects are present. They provide an assessment of the
of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety effectiveness of the coating to protect the pipeline. Finally, soil
Administration (PHMSA). These regulations provide guidelines for resistivity surveys identify areas along the pipeline where the
adequate pipeline inspection and maintenance, while also helping soil has a lower resistivity, in turn indicating a high propensity for
to keep pipelines operating safely. corrosion to occur on the pipeline.
In April 2016, PHMSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking Aegion’s Corrvision® data management service aligns the
(NPRM) with proposed modifications to 49 CFR Part 191 results of each of these surveys and identifies locations where the
(‘Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline: Annual pipeline’s CP system is not providing adequate protection, where
Reports, Incident Reports and Safety-Related Condition Reports’) there are coating defects and where corrosive soil is present as
and 49 CFR Part 192 (‘Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by these factors cause an increased threat of corrosion.
Pipeline: Minimum Federal Safety Standards’). This NPRM proposes Once all threats to the pipeline have been identified, Aegion
16 rule changes to enhance assessment and repair criteria, data can then provide engineering and field services for direct
management, lessons learnt from previous integrity assessments assessment of the pipeline. Direct assessment involves: reviewing
and preventative and mitigative measures within current pipeline all of the available data for the pipeline; identifying locations
integrity management programmes. where the integrity of the pipeline is being or has been threatened;
The PHMSA defines pipeline integrity management as a set of selecting locations for excavation and direct assessment; and
safety, analytical, operations and maintenance processes that are determining the appropriate remediation requirements and
implemented in an integrated and rigorous manner to assure that reassessment intervals.
operators provide protection for high consequence areas (HCAs). There are a number of remediation and mitigation services
Each integrity management programme has a set of elements available to ensure that the pipeline’s integrity is maintained
that include the identification of HCAs and potential threats to or improved as a result of the assessment step of an integrity
the integrity of the pipeline, direct assessment of the pipeline management programme. These services include repair or
through inline inspection (ILI), pressure testing, application of direct replacement of CP systems, alternating current interference
assessment techniques, remediation and continued assessment. mitigation (ACIM), coating inspection and repair and internal lining
Aegion’s goal is to provide clients with field and engineering systems.
services for their pipeline integrity management programmes. ACIM is a design and installation service that investigates
During the identification of potential threats, Aegion provides and mitigates the effects of AC interference on pipelines due
pipeline inspection surveys such as close interval surveys (CIS), to external AC power sources. Corrosion that is caused by AC
direct current voltage gradient (DCVG) surveys, soil resistivity interference is extremely aggressive and once it begins, customers
surveys and other right-of-way field services. often do not have time to delay mitigation. Execution of these
services results in a large amount of data being collected. Thus,
Aegion introduced an advanced data collection and analyses
platform in order to organise and manage the large datasets more
How Corrpro assists with the proposed effectively.
PHMSA rules Its system features ‘apps’ for examining and evaluating field
data, tools for exporting and reporting data in easy to use formats
Assessment for non-HCAs and a GIS for data visualisation and geospatial analyses. The data
Corrpro offers a variety of pipeline surveys, such as close that is collected during over the pipeline surveys can be input
interval surveys and DCVG surveys, to identify corrosion threats directly into the platform, giving customers instant access to field
and direct assessment services. These surveys help operators data and allowing them to quickly and proactively identify lines
align with the proposed requirement to conduct integrity that need immediate attention. Sensors positioned on field assets
assessments for non-HCAs segments that are designated class 3 also provide ability to monitor data in real time. When determining
or class 4 locations. pipeline risk, most investigations makes a connection back to a
lack of risk data on a pipeline, meaning that traceability is key for
Collecting, validating and integrating data preventing failure.
Corrpro’s GIS data management services will allow pipeline
data to be collected, analysed, aligned and validated. They also GIS capabilities
provide faster data delivery. With GIS, it is easy to visualise data on a map. Using symbols and
colours to highlight points of interest, exception readings that
Strengthen corrosion control are outside the normal threshold values are easily identified. In
The new rules will require corrosion control for HCAs to be addition, GIS has the capability of being able to analyse spatial
strengthened in order to address threats. Aegion’s portfolio relationships between various datasets – something not possible
not only includes Corrpro’s (an Aegion company) corrosion in spreadsheet tools. A good example of what can be easily
engineering services, but also a variety of mitigation accomplished with GIS is the use of spatial analyses to help identify
solutions. points along a pipeline that may be susceptible to AC interference
due to their proximity to power utility lines.

