We all know that working in the petroleum industry can be a dirty job. You’re likely coming home sweaty, muddy, possibly even covered in oil. Yet, so many of us forget that these pipelines require maintenance. If petroleum pipelines aren’t kept clean, the oil will not only clog the pipes, but it’ll reduce the oil’s quality and the pipeline’s efficiency. So, keep those pipes clean with one or more of these methods for cleaning petroleum pipelines.
This method is very common, as it’s the most cost-effective and easiest to train. The worker starts by screwing flexible rods together and shoving them through the pipes to unclog the pipe. You could think of it as similar to using a plumber’s drain snake, only on a much larger scale. Not to mention, this process is very messy and often requires extra clean-up.
Instead of using a long pipe or other forms of hardware, why not use water? Well, that’s exactly what jetting uses. This process involves forcing water at an extremely high pressure through the pipes to break down any buildup clogging the pipe. Jetting is a common method because it’s easy, though jetting does require having a high-pressure pump. So, this process is less cost-effective if you don’t already have the equipment available.
Pigging is one of the most common methods for cleaning petroleum pipelines. This method involves inserting an object, known as pig––we’re not making this up, people––that travels through the pipeline, breaking down any buildup. While it sounds comical, pigging has become a widely accepted method in the petroleum industry. However, before you consider using this method, just make sure you have one of the types of valves that are piggable.
Lastly, for more serious scenarios, you may need to use a chemical to break down grease, corrosion, and buildup. However, using chemicals to unclog and clean pipes is usually on the bottom of the list. The reason for this is because it’s expensive and working with these chemicals can be dangerous.