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The Complete Guide to Hot Tapping Pipeline Services

Jack Gordon - July 16, 2020 - 0 comments

Have you ever heard of hot tapping? Despite being a pioneering technology, this procedure has become increasingly popular in the field of pipeline operations. Companies use this technology to repair existing gas pipeline defects or add branch lines without impeding the production process.

Hot tapping allows engineers to perform repairs on pipes where gas is under pressure, which sounds simple but it’s actually a rather hazardous procedure. Therefore, such services should solely be provided by engineers who are knowledgeable, trained, and highly skilled in this line of work. These professionals are familiar with the safety procedures and industry protocols to be followed in the course of the project, thus minimizing the risk of hazards.

Hot tapping is believed to be a more convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly procedure than traditional pipe cutting. It improves work safety and reduces gas leakages into the atmosphere.

If you are interested in hiring hot tapping services, the following guide will teach you all about the benefits and important aspects of this procedure.

Main benefits

Perhaps the most significant benefit of using hot tapping services is avoiding system shutdowns while working on the pipelines. Instead of putting a hold on the entire production process, engineers can fix the existing problem by using special equipment that allows continuous system operation.

Moreover, by using top-notch machines, these professionals prevent system obstructions, thus saving a large portion of clients’ budgets that would otherwise be spent on costly shutdowns. As a result, clients will no longer have to waste time and money waiting for pipeline defects to get fixed.

Additionally, using hot tapping machines to add extensions and valves to existing pipelines is much simpler in comparison with the traditional method. Instead of redesigning pipeline sections by cutting and re-welding certain parts of the system, hot tapping enables the welding process to be performed without any redesigning.

Furthermore, another indispensable benefit of using such services is preventing gas leakage to the atmosphere while working on gas pipelines. Due to the high amount of pressure, there’s a high risk of gas release when fixing defects on operational pipelines, which is likely to have an incredibly harmful effect on the people exposed to the leakage as well as the health of the environment. Click here to learn more about the harm done by gas leaks.

Owing to the uninterrupted production process, plants aren’t required to notify their stakeholders about gas outages. Since stakeholders would be provided with products without any interruptions, plant owners won’t have to go out of their way to notify them about pipeline interventions.

Nevertheless, hot tapping professionals are experts in handling such hazardous situations. These engineers are armed with the required knowledge, equipment, and skills to perform pressure-tapping services. They’re trained in the proper use of the tools and follow the required safety procedures in the course of the working process. Also, the constant development and innovations in this industry minimize the risk of hazards and improve workers’ safety, thus gradually increasing the popularity of these services.

Owing to their expertise and training, these professionals prevent potential hazardous consequences from happening, in the form of property damage, personal injuries, and environmental impact. For instance, property damage might be caused by a fire or an explosion, created by a source of ignition or a welding arc.

In terms of personal injuries, hot tapping professionals are exposed to the risk of skin burns, from coming in contact with heat during the working process. Also, they are prone to eye burns due to light radiation. Anyhow, as long as the engineers are equipped with the right protective gear and tools, the threat of such injuries is minimal.

Important considerations

Prior to commencing a hot tapping procedure, there is supposed to be an audit of a few essential aspects in the upcoming process. For instance, an audit is necessary in order to calculate the maximal operating pressure, as well as the exact material and diameter of the pipes. Also, it’s paramount to inspect the parent pipeline for potential damage that might obstruct the hot tapping procedure.

Moreover, location is of major importance in such procedures, which is why engineers are expected to be familiar with the location of the project beforehand. This knowledge would help them devise an appropriate strategy in the case of an on-site accident.

Apart from calculating the overall labor, equipment, and material costs for the project, the cost of a potential shutdown should also be taken into account. Considering the possibility of potential issues arising on the way, which might put a stop on the hot tapping procedure, engineers are required to determine the approximate cost of shutdown. As a result, the opportunities for financial support would be discussed prior to commencing the project so as to be prepared in the event of hot tapping issues.

In addition, the pipe material plays a major role in determining the types of fittings, as these cannot be used on pipelines of any material. For example, welded branch connection fitters are suitable for performing hot tapping on steel pipes but these cannot be used on concrete, asbestos cement, and cast iron. In those cases, engineers are supposed to come up with an alternative solution like cast iron compression sleeves.

In order for the hot tapping procedure to be performed in an effective and safe manner, engineers are expected to follow the required industry standards, such as certain ASME and API standards. As long they follow the necessary protocols, the safety of workers and the environment’s protection are guaranteed.

Ultimately, the budget should be also considered before hiring professionals to perform a hot tapping procedure. These services are believed to be more cost-effective than a shutdown, as the production process isn’t interrupted. The shutdown is a more time-consuming and much costlier alternative, which is why most business owners decide to give hot tapping a chance.

Bottom line

These services save time, money, and unnecessary interruptions in the production process.

They’re worth the shot!

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