How Does Oil Pipeline Repair Work?

In 2020, around 332 incidents involving leaks or spills occurred with oil pipelines running through the U.S.

There are now miles upon miles of pipelines running throughout the United States. This number continues to increase as the need for crude oil and natural gas for both commercial and residential use grows. In fact, there are plans for 17 major pipeline projects for 2021 alone.

Over time, these pipelines will experience degradation. Once that happens, oil pipeline repair will be vital. Staying on top of repairs is essential to preventing an oil leak that can wreak havoc on the environment.

In this article, we’ll discuss how oil pipeline damage occurs and the type of repairs that can help.

Causes of Oil Pipeline Damage

Pipelines dealing with bulk transport often operate at high pressure. Over time, metal loss occurs from the constant interaction with fluid transporting through the pipe. This can lead to internal pitting or corrosion.

This isn’t even counting the effects the environment can have on a pipeline as it’s exposed to extreme weather effects over the course of years. Pipelines can undergo stress corrosion, stress cracking, and more.

Options for Pipeline Repair

The repair method used will vary based on the situation and the type of damage the pipeline has. Some repair methods may not be practical for the type of damage sustained, so it’s important to understand the various types of repair methods.

Pipeline Replacement

This is by far the most lengthy and costly repair option. It involves cutting out and removing the damaged section of the pipe. Then, a new section replaces the old one.

There are several difficulties associated with this type of repair. First, the entire pipeline must be turned off before any work can begin. Second, this type of repair takes time, meaning the pipeline could be off for hours or even days. After that, the pipeline has to undergo testing and inspection before use is possible once more.

Composite Sleeve

Type A sleeve and Type B sleeve are the two types of sleeve repair to choose from. The biggest benefit of using this option is that it’s possible for the pipeline to stay in service during the repairs.

With Type A, the sleeve is most often comprised of two halves from a steel cylinder. This is put around the damaged part of the pipe and then welded in place to fully encircle it. However, since the sleeve isn’t welded onto the pipe itself, this isn’t a viable option for issues with pipe pressure or leaks.

Type B sleeve repair involves welding directly onto the pipeline surface itself. This method of repair is perfect for when leaks and pressure issues need resolving.

Hot Tapping

When a pipeline experiences damage from corrosion or mechanical issues, hot tapping is the go-to for repairs. Hot tapping is also useful if a pipeline needs a new branch added.

Hot tapping requires drilling or cutting into the pipe itself and then welding. This repair method doesn’t require the pipeline to be shut off as mechanical bolt-on clamps encapsulate the damaged area to prevent leaks during the repairs.

Get Professional Help for Your Repairs

If you have an oil pipeline in need of repairs, let professionals handle the issue. At RAK Industrial Services, we offer expert repair work that will help get your oil pipeline back to being operational fast.

Contact RAK Industrial Services today for all your oil pipeline repair needs.

request a quote