World Pipelines December 2023

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Volume 23 Number 12 - December 2023


Over O ver 3 30 0 yyears ears o xperience off e experience iin np ipeline pipeline a nd sstructural tructural and m aintenance maintenance






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CONTENTS WORLD PIPELINES | VOLUME 23 | NUMBER 12 | DECEMBER 2023 03. Editor's comment 05. Pipeline news

With updates on the Trans Mountain expansion project, Balticconnector, Nord Stream and contract wins.

KEYNOTE: CYBER SECURITY 08. Bolstering pipeline security

Mike Hoffman, Principle Industrial Consultant, and Mark Urban, Vice President of Product & Industry Market Strategy, Dragos, Inc, USA, discuss safeguarding against cyberattacks with SANS 5 critical controls.


END OF YEAR REPORT 26. From delays to lessons learned Haris Katostaras, HKA, UK.

HYDROGEN QUARTERLY FOCUS 31. Leading the way in low-carbon hydrogen

Ed Gilford, National Gas, Chris Verity, Northern Gas Networks, and Adam Knight, Cadent Gas, UK.

35. Reducing explosion risk

Khodadad Kamaliseresht, Jensen Hughes, Belgium.

METERING AND MONITORING 39. Tightening up the process


Faris Churcher, Oxford Flow, UK.

FLOW 43. Mastering sand management Neil Barton, Xodus Group.

Mike Hoffman, Principal Industrial Consultant, and Mark Urban, Vice President of Product & Industry Market Strategy, Dragos, Inc., USA, discuss safeguarding against cyberattacks with SANS 5 critical controls.

PIPELINE CONDITION ASSESSMENT 45. Data for a longer lifecycle

nternational oil and gas pipelines are a critical component of the global energy picture. They provide a safe, efficient, and cost-effective way to transport massive volumes of oil and gas over long distances. However, significant cybersecurity risks are associated with pipelines due to the geographically dispersed nature of SCADA systems and their communications to remote pump/compressor and meter station automation systems, which may contain a mixture of PLCs and RTUs that operate pipeline equipment. These control systems are often accessed remotely by third parties and are increasingly monitored by devices connected to mobile networks or the internet. Additionally, OT systems often depend highly on IT systems for

Linda Duffy, Apropos Research, USA.





17. Implementing integrated security

PIPELINE MACHINERY 49. Rigging tough trucks

Todd Razor, on behalf of PACCAR Winch.

Andreas Michael and Michael Pfeifer, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH, and Jens Gerlach and Sven Kalmeier, ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH, discuss effectively protecting critical infrastructure, taking operational security into account.

PIPELINE MACHINERY FOCUS 53. Pipeline machinery focus

John Barbera, Barbco, USA; Jeff Davis, Ditch Witch, USA.

INTERVIEW 21. Q&A with Winn & Coales International

World Pipelines and Chris Winn, Group Chairman, Winn & Coales International.


Reader enquiries []


For over 30 years, 3X ENGINEERING (3X) has been one of the world's leading companies specialised in pipeline maintenance using composite technology. Mainly operating in the oil and gas industry, 3X expertise also extends to the power and construction sectors. As the developer, manufacturer, seller and installer of our products, we offer to clients a complete integrated service. From our head offices in Monaco, we operate worldwide, in any environments (onshore, offshore and subsea), thanks to our large qualified distribution network of over 60 partners. For more information, visit Member of ABC Audit Bureau of Circulations

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Volume 23 Number 12 - December 2023


