How are Pipelines Constructed?

Pipelines are an important part of all our lives, even though we don’t always see them. They’re buried deep underground and our of sight, but they affect all of our lives in many ways. 

Pipelines work to transport fluids like natural gas, crude oil, and other refined petroleum products such as heating oil throughout countries.

How are Pipelines Built?

Pipeline construction can be divided into three time periods: pre-construction, construction, and post-construction.

Pre Construction

This pre-constriction period can last for a few months or for several years before construction will begin. The various teams will keep in contact with the landowners and any stakeholders to keep them up to date. Communication is key during this period.  

Survey teams will travel the route of the proposed pipeline and determine where it will be buried by the right of way and begin to clear the vegetation and any existing structures. 

Construction 

The pipe is staked out and centered and individual pieces are laid out and placed end to end. The sections of the pipes are then welded together and then bent to follow a safe route that matches the contours of the land. A pipe bending machine will typically be used to gently bend the pipes. 

To prevent any corrosion, the pipes are covered, or coated with special coatings to protect the steel. For example, epoxy coatings are generally used in North America to protect against materials in the soil that can cause erosion to happen with the pipeline.  

These coatings can be specifically made for conditions directly surrounding the pipeline. This welded pipeline is then lowered down into the trench bed that has been prepared and shut off valves and fittings. 

Post Construction 

After the pipeline has been constructed, it is put through a set of tests to determine how it will hold up under various conditions. To ensure that no negative long term effects are made on the land environment, specialists are brought in to determine the needs of the land. A period of three years is set aside to remediate the land.

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