A pipeline in your backyard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         On only some hundred meters of Materials Consult a new pipeline has been installed, a technological master piece. This underground steel pipeline now provides energy to several thousands of companies and households.

Construction of such a pipeline is executed in several steps, each of utmost importance in order to guarantee a continuous supply. At the same time these steps have to guarantee, individually and as a whole, that the pipeline can be operated in a safe way, towards the public and towards the environment. Sustainability is more than only a technologically correct realisation of the project.

In this blog we focus on the most important materials aspects related to the construction and preservation of such a pipeline. An overview:

  • The corrosion risks to which the pipeline is subjected, are in large part determined by the properties of the bottom types through which the pipeline passes.
  • Which steel is to be used to produce the pipeline sections, how are they shaped and given their curvature? Afterwards the pipeline sections are coated as a protection against corrosion.
  • Pipeline sections are assembled by welding on-site, at which moment the welding zone should be protected from rain, wind etc.
  • Welding procedures and the welds themselves are subjected to inspection procedures in order to guarantee the integrity and soundness of all welds.
  • After welding and inspection all welds should be coated as a protection towards corrosion.
  • In order to protect the pipeline from damage while it descends in the slot, the slot is first filled with a backing material. At the same time this backing will uniform the environmental conditions to which the pipeline is subjected.
  • Separate from the coating, additional corrosion protection is guaranteed by means of a so-called ‘cathodic protection’ system.
  • In order to prevent leakages near pump stations, but also in function of corrosion prevention, all connections of the pipeline to pumps, valves etc. should be correctly designed and realised.
  • Once the pipeline is in production, follow-up remains necessary.
  • A maintenance book is kept up-to-date, not only in terms of maintenance to the pipeline itself, but also when e.g. road works are being performed in the neighbourhood of the pipeline.
  • When works are being performed in the neighbourhood of the pipeline, the position of the pipeline must be clear to everybody involved and, if necessary, supplementary supervision has to be organised.
  • The proper functioning of the cathodic protection system has to be verified regularly and adjusted when necessary.
  • Etc.

The previous list is certainly not complete. We only want to picture the most important aspects in which materials technology plays an important role to guarantee the integrity of the pipeline. In the upcoming blogs we’ll give more detail as to the points mentioned previously. This way we hope to give you more insight in the construction of large steel pipelines and to show you that the NIMBY-attitude (Not In My BackYard) is certainly not necessary towards pipeline projects.

Materials Consult is fully confident that the pipeline in our backyard is completely safe, thanks to the efforts of many engineers, workers and other personnel; they merit our confidence.

About Materials Consult

Materials Consult bv
Malendriesstraat 70
3370 Boutersem
VAT BE0878.593.930