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Tapping into innovation

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Pipelines,

Darran Pledger, STATS Group, UK, recognises the pivotal role that natural gas is playing as the world seeks to reduce carbon emissions.

Tapping into innovation

As the oil and gas industry transitions to a low carbon future, the use of innovative technology to reduce emissions and ensure efficiency during maintenance and upgrade activities is vital. However, innovative technology is only half of the solution – it also requires pipeline owners and operators to embrace available technology, and ensure internal processes allow new solutions to be validated and approved for use in the field in a timely manner.

So, when the innovation team at a major US operator were required to isolate three natural gas pipelines (two 30 in. and one 36 in.) to allow a major upgrade, they approached it with an open mind and looked to the market for the latest technology. The assigned project team wanted to ensure the upgrade was conducted safely, while also reducing the venting and flaring of gas to the atmosphere to ensure emissions were significantly reduced or completely eliminated where possible.

Due to urban expansion, the natural gas pipelines originally laid nearly half a century ago needed to be upgraded to meet new US DOT classification if it was to continue to operate and maintain the maximum allowable operating pressure ratings on the system. Failure to comply would mean reduced production resulting in a shortfall of supply to customers. In total, more than 10 miles of pipeline would need to be upgraded to thicker pipe with work required to be completed by spring 2023.

Due to the scale of the work involved, the client opted to conduct upgrade works on each line in turn. To reduce construction activities and further optimise project schedules, the team decided against taking each line’s 15 mile valve segment out of service completely while the work was completed …

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