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he board of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI fired its high-profile CEO, Sam Altman, on a Friday in mid-November. Altman accepted a job at Microsoft over the weekend, before being reinstated to his original role at OpenAI the following week. Altman’s sudden firing prompted 702 of OpenAI’s 750 employees to sign a letter demanding he be brought back, threatening mass walkouts. A revamped board now presides over the AI giant, with the addition of Bret Taylor, former CEO of Salesforce, and Larry Summer, former US Treasury Secretary. OpenAI was formed with the mission to guide the safe SENIOR EDITOR Elizabeth Corner and ethical development of artificial intelligence. Its board members preside over a ‘capped profit company’, of which Microsoft owns 49%. The company charter lists preventing harm as a priority, as it seeks to master safe AI. Unlike most of its fellow Silicon Valley startups, “OpenAI is overseen by a nonprofit parent board designed to ensure AI safety is given priority alongside growth.”1 The original board had said the justification for the firing was Altman’s lack of candour and its need to defend OpenAI’s mission to develop AI that benefits humanity. However, reports are surfacing that some sort of big AI breakthrough was coming, which would have compromised the ethos of the nonprofit board. Reuters reports that “ahead of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s four days in exile, several staff researchers wrote a letter to the board of directors warning of a powerful artificial intelligence discovery that they said could threaten humanity … The sources cited the letter as one factor among a longer list of grievances by the board leading to Altman’s firing, among which were concerns over commercialising advances before understanding the consequences.”2 The current buzz is around a software allegedly named: Q* (pronounced Q star). This purported AI breakthrough takes a step towards what is known as artificial general intelligence (AGI), which are, broadly, autonomous systems that surpass humans in economically valuable tasks. It’s said that Q* can handle mathematical problems. Mathematics is an important frontier in AI, because in maths there is just one correct answer. While a Chatbot like ChatGPT can offer you insight into a subject using words generated from its extensive large language model (LLM), the ability to answer a mathematical question correctly is much more difficult. In other words, Q* could be a really big deal for the future of AI. The saga has highlighted disagreements within the tech sector about how fast we should be moving on AI, and where commercialisation sits in the scheme of things. Some shareholders are believed to be exploring legal recourse after the turmoil threatened the future of OpenAI, presumably with dollars very much in the forefront of their minds. Many have speculated that in bringing Altman back and tweaking the board, the experiment in so-called ‘altruistic governance’ is over. In the pipeline sector, we use AI in many ways. As Darryl Willis, Corporate Vice President of Energy at Microsoft, puts it: “Technologies like AI and machine learning can analyse the past, optimise the present and predict the future.”3 AI solutions assist pipeliners with advanced analytics, predictive maintenance and incident response; with optimising assets and processes; in monitoring, surveillance and reducing downtime; with inventory, procurement, logistics, supply chain management; and in meeting compliance. AI is helping the sector meet future challenges too, since it is used in the development of digital twin technology, AI-premised cyber security, demand forecasting, cloud computing, and the next stage of digitalisation for plants and pipeline networks. This month we’re covering cyber security for pipelines, and we start 2024 strong with a special feature on the digitalisation journey for pipeline operators in the January issue. The team and I look forward to guiding you through this fascinating, and ever-changing world of AI evolution. 1. 2. 3.

CRC Evans wishes our valued customers and partners a peaceful holiday and a prosperous New Year. We look forward to another successful year together in 2024. CRC Evans’ market-leading welding and coating services, technologies and high-performance equipment ensure efficient, on-time delivery of your global onshore and offshore energy projects.

WORLD NEWS Trans Mountain expansion project 95% complete, resumes work on wetlands The Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project has been allowed to resume work in a wetland area near Abbotsford, British Columbia, after correcting issues raised by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). Earlier in November, the CER ordered a halt on an 800 m stretch after inspectors found several environmental and safetyrelated non-compliances. “Trans Mountain has received a notice to resume work from the Canada Energy Regulator ... Trans Mountain corrected all noncompliances in the region and is conducting safety inspections of all active sites to prevent any re-occurrence,” the operator said in an emailed statement. The stop work order was the latest in a string of delays for the 590 000 bpd expansion project, which will nearly triple the flow of crude from Alberta to Canada’s Pacific Coast once completed.

CER ordered the work stoppage, citing “damaged and down amphibian exclusion fencing ... including dewatering hoses strung overtop and pulling fence into wetland,” vegetation clearing that was not approved, and damaged trees, according to the regulator’s website. “Inspection Officers and Indigenous Monitors observed several non-compliances related to the environment and safety. Some of these non-compliances include insufficient fencing to protect amphibians and unapproved vegetation clearing,” the notice reads in part. Trans Mountain has said the expanded pipeline will start shipping crude late in 1Q24. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government bought the pipeline in 2018 to ensure the expansion went ahead. The project is expected to cost CAN$30.9 billion (US$22.54 billion), more than four times the original estimate.

Balticconnector to benefit from bigger capacity after repair The Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, which was damaged in October, will get a bigger transmission capacity next year following repairs, Finnish operator Gasgrid said in a statement. “The increased capacity can be offered for the market starting from October 2024,” Gasgrid said. The gas pipeline will get a bigger northbound transmission capacity: this increase will come from an enhancement of the Latvia-Lithuania interconnection, which allows for higher gas volumes to be transported around the Finnish-Baltic region. The pipeline will in the future get a base capacity of

70.5 GWh/d of gas in the direction from Estonia to Finland, up from a previous 65 GWh/d during summer months and 55 - 60 GWh/d in winter, Gasgrid said. The operator has said it expects repairs of the pipeline to be completed no sooner than April 2024. The higher volumes could follow soon after. “The increased capacity can be offered for the market starting from October 2024,” Gasgrid said. Investigators have said they believe damage to the Balticconnector and several subsea telecoms cables in the Baltic Sea was caused by a ship dragging its anchor along the seabed.

Nord Stream blasts: Ukrainian suspect announced An investigation by The Washington Post revealed a senior Ukrainian military officer with deep ties to the country’s intelligence services played a central role in the bombing of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last year, according to officials in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe, as well as other people knowledgeable about the details of the covert operation.

