In the news: Effective relief for squeezed budgets

In the news: Effective relief for squeezed budgets

High pressure, extreme temperatures, and corrosive materials make preventive maintenance critically important to pipeline health. Add in the role the depressed oil prices have had in rousing concerns about cost-efficiency and profitability, and operators are faced with nearly unprecedented challenges to identify areas for production improvement and cost-saving measures – without jeopardizing safety.

In the February issue of World Pipelines magazine, CLIMAX’s Paul Burden, U.K. Managing Director, took on this issue by addressing the value of forward-thinking preventive maintenance programs. According to Paul, by anticipating potential issues, “preventive maintenance can extend the life of assets, reduce equipment costs and identify (and solve) potential problem areas.” To stave off potential leaks, early replacements and unplanned shutdowns – all of which can amount to millions of dollars in lost production – Paul recommends a program of periodic inspection and preventive maintenance of pipeline flanges, valves and pumps.

In the article, Paul describes both galvanic and sulfidic corrosion, as well as available corrosion-resistance measures operators can implement, including chemical inhibitors, internal pipeline coatings, biocides, cleaning pigs and silicon. However, such tactics don’t diminish the need for regular inspections and maintenance of pipeline connection systems as part of a comprehensive maintenance program.

Physical inspections should take place annually, according to Energy Institute guidelines, and include a complete breakout procedure. When regular inspections of this nature reveal corrosion or other problems with the integrity of pipeline joints, portable machining tools can play an important part in maintenance procedures by taking the solution to the problem. Because of their on-site maintenance capabilities, portable machining tools are gaining favor as a way to eliminate the costs and delays associated with ordering replacement parts or shipping parts to an offsite machining facility for repairs.

Next-generation portable flange facing machines are capable of extending to various ranges found in multiple applications. In one setting, they can machine several flange types – compact, flat face, raised face, ring-type joints, tongue and groove, lens ring – so they are more cost-effective for pipelines with varying connective parts. Models such as CLIMAX’s new Outside Diameter Mount Flange Facing Machine are also equipped with enhanced safety features, such as locating the feed control on the outside of the machine to keep the operator’s hands away from moving parts.

Read more about Paul’s insights on issues related to corrosion and pipeline integrity, as well as recommendations for budget-saving preventive maintenance programs and cost-effective options for onsite maintenance, by visiting the CLIMAX website.