82 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

Be wise
when you
Test a publisher’s statement
of circulation. In today’s business
climate you can’t afford not to.

accurate, independently

Other GIS tools allow for spatial-temporal analyses or the The portal is an online resource that features FieldLineTM, LiveLineTM
visualisation of change over time. These trend analyses can give and ScanLineTM. FieldLine provides a brief view of survey inspection data
insights into what will happen to a pipeline in the future and in a job summary or map visualisation. Simple search tools help clients
whether or not it is at risk of failure. access relevant data and export it in various formats for easy loading
GIS opens a new window on how data is managed and used into a variety of systems. LiveLine provides real time visualisation and
on behalf of pipeline owners, making for a more efficient way to streaming analytics for important points on pipelines. With alerts and
compile, store and analyse data. Users can access this system and notifications, the client is automatically and continuously updated on
other tools through Aegion’s asset integrity portal that provides a key metrics at each GIS location. ScanLine is an interactive charting and
comprehensive set of asset integrity tools that converts data into analytical tool for viewing current and historical close interval survey
information. The information can then be used to analyse and data at various points along a pipeline segment.
solve problems, resulting in enhanced decision making along with
increased confidence that resources are allocated intelligently. Why is this important?
Pipeline integrity engineers and operations personnel continually work
to assess and mitigate risks to their pipelines as both external and
internal corrosion can be costly and destructive to pipeline assets.
Aegion’s platform helps to identify corrosion conditions that promote
corrosion and implements specialised mitigation systems.
While Corrpro already handles all types of corrosion control,
corrosion management and CP system maintenance are two key areas
where the company is expanding its offerings to help cope and align
with regulations. With the addition of GIS services, Aegion is able to
not only identify pipeline problems, but also identify the appropriate
solution for each individual challenge.
With a focus on accurate and efficient data management, the
company’s new pipeline integrity management programme can be
used to enable pipeline operators to continually monitor and evaluate
pipeline integrity, not only to meet PHMSA requirements, but also to
Figure 2. Quality engineer viewing the asset integrity portal. identify risk and maintain safe operating pipelines.


hromic acid derivatives have been extensively used
as a pretreatment for carbon steel line pipe in
order to enhance the performance of the external
corrosion protection coating. With the classification
of hexavalent chromium (chromium VI) compounds as
substances of very high concern (SVHC) according to Annex
XIV of the European Union REACH Regulation – Regulation
(EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration,
Ian Robinson, Division Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals – as
Scientist – Electrical well as the associated limitations with their ongoing usage,
corrosion protection coatings with intrinsically enhanced
Markets Division, 3M levels of performance are required. This article will explore
United Kingdom PLC, the performance attributes now achievable with state-of-the-
explores high performance art corrosion protection coatings in the absence of chromate
external pipe coatings
without chromate Background
pretreatment. Chromic acid and derivatives thereof have been used
extensively in the pipe coating industry for more than 30 years.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, the industry is therefore quite
comfortable with the use of this pretreatment as a precursor
to the application of fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) coatings.