Roman Chervinsky, a decorated 48 year old colonel who served in Ukraine’s special operations forces, was the “coordinator” of the Nord Stream operation, people familiar with his role said, managing logistics and support for a six person team that rented a sailboat under false identities and used deep-sea diving equipment to place explosive charges on the gas pipelines.

US Coast Guard searches for source of pipeline leak The US Coast Guard said (on 21 November 2023) that it is still seeking the source of a leak from a pipeline linked to a Houstonbased firm, off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico which it estimated has released more than 1 million gallons of crude oil. The 67 mile long undersea pipeline was closed by Main Pass Oil Gathering Co. on Thursday 16 November 2023, after crude oil was spotted around 19 miles offshore of the Mississippi River Delta, near Plaquemines Parish, south-east of New Orleans. The Coast Guard is leading a multi-agency response, which includes the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Operations of seven energy companies have been impacted by the spill, officials said. Third Coast Infrastructure, which reportedly completed the pipeline last year, has declined to comment about the spill and referred questions to the Coast Guard.

At a news briefing, Coast Guard officials said the Houston firm was suspected of the leak and described it as “the responding party” but said investigations continued, with several operators in the area. MPOG is a subsidiary of Houston-based Third Coast Infrastructure, 50% of which is owned by private equity company IIF, and which is controlled by JPMorgan. Initial engineering calculations placed the volume of the leak at 1.1 million gallons, or 26 190 bbls. “We’re not saying that was the exact amount. We are not going to know the exact amount of oil that was discharged into the Gulf of Mexico until we find the source,” Captain Kelly Denning, Coast Guard Deputy Commander for the New Orleans sector, told the media.

DECEMBER 2023 / World Pipelines



Corinth Pipeworks wins OMV Petrom’s Neptun Deep contract

30 January - 3 February 2024

Corinth Pipeworks, as subcontractor of Sumitomo Corporation Europe Limited, will manufacture and supply approximately 160 km of longitudinally submerged arc-welded steel pipes (LSAW) for the development of an offshore natural gas pipeline for OMV Petrom’s Neptun Deep project in the Black Sea. The contract is valued between €100 and €150 million. The Neptun Deep Block in the Black Sea has an area of 7500 km2 and is located at a distance of about 160 km from the shore of Romania, in water depths up to 1000 m. Neptun Deep is the largest natural gas project in the Romanian Black Sea and the first deepwater offshore project in Romania. The 30 in. pipeline will be manufactured at Corinth Pipeworks’

76th annual PLCA Convention 2024 Nassau, Bahamas

12 - 16 February 2024 PPIM 2024

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AMI Pipeline Coating Vienna, Austria

3 - 7 March 2024

AMPP Annual Conference + Expo 2024 New Orleans, USA

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Pipeline Technology Conference (ptc) 2024 Berlin, Germany

15 - 19 April 2024

TUBE Düsseldorf 2024 Düsseldorf, Germany

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Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2024 Houston, USA

11 - 13 June 2024

Global Energy Show 2024 Calgary, Canada

26 - 29 August 2024 ONS 2024

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6 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

Brazil’s Ocyan to renovate Petrobras gas pipeline for US$317.5 million Brazilian oil and gas services provider Ocyan has won a contract with Petrobras to revitalise a network of gas pipelines in the offshore Campos Basin for 1.6 billion reais (US$317.49 million). The contract will last an estimated four and a half years and will revamp the pipelines of two decommissioned platforms, Jorge Mitidieri, Executive Vice-President of Ocyan’s services unit, told Reuters. The contract marks the return of Ocyan to EPCI subsea construction, and this will be the first time that Ocyan will lead such a project, in a 50/50 partnership with the Portuguese company Mota-Engil. The offshore activity will be performed near the Namorado and Garoupa platforms (PNA-1 and PGP-1) and will include the installation of various subsea equipment, including manifolds and the installation of flexible pipes. Currently, gas production at the Campos Basin flows through four lines via the platforms and lands through export pipelines. Once those platforms are deactivated, the gas will move through two subsea manifolds and respective interconnections to the existing subsea system. The first stage of the project, which comprises the engineering phase, will start immediately, and the offshore campaign is expected to start in 2025.

facilities and will include external anticorrosion coating and internal flow efficiency lining, applied at the same location as pipe manufacturing at Thisvi, Greece. “OMV Petrom signed a contract with Transgaz in March this year, for the natural gas delivery from the Black Sea to the National Transport System (NTS), through the Tuzla entry/exit NTS point. The agreement was for the period September 2026 to September 2042. With a current estimated value of approximately €478 million, the project consists of constructing the 308.3 km gas transmission pipeline Tuzla-Podisor to connect the Black Sea gas to the BRUA corridor, thus enabling the transmission of gas through the existing interconnections.

