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Pipeline Cleaning Technology Frees Stuck Pig, Increases Pipeline Throughput

Benefits

  • Recovery of the stuck pig
  • Increased profits due to improved pipeline throughput
  • Reduced risk of corrosion due to highly effective solids removal

Background

A pipeline operator had previously tried to clean a 12-inch, 9-mile section of an East Texas natural gas pipeline with a pig. The pig launched successfully but never came out of the other end, becoming lodged along the length of the pipe. Clariant Oil Services was asked to find a chemical additive that would both clean the pipeline and help dislodge the pig.

Clariant Oil Services Solutions and Value Delivered

Following a thorough review and analysis, Clariant Oil Services recommended a 2-stage pipeline cleaning approach. The first stage of the job involved pumping 168 gallons (4 bbl) of neat SURFTREAT 9270 into the pipeline, followed by 1,680 gallons (40 bbl) of dilution water to give a 10% SURFTREAT 9270 solution. 

This chemical slug was injected at the southern end of the pipeline and pigged northwards up to the point where the old pig had become stuck. The cleaning solution dislodged the stuck pig, which was displaced approximately one mile further along the pipeline.

The second stage was performed at the northern end of the pipeline moving southwards. Pumped into the line was 250 gallons (6 bbl) of SURFTREAT 9270, followed by 5,040 gallons (120 bbl) of dilution water to give a 5% solution of SURFTREAT 9270. This was displaced by a new pig heading southwards where it met with the other two pigs in the line. These were then displaced the entire length of the line where all three pigs were removed at the southern end of the pipeline. 

In removing the hydrocarbons, a significant amount of solids were mobilized from the pipeline, including iron sulfide scale, which was very oil wet and combined with 25wt% organic material. The addition of SURFTREAT 9270 successfully removed the oil, grease and wax, helping to mobilize the iron scale; thus, reducing the potential for under-deposit corrosion and potential integrity failures in the pipeline.

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