Pipelines are useful structures installed in almost any sector for both commercial and industrial applications. However, along with any other types of structures, these too can be vulnerable to damage, corrosion, and repair. When pipelines are compromised due to leakage especially, it is imperative to remedy the situation immediately to avoid loss of product, environmental damage any extra costs.
There are several different repair services that experts can implement when the need arises to stop a leak. Several factors need to be considered to decide on the right method. This could be anything from the type of system it is, to the extent of damage it has suffered.
Below, we explain some of the main ways repair technicians can help owners stop leaks and precautionary ways you can stop this from happening in the future.
4 Common Ways Repair Services Use to Help Stop Leaking Pipelines
When the structures need to be isolated so that replacement or repair can be done on them, this is a sure way of handling things effectively. It can also provide a means to completely shut-down pressurized pipelines.
Crude oil pipelines, for instance, use this method, hand in hand with the hot tapping method, which we will discuss next. When this is done, a sealing element is committed to the process by attaching it to the line-plugging and then inserted into the line to stop the flow of the product inside and shut off the system.
As a safe alternative, this is also a cost-effective and efficient technique that ensure the systems are fully operational without disruption of services.
One of the more common repair solutions used by many expert services is hot tapping. This is mainly for adding holes to lines or vessels, and are drilled into it to create tie-ins, a branch connection, and to install other relevant instruments.
This is also highly effective as it need not shut off any ongoing operations and can be used in various systems that transport products such as steam, water, crude oil, or natural gases.
An example of this would be a power plants steam generator that has various lines and repairs on the steam lines being done efficiently so as not to lose any production time.
Another non-destructive technique that may be used for leak repair for pipelines is the leak sealing method and can be done on the line, especially for larger projects that belong to the petroleum industries.
This is a great solution that allows repair and maintenance to be carried out without having to shut down operations and has been around since the early 1900s. it has thus far been proven to be an effective way to stop leaks and repair things like cracks, valve leaks, and fissures.
This solution is mainly used in industries that deal with chemicals, nuclear processes, and food.
Alongside flanges that are commonly used during repair work, the bolting connections are also implemented. There are many different types of flanges such as the threaded flange, socket-welded, lapped, blind, weld neck, and slip-on, more about these can be found here and bolts are the connections that are used to attach the lines sturdily.
These are highly beneficial and an essential tool in repair works of this kind, as without them leaks and damage are imminent. The different bolting services can include anything from measuring bolt stress to bolt tensioning and torque tightening.
These are highly versatile in high-pressure environments such as natural gas plants and oil refineries, where other components would not work as efficiently.
Preventing Pipeline Leakage in The Future
In most organizations, the integrity of a pipeline is one of the key routine procedures that are applied to maintain the system as well as to avoid any disastrous occurrences such as hazardous gas leaks, fires, pollution, and harmful dripping substances from the operations line. It is an ongoing procedure to check that things are as they should be, and any unfavorable impact is minimized.
There is a three-stage process that you can devise to make sure the integrity of the pipeline is upheld. The first one is during the design stage.
To prevent leaks from happening this is an important stage to consider from the get-go. The design, manufacture, and construction of the lines fall under this. Everything from the physical properties to the technical requirements is carefully considered and planned.
Once the specifications are approved and meet stringent protocols, then the construction line is placed. Some of the things considered at this stage include:
- A line that is protected from contamination or corrosion
- Equipment that is designed to suppress surges
- No geo-hazards are present on the route of the line
- The pump sizes and the compressor sizes must be accurate
All of the above, and more, is done via high-end technology and simulation tools to ensure an effective flow.
The second stage includes the operation, and by now the piping should already be in operation and is monitored to make sure it is working efficiently without any hindrances. There must be no leaks, and if any inconsistencies are spotted they need to be rectified immediately.
Things that are monitored include:
- The pressure of the substance once in operation
- The temperature of the ground
- Its internal and external integrity
- Any activity relating to possible excavation or construction on the ground
Training and Knowledge
Many pipeline operators that work on the site, may not know what to look for to spot any leaks or damage to the vessels or overall structures. With regular training and the necessary reading material, this can be remedied. The risk of these expensive structures losing their integrity is always paramount.
When hiring the right services to help you out, always make sure they are skilled enough for the job. Many of them will have the relevant certificates and educational background to help you, as well as to train your staff on important information to make sure things don’t go pear-shaped once they leave.