ON OUR WEBSITE • Germany and Italy to build

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BOLSTERING Mike Hoffman, Principal Industrial Consultant, and Mark Urban, Vice President of Product & Industry Market Strategy, Dragos, Inc., USA, discuss safeguarding against cyberattacks with SANS 5 critical controls. nternational oil and gas pipelines are a critical component of the global energy picture. They provide a safe, efficient, and cost-effective way to transport massive volumes of oil and gas over long distances. However, significant cybersecurity risks are associated with pipelines due to the geographically dispersed nature of SCADA systems and their communications to remote pump/compressor and meter station automation systems, which may contain a mixture of PLCs and RTUs that operate pipeline equipment. These control systems are often accessed remotely by third parties and are increasingly monitored by devices connected to mobile networks or the internet. Additionally, OT systems often depend highly on IT systems for




Figure 1. Dragos crown jewel analysis for oil and gas pipeline operations.

activities such as custody transfer and accounting, product movement, and scheduling. There have been several high-profile cyberattacks on oil and gas pipelines. In 2022, a ransomware attack hit the European natural gas company Engie; the attack caused the company to shut down some of its operations temporarily. In 2021, the Colonial Pipeline suffered a ransomware attack on its IT systems.1 They disconnected the IT systems from their OT systems, thereby isolating the pipeline SCADA from the business accounting systems. This decision eventually led them to stop their US east coast pipeline operation due to the inability to account for product ownership along the pipeline and in tank farm inventories, ultimately affecting customer billing. The pipeline shutdown had significant downstream impacts, with consumer gas prices increasing an estimated 7 cents a gallon; some businesses were forced to close or reduce their hours due to a lack of fuel. The direct costs – between ransomware payments, repair, and lost revenue – are estimated between US$20 and US$30 million. The Federal Reserve estimates the overall economic impact at US$2.3 billion. International tensions often coalesce around oil and gas. Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure are a low-risk nationstate option that can significantly impact a targeted country. As the industry becomes more reliant on digital technology, it becomes more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Across the globe, governments are recognising the need to implement cybersecurity regulations to protect pipelines. In the US, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) issued the Pipeline Security Directive (SD02C), requiring pipeline owners and operators to establish a

10 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

cybersecurity implementation plan, assessment plan, and develop and test an incident response plan.2 The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) just issued the Cybersecurity Framework Profile for Liquefied Natural Gas.3 Other countries are starting to incorporate pipelines in their cybersecurity regulations, including Australia SOCIP/ SLACIP, Saudi Arabia OTCC, and EU member states under the NIS2 Directive.4,5

Protecting crown jewels from cyberattacks Like most industrial businesses, pipeline operations have constraints on resources, budgets, and outage time. Security controls, therefore, cannot be applied to all systems in the same way. Analysing operations to identify the key assets – sometimes known as ‘crown jewels’ – allows us to prioritise security controls. This should be viewed as a business enabler to ensure safe, reliable, and optimised operations. Monitoring operational equipment for security can have many benefits to maintaining normal operations. Figure 1 shows a ‘crown jewel’ analysis for typical pipeline operations.

How to secure your OT environment Whether organisations are just starting on their cybersecurity journey or have a mature cybersecurity posture, knowing how to focus efforts and monies appropriately is the topic of many leadership conversations. SANS, a leading IT and OT security training provider, recently provided the Five Critical Controls organisations should focus on to secure their OT environments.6 The controls are: ) OT-specific incident response plan.

) A defensible architecture. ) OT network visibility and monitoring. ) Secure remote access. ) Risk-based vulnerability management.

Many frameworks are available with much more sophisticated layers of analysis, controls, and maturity levels. However, the simplicity of the Five Critical Controls lends itself well to a viable OT security programme strategy that companies can implement.

OT-specific incident response plan Because the world of pipelines differs from IT office systems, industrial organisations need incident response plans that consider the impacts, skills, and procedures particular to pipeline operations. When ransomware strikes or processes break down, operations, engineering, and technicians often struggle to understand what’s happening. That’s why companies must create a response plan before any incident. This should be the first call to action if an organisation lacks an incident response plan. This plan should include the top scenarios that drive risk to an organisation. It should consider answers for those scenarios to operations, security, compliance, and regulatory responsibilities. At a minimum, a ransomware attack scenario should be included, with a focus on when an IT/OT disconnect would take place, understanding what systems would be affected, what systems contain what critical

Figure 2. OT network security monitoring (NSM) deployment.

