Safe Pipeline Pigging Procedures

Pipeline pig FAQs, use and results

 Pipeline pig

Pipeline pigging is a method used all around the US and the rest of the world as an effective method of cleaning, inspecting and maintaining industrial pipes. While pipeline pigging offers the advantage of not interrupting production processes, it can be a high-risk procedure, unless it is facilitated by a qualified operator.

Any type of pipeline pigging requires extensive planning, and professional assistance for either the pig manufacturers or a qualified pipeline cleaning service company. The key to safe operation is to eliminate or at least minimize ILI tool sensor liftoff. Proper application ensures maximum results for companies, whether they require mechanical dry pigging or liquid pipeline pigging with mechanical pigs.

The process involves launcher and receiving station, which is generally a vessel that is connected parallel to the pipeline that will be cleaned or inspected. This method enables the operator to launch and receive the pipeline pig, using the normal operating pressure of the pipeline to propel it forward without stopping production or interrupting the flow of the liquid product.

The launcher or receiver vessel has a closure door for safe operation, and the process involves a sequence of valve operations combined with opening and closing of the door. A mistake during this operation could have dire consequences.

Pipeline Pigging Launcher and Receiver Station Operation

Safe operation of the pipeline pigging closure door requires that the operator follows certain safety procedures before opening the closure:

  1. Drain and depressurize the vessel.
  2. Isolate the vessel from the process pipeline.
  3. If drain systems or vent headers are present, the vessel must first be isolated.
  4. The vessel should not contain any toxic gasses, such as H2S.
  5. The vessel must be isolated when the door is open.
  6. The closure must be shut tightly before the launching or receiving process commences.

Production may be interrupted if the throttle is not opened fully before the operator isolates the launcher or receiver station and that’s why it is so important to prevent opening the doors when the system is under pressure.

Pipeline pigging inspections ensure that your system is operating as it should. The pig will measure a range of variables from the inside, including the volume, pressure and wall thickness. Again, this process should be handled by a professional pipeline pigging operator who is trained to administer the pig and interpret the results.

When buying a pipeline pigging system, be sure to deal with a reputable ILI company who is able to offer the support needed for best results.

References

Drinkwater Products: Pipeline Pigs, Pikotek Gaskets, Pipeline Pigging

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