Chromate pretreatment is generally perceived as being environmental, health and safety and regulatory challenges
beneficial with regards to the performance of FBE coatings cast severe doubt over their ongoing use. Firstly, chromium
(either as standalone coatings or when employed as part VI compounds are acknowledged as carcinogens, which
of 3-layer polyolefin systems). This is because it can afford presents challenges to the applicator in terms of managing,
enhanced adhesion to the substrate and provide enhanced controlling and monitoring workforce exposure in order to
performance with respect to cathodic disbondment and comply with the applicable local legislation. Secondly, the
elevated temperature water immersion (hot water soak) hazardous nature of the waste or residues resulting from
testing. To this end, it is not uncommon for chromate the use of chromate provides an additional challenge and
pretreatment to be a client requirement within a protective cost for the applicator. Thirdly, following the classification
coating specification. From the pipe coating applicator’s of chromium VI compounds as SVHCs, the ongoing use of
perspective, the use of chromate may provide them with chromate within European Union (EU) member states will,
an element of comfort – the applicator may have always effectively, not be an option for most – if not all – coating
used chromate and may feel that they cannot meet the applicators. No doubt in large part influenced by the
client requirements without it, irrespective of whether its factors noted above, chemical ‘black lists’ or ‘grey lists’ are
use constitutes a client-specific requirement. In addition, increasingly being promoted and implemented by pipeline
chromate may be perceived by the applicator as providing a owners/operators.
margin of safety with respect to surface preparation of the
steel prior to coating application. Restriction under REACH
Whilst chromate pretreatments may have a lengthy Whilst it is not the purpose of this article to provide an
and successful track history in the industry, a number of in-depth treatise on REACH and its implementation, the
following represents an understanding in respect to
chromic acid and its associated derivatives.
Table 1. FBE process parameters
Acids generated from chromium trioxide and their
Parameter Value Standard
oligomers – chromic acid, dichromic acid, oligomers
Dust level <2 ISO 8502-3
of chromic acid and dichromic acid (CAS 13530-68-2,
Rz 72 - 82 μm ISO 8503-4 CAS 7738-94-5) – have all been classified as SVHCs.
Blast media WGP 025; WGP 40 N/A Thus, they appear within Annex XIV of REACH, also
Salt contamination 1 mg/m2 ISO 8502-9 referred to as the ‘authorisation list’. Once a substance
Application temperature 202 - 215˚C N/A has been included in Annex XIV it cannot be placed
on the market or used after a specified date (the
Pipe diameter 1020 mm N/A
so-called ‘sunset date’) unless the company concerned
has been granted an authorisation. The latest date
for applications for authorisation (21 March 2016) has
Table 2. Performance data – plant trial 1 (3-layer polyethylene) passed and the sunset date (21 September 2017) is
Parameter Test Duration Temperature Acceptance Results only a matter of months away. Thus, cessation of use
method (˚C) criteria
for any current users, in the absence of an application
CD (-1.5 V) GOST 51164 48 hrs 80 ≤8 cm2 2.6 cm2 for authorisation, will be mandatory from September
28 days ≤15 cm2 8.7 cm2 2017. In the event of a request for authorisation being
submitted by the due date but not being granted
Adhesion GOST 52568 N/A 23 ≥250 N/cm 310 N/cm
or rejected by the sunset date, use may continue
60 ≥100 N/cm 260 N/cm
until a decision has been made on the request for
80 ≥100 N/cm 220 N/cm authorisation. While the article does not intend to
Soak GOST 52568 1000 hrs 80 ≥50 N/cm 260 N/cm go into exhaustive detail of the authorisation process
adhesion / GOST itself, it should be noted that an authorisation may
95 ≥100 N/cm 250 N/cm
9.403 only be granted by the European Commission (EC)
Soak CSA with advice from the European Chemicals Agency
1000 hrs 95 ≥150 N/cm 250 N/cm
adhesion Z245.20-21
(ECHA), and must be agreed by member states.
It would, therefore, seem reasonable to
conclude that gaining an authorisation is no
Table 3. Performance data – plant trial 2 (3-layer polyethylene) small task and would require considerable
Parameter Test method Duration Temperature Acceptance Results investment in both time and resources on the
(˚C) criteria part of the applicant.
CD (-1.5 V) GOST 51164 30 days 60 ≤15 cm2 5 cm2

80 ≤15 cm2 10 cm2 High performance without

Soak GOST 52568 / 1000 hrs 80 ≥50 N/cm 450 N/cm
adhesion GOST 9.403 It is evident from the foregoing comments
95 ≥100 N/cm 370 N/cm
that the industry will no longer be able to rely
Soak on the assistance of chromate pretreatments
CSA Z245.20-21 1000 hrs 95 ≥150 N/cm 370 N/cm
to consistently achieve and deliver the