12 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

information to investigate potential root causes, who would need to respond, who would need to be notified, would OT systems work if IT systems are disconnected, etc. The IR plan should answer these questions and provide valuable prescriptions if the company does fall victim to an attack. The OT-specific incident response plan needs to be tested with a table top exercise, to uncover issues and incorporate corrections to deployed security controls or the plan itself, as part of a continuous improvement process.

Defensible architecture The next important area that pipelines should focus on is to ensure the systems and network architectures are designed to protect critical OT assets. This includes protecting them from IT networks, further segmenting the OT systems into areas of trust or security zones, ability to collect network traffic and systems communication with network infrastructure (TAPs, SPANs, etc.), log collection from crown jewels, and the ability to go into a ‘defensible cyber position’, where connectivity and devices unnecessary for constrained operations are reduced during potential security events. Segmentation is a critical design point. If a system does not need to communicate with another system, then technical controls (e.g. firewalls) should prevent those communications from occurring. OT systems are commonly classified based on the type and relative process data timing needs from real-time to aggregated time; then, the systems are segmented according to zones. Sitting between the OT and IT networks is a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) construct that acts as a traffic gateway to ensure user-to-system and

system-to-system communication crossing the OT to the IT environment, or cloud, is brokered and tightly controlled. The DMZ also provides a logical area to isolate the automation systems in the event of a cybersecurity event on the IT side.

ICS network visibility and monitoring Setting up a well-architected network helps to prevent cybersecurity attacks from being successful and allows for security monitoring solutions to be leveraged in the environment. Unlike IT systems, where software agents can be deployed on all workstations and servers, OT systems are engineered and often restricted by vendors as to what security software solutions can be deployed. OT systems have many devices, such as PLCs, RTUs, flow computers, analysers, and instrumentation, that cannot run conventional security software. Nevertheless, asset owners and operators must understand the activities that are occurring on the networks. Deploying continuous network security monitoring (NSM) solutions provides valuable insights into the overall operation of automation and control systems. For example, NSM can detect workstation-to-server or server-tocontroller traffic and further see commands being sent to devices, such as when a VFD motor driving a product pump is commanded to increase flow into a pipeline. They will also be able to detect malicious behaviours, such as an adversary trying to jump the IT to OT boundary to move into the OT environment further to compromise systems, with the end goal of system disruption or damage. Detecting at the IT/OT boundary and near SCADA to PLC traffic is critical to a holistic security programme. NSM also dramatically assists with identifying device and network misconfigurations or leading indicators to failures, thereby simultaneously providing operational reliability and security benefits. Figure 2 shows a high-level NSM deployment diagram.

difficulty bar for an adversary to break in and should always be used in remote access solutions. This solution can be used for both in-house and vendor-supported remote access. There are many choices in remote access technology: old line IPSec VPNs have many known vulnerabilities; newer ‘zero trust network access’ technologies can overcome many of those shortcomings. Whatever technology is employed, make sure that it uses 2FA, requires credentials for OT that are separate from IT systems, implements tight access controls to systems, and is constantly monitored.

Risk-based vulnerability management Automation and control systems are comprised of firmware, operating systems and applications, and are unfortunately susceptible to many of the same vulnerabilities on IT systems. For OT servers and workstations running Windows, these devices need to be patched on a determined frequency. Other systems, such as PLCs or RTUs, must be kept updated, but often less regularly due to the operational impact of applying a patch or firmware that requires rebooting the systems. A recommended approach is to inventory your systems to know what you have and understand what needs attention. The NSM solution mentioned previously will significantly help this effort, then work to apply patches and firmware based on factors such as the interconnectedness to the IT environment, operational risk, and operational impact of the patch itself. Other mitigating controls also play a part here, such as restricted network access through segmentation or disabling vulnerable functionality. For example, if a PLC sits alone on a skid with no network connection, it will fall into a very low-risk category. More and more, however, all automation systems are networked to support remote monitoring and control. Requirements for increased patching frequencies increase for remote access, data, and file transfer servers, or those interacting with the IT and business systems.

Secure remote access

Protecting oil and gas pipelines is critical

Many pipeline facilities do not have sufficient size or complexity to warrant onsite control systems engineers, instrumentation and electrical (I&E) technicians, or OT security staff. Often, these individuals cover a region encompassing many remote facilities. However, these distributed roles still need access to automation and control systems to support operational troubleshooting, and even make small logic or control strategy changes; onsite presence is still advised or required to make process impactful control system changes. Remote access solutions provide the necessary technical means for these workers to access the plant, and these solutions must reside within a secure zone between the IT/OT DMZ and ensure a network protocol break occurs between network communications coming into and out of the remote access server to the facility system being accessed. The remote access solution should enforce a second form of authentication, often called 2FA, that leverages a token or one-time password. 2FA drastically raises the

Oil and gas production facilities and pipelines are often at the centre stage of global tensions, and high-value targets for ransomware gangs and threat actors of all kinds. Industrial organisations must prioritise protecting their critical assets with attacks focused on damaging equipment, employees, and the environment. This includes having a plan that allows OT systems to operate and generate revenue when IT systems are taken offline. Critical systems need to be defended, and by applying the Five Critical Controls, owners and operators will be in a much better position to take the higher ground against adversaries trying to bring the company down and stop the transfer of molecules.

