Handling the pressure: Cleaning and testing results from Pipe Tek

Pipe Tek

From remote locations in Western Australia and the Cooper Basin to sites with a limited footprint in Queensland, Pipe Tek is achieving fast results that deliver superior data and more confidence in the integrity of their customers’ gas, water and CO2 pipelines. The Australian Pipeliner spoke with managing director Myles Brannelly and chief operating officer Taddam Farrant about the delivery of some of the company’s most important and challenging projects yet.

“We’ve had our busiest year yet,” Brannelly said.

“But not only that, we’ve produced some great results for the projects that we’ve worked on.”

Below, Brannelly and Farrant run through a highlights reel of the results they’ve achieved for their clients over the last 12 months and how they achieved them.

Two-hour Caliper turnaround on the NGI Project

Pipe Tek completed a caliper project for NACAP on a 1,400m section of pipeline for the Northern Goldfields Interconnect (NGI), located near Ambania in the Goldfields Region of Western Australia.

Pipe Tek used Enduro’s Digital Data Logger (DdL™) to collect data and measure geometry along the route of the new pipeline and associated aboveground facilities, verifying welds and identifying any anomalies or corrosion to ensure its safe and efficient operation.

To save NACAP time and money, the Pipe Tek team propelled the tool with air instead of water, which would have required the use of water trucks to transport water to the remote, arid location.

The tool ran at optimal speed and collected all data on the first pass.

“It was a fantastic result,” Farrant said.

“Thanks to the tool’s efficiency, we were able to inform the client that there were no major anomalies within two hours of retrieving the tool which is a really fast turnaround compared to some competitor tools and alternate pigging programs.”

The ultra-rugged, versatile DdL tool offers both radius point readings and diametrical-cross sectional analysis with multiple channels provided to offer the ability to log pipeline anomalies in clock positions. The gyro inputs provide the ability to determine bend radii as well as bend directions.

The tool can detect dents, precise buckles and wrinkles as well as pipeline expansion detection and bend stress analysis. A Go/No-Go run with a gauge plate pig is conducted prior to any corrosion survey.

Custom-built hydrotest trailer succeeds in limited footprint worksite

Pipe Tek was engaged by Pensar for pigging and pressure testing on the 10km pipeline being constructed as part of Unitywater’s Wamuran Irrigation Scheme (WIS), which will provide Class A recycled water to Queensland farmers while sustainably managing wastewater from the Caboolture South Treatment Plant.

The project involved many stakeholders and contractors working closely together on site.

Pipe Tek used medium density foam pigs on pipeline sections that had been constructed using horizontal directional drilling and trenching to remove air and debris prior to testing.

Some mainline sections couldn’t be pigged, leading Pipe Tek to use air valves in order to bleed out air at all high points of each section.

Pipe Tek then pressurised the pipeline to the required test pressure to ensure the structural integrity of the pipeline.

To complete the testing, Pipe Tek used its custom-built hydrotesting trailer, equipped with an inbuilt air actuated hydrotest pump. The trailer features calibrated pressure gauges and flow meters, and has a compact design to ensure manoeuvrability on testing sites with limited footprints, which Brannelly said was a key challenge on the project.

“Working so closely together on site was a challenge for everyone involved. We had to maintain strong communication and patience to ensure we got the job done right,” he said.

Pipe Tek
Taddam Farrant handling Enduro’s Digital Data Logger (Caliper pig) on the NGI project.

Cleaning acceptance criteria exceeded by 10mm for CO2 pipeline

Pipe Tek was engaged to test the pipeline and five aboveground facilities associated with Santos’ Moomba Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project, located in South Australia’s remote Cooper Basin.

The 53km, 10-inch diameter pipeline will transport compressed, dehydrated, dense-phase CO2 from the Moomba CCS facility to injection wells at depleted reservoirs at pressures between 10-15 megapascals (MPa).

The project required rigorous testing to meet the CO2 pipeline’s unique design and operational requirements. Importantly, a thorough drying process was required so that no free water remained in the pipeline which could lead to corrosion or the formation of CO2 hydrates across throttling valves at pipeline depressuring vents and the injection wells.

Before testing could occur, several cleaning runs were performed with an Enduro pig train to ensure the pipeline internal surfaces were burnished and substantially free of residual dust.

“We chose to use an Enduro bidirectional pig train and pig links. It included cups, brushes, gauge plates and magnets with bypass sealing discs to allow for optimal cleaning and reduce ferrous material left behind from the construction process,” Farrant said.

The pig train and a series of magnets were run through the pipeline until visual inspection showed the internal surfaces to be clean, bright and free from particulate rust and scale, and air exiting the pipeline ahead of the pig was clear and practically free of dust.

The pipeline was then filled using a bidirectional pig with high-wear discs before being strength and leak tested to 21,000 kilopascals (kPa) and AS2885.5 requirements. The five aboveground facilities were leak tested as per ASME B31.3.

Once the pressure tests were approved, the dewatering and cleaning process began, taking into consideration the stringent requirements to ensure no free water remained in the pipeline.

“We ran a desiccant dryer with a stage of cleaning and drying pigs to ensure no further water, debris or particles were pushed in front of the pigs as they exited the pipeline,” Farrant said.

“We were working to an acceptance criteria of less than 15mm for the depth of discoloration of the foam pigs after being cut, but we managed to achieve less than 5mm penetration on the handover acceptance pig – which is an incredible achievement for a 53km pipeline.”

Following the drying process, a commissioning batch treatment was carried out to establish the pipeline corrosion inhibitor. The pipeline was then N2 purged with less than five per cent residual O2 content left in the pipeline with a blanket pressure of 350 kilopascal gauge (kPag).

Australian-based tools with global support

“We’re so proud to be experiencing our busiest year yet,” Brannelly said.

“Many of the projects that we’ve completed have been supported by our exclusive partnership deal with Enduro.”

Enduro’s product offering has allowed Pipe Tek to expand its services to offer a full turnkey solution. The company’s services now include non-destructive testing (NDT), pre-cleaning, gauging, filling, hydrostatic and pneumatic testing, dewatering, drying with either desiccant or refrigerant dryers, nitrogen purging, caliper pigging, inline inspection (ILI) with dig ups and verification by phase array.

Pipe Tek has a range of MFL, caliper and cleaning tools based on the east coast of Australia that can be calibrated and rebuilt to be used for future jobs. Pipe Tek personnel are also fully trained to run Enduro’s tools and stay onsite to ensure continuity throughout, meaning overseas technicians aren’t required.

“This reduces costs to our clients and saves a phenomenal amount of time in freight as we drive the tools straight to site with the team,” Brannelly said.

“We’re also extremely fortunate to have the support of Enduro’s highly experienced and knowledgeable engineering and design teams so we can design, and manufacture custom made tools for all our clients.”

This article featured in the September edition of The Australian Pipeliner. 

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