Skip to main content

Editorial comment

In praise of joining inLast month I attended the Pipeline Technology Conference (PTC) in Berlin, along with 400 other participants from 42 countries. I was particularly interested to learn about:

Register for a free trial »
Get started absolutely FREE in 2 minutes, no credit card required.

  • The planned use of buckle arrestors every 2 km on the South Stream pipeline’s subsea section, which traverses the Black Sea with pipelines laid at depths of 2200 m. The external pressure at these depths is considerably higher than, for instance, the Nord Stream, which was laid at depths of 210 m in the shallow Baltic Sea. The 4 m long buckle arrestors will work to prevent a catastrophic buckling, bending or collapse event.
  • The pipelaying vessel schedules for the South Stream project: the offshore section will begin this Summer and the vessels will work 24/7, until at least next Summer, laying 2 - 3 km per day, with 700 people working in successive shifts. For the shore approaches, microtunnelling will be employed, so that people can use the beaches in Bulgaria, whilst the pipeline is installed below.
  • Some 60% of pipelines in Europe are over 40 years old and, according to data from CONCAWE, third party interference is the greatest threat to your pipeline asset (be it accidental, incidental or malicious). Some 40 years of statistics suggest that 20% of events that damage pipelines result in 80% of any materials spilled. Pipeline ageing may be a problem, but the growing threat of third party damage is potentially more detrimental.
  • The three reasons why the shale gas revolution occurred in the US: the US has a history of drilling technology that is applicable to shale drills; the US has plenty of water; and US landowners own what’s beneath their land as well as what grazes or grows on top of it. Landowners in Europe do not, in general, have a claim to what lies beneath.
  • China potentially has 300 years of technically recoverable gas in unexploited shale deposits, which could replace coal as the country’s main energy source. Poland could have 250 years’ worth of shale gas to exploit. The potential for energy independence is staggering.

With such varied topics, my brain was whirring, full of ideas for next year’s editorial coverage in World Pipelines. If there is anything you’d particularly like to see covered in a technical article next year, please send me an email at I’d also encourage you to join our World Pipelines group on LinkedIn and to follow us on Twitter @Energy_Global. Now is the time to chime in with your topic idea or area of interest. Likewise, if you have any comments about the magazine as a whole, I’d be happy to hear from you.

With a push towards the wider international audience this year, the PTC comes in line with the view long held by World Pipelines: it’s worth going global.

In this month’s bumper issue of World Pipelines, we showcase a varied collection of pipeline technology from all over the world. Along with regional reports from Canada and Mexico, there are articles on: precommissioning activities from the USA; corrosion protection from the UK; underwater inspection from Singapore; welding technologies from Sweden and France; and pipeline machinery from the Netherlands.

The sharing of information between nations is crucial to the development of cutting edge, safe and efficient pipeline technologies. Over the next few months, World Pipelines will be attending a handful of important pipeline events, including the Global Petroleum Show (Calgary), ONS (Stavanger), the annual IPLOCA convention (Abu Dhabi), Rio Oil & Gas (Rio de Janeiro), International Pipeline Exposition (Calgary) and ADIPEC (Abu Dhabi). The key to benefiting from the pipeline community is getting involved, so attend the event, post the comment, join the group. You never know what you might learn!

View profile