14 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

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Andreas Michael and Michael Pfeifer, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH, and Jens Gerlach and Sven Kalmeier, ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH, discuss effectively protecting critical infrastructure, taking operational security into account. Figure 1. ONTRAS operates a transmission network in eastern Germany that is around 7700 km long with approximately 450 coupling points (image courtesy of ONTRAS).


upply networks for critical infrastructure face new challenges due to digitalisation. The German Federal Network Agency’s IT security catalogue helps companies in the energy sector to better protect themselves against vulnerabilities. TÜV SÜD is developing concepts for this purpose that also take operational security into account. One of the first customers is the transmission system operator ONTRAS.


Enhanced Risk Assessment – key points: ) Safety concepts can no longer be implemented

without security measures. ) The management should initiate and promote security

measures. ) Many measures can be implemented simultaneously

and sustainably. ) The integrated approach gives those involved a

common understanding of safety, they ‘speak the same language’. ) Safety and security representatives gain a better

understanding of their plant.

Classic operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) are increasingly interconnected in the energy industry. To ensure security of supply, cybersecurity is also gaining in importance. The focus is on operators of critical infrastructure (CRITIS). The Energy Industry Act (EnWG), for example, requires adequate protection of telecommunications and electronic data processing systems that are necessary for secure grid operation. The example of ‘Log4Shell’ shows how real such dangers are: the vulnerability that became known a few months ago was easy to exploit and affected numerous common applications in data centres, servers, and networked systems – including natural gas and coalfired power plants. Legislation obliges companies in the energy sector to install a management system for information security and keep it up to date. This is intended to limit the impact of such vulnerabilities. These information security management systems (ISMS) include all applications necessary for secure operation and are specified by further standards – for example DIN ISO/IEC 27001, extended by DIN ISO/IEC 27019. TÜV SÜD supports utilities and operators of critical infrastructures in further developing an ISMS geared to their needs.

Integrated security concept for gas suppliers ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH is a long-standing customer of TÜV SÜD. Together with the experts, it has developed such an extended safety concept. The Leipzig-based company operates an approximately 7700 km long transmission network in eastern Germany. The digitised control and monitoring of this network with close to 450 coupling points connects its information technology (IT) with the plant level – the operational technology (OT). To protect against unauthorised access (cybersecurity) and to ensure the safety of people and the environment (safety), an adequate safety concept is necessary.

18 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

Since the share of digital control and monitoring of supply infrastructures is increasing, it is becoming more important to think about these two security aspects in combination. In the course of their cooperation, TÜV SÜD and ONTRAS GmbH have developed and tested an approach that brings together plant safety and cybersecurity and optimally covers the utility network operator’s needs.

First field of application: gas pressure gauge and regulator system First, the experts wanted to assess the initial situation: What was the safety status of the plant when the project started? To do this, the TÜV SÜD experts looked at the existing safety risk assessment and brought it together with the established risk assessment from ONTRAS’ ISMS. It was important to understand how the interaction between the two safety structures had worked so far. Cyber risks are usually not quantifiable. As a result, the Security Level (SL), as provided for in IEC 62443, is not as calculable as, for example, the Safety Risk Level in machine safety.

From safety to security level All cybersecurity features of an OT system component are assigned to a security level (SL). IEC 62443 defines the degree of aggressiveness of an attack with SL from 0 to 4, from which suitable countermeasures can follow: ) SL 0: No requirements or protection needed. ) SL 1: Protection against unintentional or coincidental

violation. ) SL 2: Protection against intentional violation by simple

means with few resources, generic skills, and low motivation. ) SL 3: Protection against intentional violation by

sophisticated means with moderate resources, IACSspecific knowledge, and moderate motivation. ) SL 4: Protection against intentional violation by

sophisticated means with extensive resources, IACSspecific knowledge, and high motivation. Regarding the overall system, the question arises as to what level of protection the company expects, and which can be achieved at an affordable cost (Security Level Target, SL-T)? What can a component achieve (Security Level Capability, SL-C)? And how high is the demonstrably achieved security level (Security Level Achieved, SL-A)? The SL-A depends largely on the software used, because a newly discovered security vulnerability can suddenly lower the SL-A. This makes a clear classification difficult. To identify possible vulnerabilities and analyse the corresponding potential hazardous situations, TÜV SÜD and ONTRAS used the ‘Enhanced Risk Assessment’ (ERA, see side bar) – a holistic concept for risk analysis.



