With many natural gas utility companies in the seventh year reassessment phase of their Transmission Integrity Management Plan, BGL felt it necessary to express concern for those continual findings which depict past construction procedural shortfalls. These past shortfalls are increasing the current cost associated with Direct Examinations on pipelines and pipeline maintenance.
Pipeline construction managers, inspectors, and operators are aware of the pre, during, and post inspections that are to take place during new construction of gas pipelines. Article 49, Part 192.319 clearly states that when placing pipe in a ditch the coating and the pipe should be protected from equipment and backfill material. However, many of the direct examinations performed over the past few years have found coating defects and corrosion that has been caused by materials and large rocks left lying in the trench and on the pipe during the back-filling process.
Proper cathodic protection of the pipe can ensure longevity of the pipelines remaining life. However, rocks and materials left in the ditch can have a drastic effect on the remaining life and replacement costs associated with these foreign materials. Recently, there has been a greater push for third-party inspectors. Such third-party inspectors do not work directly for the utility company or the construction contractor. Adherence to the engineering guidelines and procedural process are their number one priority.
If your company is in need of assistance, BGL offers on-site inspectors that can ensure traceable, verifiable, and complete third-party record keeping to ensure future cost of maintenance is kept to a minimum.
By: William Luttrell