Energy pipelines are becoming more diverse, and so are the machines relied on by humans to help lift and handle large diameter pipe lengths fabricated for the construction of new pipelines and natural gas transmission and distribution networks.
Certain hard costs, including those related to the materials and labour required to see major pipeline builds through to their successful completion, are widely anticipated and largely unavoidable. Managing certain complexities, however, on the logistical end of transporting, staging, stringing, and installing sizable quantities of large OD pipe can have an impact on overall project economics and outcomes.
The build out of major pipeline systems, such as the Baltic Pipe project in Europe, demand multipronged periods of collaboration – reflecting the great level of care and attention to detail required to keep thousands of 12 m (approximately 40 ft) double random joints safe, secure, and damage-free during the transportation, storage, staging and installation processes.
Operators considering a turn away from hooks, slings, and cables – or the use of mechanical aids that may result in metal-onmetal contact and could harm the integrity of coated steel pipe – are commonly on the lookout for safer, faster, and more contemporary solutions. When properly attuned and supported, vacuum lifting units have stood out as formidable manual labour-saving attachments in terms of versatility and stamina in the global oil and gas pipe handling fields.
Off the shelf
Bi-directional, the purpose-built Baltic Pipe project, allows for the flow of Norwegian shelf natural gas to Denmark and Poland. Developed by Denmark’s Energinet and Poland’s GAZ-SYSTEM, it represents a new step toward greater energy security for Poland; seeking greater energy independence and the capability to satisfy growing consumption and diverse energy demands.
The Baltic Pipe project is multi-segmented and includes the approximately 110 km (68 m), 800 mm (approximately 31 in.) OD North Sea offshore pipeline – connecting Norway’s gas system with Danish interests and landing on the west coast of Denmark near Blåbjerg – as well as the key 900 mm (approximately 35 in.) OD offshore Baltic Sea pipeline, estimated at 275 km (170 m) in length, providing bi-directional natural gas shipping capabilities between Denmark and Poland. Installed on the Baltic seabed, it crosses the marine areas of three countries: Denmark, Poland, and Sweden.
The overall project is additionally considered a major piece of gas infrastructure for the Baltic States, and creates a new supply corridor for the Central and Eastern European energy arena. The two-way gas flow is a boom for shippers, according to Energinet, as it allows for gas to flow bi-directionally and unswervingly from Poland to the Danish and Swedish markets, enhancing the potential for market flexibility.
Pipelines are a critical piece of oil and gas industry collateral. They are viewed as highly important to energy security and energy independence, as well as global decarbonisation activities and long-game sustainability initiatives, such as the sequestration of carbon, movement of low-carbon hydrogen, and transportation of cleaner-than-coal-burning natural gas. Staying on top of material-handling complexities during major pipeline infrastructure projects is an extreme challenge. It is noteworthy to consider some of these complexities and delve into how handlers of large OD pipe may be working to overcome lifting and manoeuvring challenges in the field. What are some alternatives for a safer process that also mitigates potential for damage to pipe joints during complex handling and installation processes … ?
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