The Importance of Proper Pipeline Maintenance

Pipelines are such an integral part of our lives in Canada, allowing oil and gas companies to contribute greatly to our economy. It is crucial, however, for the pipeline industry to ensure that this system works safely and efficiently.

Doing so comes down to proper pipelines maintenance. With a wide variety of tools and equipment designed to keep pipes operational and safe, proper pipeline maintenance is not only crucial but achievable as well.

Why Are Pipelines Important?

Pipelines are used to move a variety of substances – such as water, sewage, crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas – safely across large distances. In Canada, pipelines are the most practical way to deliver oil and gas from remote areas.

Tucked underground, pipelines are also an environmentally friendly way to move oil and gas through cities and towns and across farms and forests. This all changes, however, if pipelines are not properly maintained. If issues such as corrosion or leaks are left unchecked, the pipeline becomes a serious risk factor for environmental damage, injury and even death.

What Happens if Pipelines Are Not Properly Maintained?

Pipelines deteriorate over time and, if left in a state of disrepair, can pose serious risk of injury, death, environmental destruction and service interruptions.

Environmental Damage

When a pipeline becomes corroded, the metal is compromised and at risk of leaking, cracking, splitting or rupturing. Any of these results could cause hazardous materials to leak into the ground and environment, causing potential damage to both nature and people nearby.

Risk of Explosion

The weakening of pipes can also result in overpressure events, which could lead to deadly explosions. Explosions can also be caused by gas or oil leaking from the pipeline and coming into contact with heat or flame.

Disruption of Service

Apart from the risks of injury, ignoring proper pipeline maintenance and allowing pipes to corrode and breakdown will ultimately lead to a disruption in service. This will negatively affect both those who depend on the product being moved through the pipes and those who are responsible for the pipelines – a stoppage of product transport could spell the loss of revenue and hurt a company’s bottom line.

What is Involved in Proper Pipeline Maintenance?

Proper pipeline maintenance involves maintaining the integrity of a pipeline and all of its related components. This is done through regular inspections and repairs.

Pipeline Inspections

A thorough inspection can detect potential issues such as corrosion, leaks and build-up. Special equipment such as pipeline pigs are used to perform various maintenance operations. They can measure various factors inside the pipe such as restrictions and deformations of the pipes as well as metal loss.

Pipeline Repair

If a repair is necessary, pipes can be reinforced with composite wraps or steel repair sleeves. These products are designed to fix corrosion issues and leaks while avoiding transport stoppages.

Damage Prevention

Apart from damage caused by environmental factors and age, accidental damage can be caused by excavation and construction around pipelines. In order to prevent accidental damage, both pipeline companies and the digging community must take responsibility when laying pipes and digging around them. Pipeline operators are responsible for constructing pipelines that follow governing regulations. They are also responsible for responding to the digging community in a timely manner in order to properly mark the locations of their pipelines. The digging community is expected to call before they dig as well as report any resulting damage to pipelines to the pipeline operator.

First-Class Quality Products

The key to executing proper pipeline maintenance is to have high-quality parts and services. Apache Pipeline Products is a premier supplier of such products and is dedicated to delivering the best in terms of product, expertise and consistency.

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