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Subsequently, an interdisciplinary team of experts from IT and plant safety jointly selected the appropriate solutions – depending on the specific risks that needed to be reduced and always considering the principle of nonreactivity. This is because measures taken to prevent risks must not give rise to new risks elsewhere. The holistic risk assessment showed that suitable countermeasures did not only come from the IT/OT domain. It was proven that the use of certain mechanical security components also increases digital security – without creating new cybersecurity risks.

Know-how and prudence in modernisation Skilled personnel who regularly work on or with the system were trained in workshops and can thus pass on the acquired knowledge about the system and its interactions within the company. Especially when changes to the system are imminent, those responsible for safety and security should regularly exchange information. If, for example, components are added, exchanged, or removed, this must be planned precisely with regard to safetyrelevant effects. For this purpose, the interdisciplinary project team has developed documentation that identifies all safety-relevant interfaces and describes the possible risks that need to be considered. It helps those responsible to make objective assessments when changes

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are made to the plant and to maintain or further increase the level of protection.

Safety, security, and people work together The cooperation between TÜV SÜD and ONTRAS shows that interdisciplinary know-how plays an important role in the successful further development of the ISMS. Initial practical experience at ONTRAS reveals that security issues and concepts work particularly well when they are actively lived by the management and employees. In order to develop an effective package of measures, many different departments must be involved in the security concept. Furthermore, suitable countermeasures for an identified risk are not necessarily limited to security. Even simple safety measures can sometimes achieve this, such as spatial access restrictions or mechanical components without network access. It is crucial to look at the overall context. In addition, the integrated risk assessment promotes a common understanding between those responsible for safety and security through targeted communication and documentation, even beyond the legal framework. Risks in the operation of facilities can thus be assessed more precisely. In this way, the level of protection is reliably and economically maintained or even increased.


Chris Winn, Group Chairman, Winn & Coales International Ltd World Pipelines’ Senior Editor Elizabeth Corner talks to Chris about the contributions Winn and Coales has made to the coatings industry over the years, and to learn more about how the company is celebrating its 140th anniversary.


Elizabeth Corner: Let’s begin with the reason that this year is so important to Winn & Coales International Ltd. Founded in 1883, the company celebrates its 140th anniversary in 2023: tell me first, how have you been celebrating?


Chris Winn: Planning for our 140th year began in early 2022 with the creation of a dedicated logo to mark the occasion, drawing inspiration from our 100th and 125th anniversary logos and leaning heavily into the long history of tradition which we are so proud of at Winn & Coales. This logo has been featured in all our 140th anniversary celebrations, from specially

commissioned anniversary gifts to prominent positions in our exhibition displays this year. At the beginning of 2023 we also implemented a comprehensive communications campaign across both digital and print media to formally announce our anniversary. We recognise the part played by our dedicated colleagues in helping us reach our 140th year of trading. As a thank you for their hard work and dedication, we hosted a special edition of our annual dinner and dance this year at the prestigious Mansion House in London, marking the end of a week-long conference held for the Managing Directors of our

subsidiary companies from around the world. In addition to our colleagues working directly within Winn & Coales, we work extremely closely with our extensive network of agents and distributors operating across the vast number of territories where our products are available. Our biennial Denso Asian Conference – last held in 2018 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – returned in August of this year, allowing us to extend our anniversary celebrations even further afield and affording everyone with the opportunity to reconnect and celebrate after so many years working remotely.


challenges along the way?

A Figure 1. Directors from across the Winn & Coales International Ltd. group of companies assembled in London for a group conference and celebratory dinner and dance in November.

Figure 2. The renowned anti-corrosion petrolatum tape, Denso Tape™, was first manufactured by Winn & Coales International Ltd. in 1933.

Through the work of Winn & Coales International Ltd. and the F.B. Coales No.4 (Family) Trust – founded by the late Frank Coales, our second company Chairman – we recognise the work of previous employees from the locale of West Norwood. Ongoing charitable donations allow us to give back what individuals have put into the business in the last 50 years that we have been operating from our Chapel Road headquarters. Finally, we have launched the Winn & Coales 140th Anniversary Photo Competition to finish out 2023, as a thank you to our long-standing customers for their support over the many years we have been operating. It’s an exciting way for individuals to show us their best Denso™ product application shots to be in with the chance of winning a very special prize. It’s a fun way to bookend what has been a fantastic year of celebrations.