86 World Pipelines / FEBRUARY 2017

Table 4. Performance data – plant trial 3 (dual-layer FBE)

Parameter Test method Duration Temperature Acceptance Results
(˚C) criteria
CD (-1.5 V) CSA Z245.20- 28 days 20 ≤6.5 mm radius 2.7 mm
14 clause 12.8
65 ≤13.5 mm 11.5 mm
80 ≤16.5 mm 10 mm
Soak CSA Z245.20- 24 hrs 95 Rating 1 - 3 Rating 1
adhesion 14 clause
28 days Rating 2
3.0 J CSA Z245.20- N/A -40 No holidays No holidays
impact 14 clause
0 No holidays No holidays
resistance 12.12
50 No holidays No holidays
2.5˚/PD CSA Z245.20- N/A -30 No No
flexibility 14 clause disbondment disbondment
12.11 at 2.8˚/PD
Cross- CSA Z245.20- N/A N/A Rating 1 - 4 Rating 2
section 14 clause
porosity 12.10

desired levels of performance. With an ever increasing trend towards pipelines

being designed for operation at elevated service temperatures, which is likely
to continue into the foreseeable future, it is imperative that manufacturers are
able to provide corrosion protection coatings that can comfortably meet the
requirements of demanding client performance specifications and, in addition,
can provide both the applicator and the pipeline owner/operator with the
requisite confidence for robust, long term, in-service performance.
By virtue of its proprietary, advanced adhesion-promoting technology,
3MTM has been able to develop a range of ScotchkoteTM FBE coatings, which
can afford robust, elevated temperature performance without being reliant on
chromate pretreatment. By way of illustration, performance data from a series of
chromate-free, production qualification trials can be reviewed in Tables 1 - 4.
As an overview, Table 1 details the typical application process parameters
for the FBE coatings. Two separate trials utilising a 3-layer polyethylene coating
system composed of 3M Scotchkote FBE coating 6233P/BorcoatTMME 0420 (graft
co-polymer adhesive)/BorcoatHE 3450 (bi-modal high density polyethylene
topcoat) can be demonstrated in Tables 2 and 3. Finally, Table 4 shows data that
is generated from the application of a dual-layer FBE system comprising 3M
Scotchkote FBE coating 6233P/3M Scotchkote FBE coating 6352.

Chromic acid-based pretreatments for steel (chromate) have served the pipe
coating industry well, and for over than 30 years. However, ever tightening
regulation around the use of these materials, in large part due to their highly
unfavourable toxicological and ecological profiles, allied to increasingly strong
customer preferences for the avoidance of such chemicals, will almost certainly
lead to a substantial decline in their global use.
In EU member states, REACH imposes stringent requirements for both
suppliers and end users, which will almost inevitably lead to a cessation of use
after the sunset date of September 2017.
However, state-of-the-art FBE coatings are now available, which can
enable both applicators and pipeline operators to satisfy the requirements of
demanding performance specifications, without any dependency on the use of
chromate pretreatments.

Julia Keifets, Victor Belousov, Michail Papkov – 3M Russia.
Orbital Welding
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CRC-Evans 4, 79

Creaform 77

DeFelsko 60

Denso North America, Inc. OFC, 9, 65

Elcometer 79

Enduro Pipeline Services, Inc 45

Girard Industries 70

Global Petroleum Show 2017 84

Holdtight Solutions, Inc. 54


Laurini 63

Maats Pipeline Equipment 19

Magnatech International IBC

MONTI – Werkzeuge GmbH 80

NDT Global 15

OMC 2017 70

Penspen 2

Pigs Unlimited International, Inc. 35

Pipeline Inspection Company Ltd 41

Polyguard Products 33 We can tailor to your

Polysoude 87

ROSEN Group IFC requirements,

SCAIP s.r.l. 57
produce 1 - 12 page
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Selmers 27 formats, print colour or

Sharewell HDD, LLC

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STATS Group 47
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Tulsa Pipe Supports 77
Vacuworx Global OBC

Valspar 11


voestalpine Böhler Welding 59

World Pipelines 66, 88


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