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Key Points for Attention and Concern During Installation of Pipe

Posted by Baker Hughes on Apr 8, 2021 11:45:00 AM

Overview and Statistics

Although pipe failure is not a common occurrence, it does happen from time to time in the energy industry. Most of these failures come from steel pipe, which is quite prone to corrosion. Pipe failures are much less common in RTP pipe, a flagship product and pipeline solution provided by Baker Hughes.

Based on statistical analysis from the United States, pipeline failure frequencies range from 0.4 to 0.6 times /kilo-km each year over the last twelve-year measuring period. In areas prone to vibration, failure frequency rises to up to 0.14 occurrences/kilo-km each year.

Pipeline failure can have a negative impact on the environment, the stakeholders, and the company’s bottom line. Therefore, despite being somewhat rare, precautions need to be taken, especially during the installation of pipe, to mitigate failure.


Cost to Operators

When pipeline failure occurs, the immediate effect to the company is lost production. This directly and quickly affects profitability. Estimates provided by Research Gate show that the average cost incurred by operators is over $157, 000 per incident.

It also inevitably increases both near- and medium-term OPEX and CAPEX. And, of course, if there is a significant environmental impact, mitigation and legal costs can rise dramatically.


Most Common Types of Pipeline Failures

  1. Corrosion
  2. Utilization of incorrect or substandard product
  3. Mechanical failures (seals, joints, etc. or outright rupture)
  4. Installation errors
  5. Natural forces such as earth movement
  6. Excavation accidents

RTPs truly address the main challenge the industry has faced for years, corrosion. This remarkable composite pipe presents itself as not only an affordable alternative to steel pipes but also superior to steel by overcoming other common challenges that might lead to the aforementioned pipeline failures.


Installation of RTP Pipe: Biggest Points of Concern and Attention

The installation process is notably one of the most important steps of deploying pipelines based on the failure challenges we identified above. To ensure a seamless operation, below are some of the primary red flags to notice and avoid:

  • Damage to the pipe during installation. Damage to the pipe can occur in several ways during the on-site installation. Running over the pipe by heavy vehicles is clearly one cause. Others include over-pressurization during hydro-testing and bending of the pipe to the point of kinking.
  • Poor contractor training. Poor training of the contracting staff is a root cause issue in some pipe failure scenarios. Partnering with an RTP pipe manufacturer that places high importance on training and certification of 3rd party contractors, such as Baker Hughes Flexible Pipe Systems, can significantly reduce these issues.
  • Overheating the pipe. Exceeding the temperature specifications for the pipe during installation and testing can weaken the pipe, making it liable for later failure.
  •  Installation errors. Numerous human errors during installations can crop up, either due to negligence, lack of knowledge, or a rush to complete the job. These errors can manifest later in pipe failure.
    Improper material selection. Installing the wrong pipe for the task at hand is, of course, a recipe for later problems, including pipe failure.
  • Poor pre-job planning. Selecting a trusted RTP supplier with an experienced engineering team such as Baker Hughes’ Flexible Pipe Systems Global Applications Engineering Team, who help plan the installation process prior to deploying the pipe, will help ensure flawless installations.

How To Mitigate Future Pipe Failure During Installation

In Baker Hughes’ view, the best way to prevent pipe failure during and after installation is to be aware of the main causes of failure as outlined above and follow the proper protocols during installation.

Baker Hughes is known industry-wide for its detailed product documentation and ongoing customer training. The customer will never have to “do it alone” when installing Baker Hughes pipe.


How Baker Hughes Improves Client Interaction to Mitigate Pipe Failure

Baker Hughes is committed to its customers, from the beginning of their product evaluation, through the sales period and during the installation process and beyond. Said plainly, they do not sell their pipe and walk away.

At the time of installation, knowledgeable members of the Baker Hughes community are available to walk step-by-step with the customer to ensure that best on-site practices are followed. In the unlikely event of a problem, Baker Hughes is fully committed to work hand-in-glove with the customer to complete the installation correctly and according to recommended specifications.

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