EC: Can you talk me through the ways in which the company has grown and changed over the years? I want to understand the journey of your company from its inception to this significant milestone: what have been some of the key milestones and


22 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

CW: The international-scale operation you see before you today was first established as an import/export house in London. Originally specialising in the exportation of coke to Germany, the business later expanded into importing starches, sugars, soda crystals and waxes. The first foray into manufacturing came in 1905, with continued growth in this area throughout the 1920s before we took on the agency for a petrolatum-based tape designed for the corrosion prevention of steel pipes, fittings and structures in 1929. The product was called Denso Tape, and following increasing sales in the intervening years, we started to manufacture it in London under licence from 1933. This would be a major turning point for us, and we have now been manufacturing petrolatum tapes for over 90 years. From there, our continued success can be attributed to our focus on the corrosion prevention market, the development of our export markets, including establishing subsidiary companies and six factories around the world, and responding to the changing needs of our customers and meeting these requirements with expanded product offerings. Running companies on different continents exposes us to unique regional challenges, yet we continuously manage for change. In recent times this has been demonstrated by the company showing amazing resilience during the pandemic, war in Ukraine and against global economic considerations. With our forward-thinking mindset, we continue to adapt and innovate for the future.

EC: How has the energy industry evolved since the company was founded and how do you approach change at Winn & Coales? Tell me how the company is adapting to the new challenges in the energy space.



CW: We have noticed considerable and far-reaching changes to the energy industry, particularly over the last 50 years. Pipelines are being installed at far greater depths than they were post-WW2 and running at ever higher operating temperatures. In terms of corrosion prevention, solutions need to work harder and be far more accommodating of the demands being placed upon pipelines. Factory coatings have also seen substantial reforms in recent years with the adoption of a greater focus on the environmental concerns regarding pipeline construction and maintenance. The utilisation of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) applications is increasing in high consequence areas, meaning more pipelines are being exposed to ever more severe ground conditions. At all of our sites we have research and development teams who are continuously researching and developing our products and systems to adapt to these new demands.


EC: How has Winn & Coales embraced technological advancements and used these to the benefit of the sector?


CW: One of our greatest strengths is utilising local and international knowledge acquired by our teams around the world to inform the wider group of companies through

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regular international conferences and meetings. We draw this experience from our subsidiary companies and use it to innovate and improve our products and systems. We also continually assess customer feedback to continue to evolve and develop technologies to deal with new challenges – for example, transitioning from petrolatum to bitumen-based solutions, and most recently to meet the demands for visco-elastic products and subsequent new patented systems. Regularly communicating with our customers and using their feedback helps to inform our direction going forward and is firmly entrenched in our commitment to the BS EN ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems standard.

EC: Can you tell me about any notable achievements along the way? In what ways has Winn & Coales contributed to the pipeline industry?


CW: Within the last 15 years, we have been recognised a total of three times for our exceptional export sales performance and were the recipients of a Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in International Trade (Winn & Coales International Ltd. in 2010 and 2013, and Premier Coatings Ltd. in 2017). Winn & Coales International Ltd. subsidiaries have also forged long standing relationships with the major EPC and pipeline construction companies around the world offering them guaranteed quality, technical backup and service. We have adopted a ‘technology neutral’ mindset at Winn & Coales. We believe that all coating systems offer different advantages and disadvantages, and that there is no coating method that surpasses all others. The aquisition of several competitors has bolstered the range of solutions we are able to supply to our customers. Our most notable recent acquisition was for the global ViscotaqTM business, including Amcorr Products and Services Inc. (‘Amcorr’). The addition of visco-elastic protective coatings to our product offering means we can continue to offer systems that employ all kinds of coating solutions from a single source. Helping


customers make the right choices for their projects with our growing product range is at the forefront of what we are trying to achieve. Other areas of the business benefitting from company acquisitions has been our subsea and splash zone coatings with the takeover of the Simpson Strongtie FX-70 range in 2021, and the acquirement of Barrier Industrial Marine Products LLC in 2017. These acquisitions further establish us as a leading supplier of corrosion prevention systems for a wide array of industries and application types. Finally, we are keen supporters and contributors to a number of industry bodies on national and international levels, as members of ICORR (Institute of Corrosion), PIG (Pipeline Industries Guild) and AMPP. We are also Associate Members of IPLOCA with WCI Executive Director Andrew Stuart serving on the IPLOCA Board of Directors since 2021.

EC: We know that sustainability and environmental responsibility are increasingly important in the energy industry. How does Winn & Coales prioritise and integrate these principles into its operations? How do you see this continuing into the future?


CW: Greenhouse gas emissions caused by the energy industry are a significant contributor to overall global greenhouse emissions and corrosion exacerbates that issue. Efficient, long-lasting corrosion prevention systems mitigates this problem; by designing our products to last and protecting our customers’ assets for a considerable amount of time, we help to reduce the overall carbon footprint generated by the pipeline industry. We are therefore fully committed to reducing the environmental impacts generated by our production processes and our products, as evidenced by our BS EN ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System (EMS) accreditation. We have operated an EMS on site for over 10 years now and have implemented multiple energy management programmes to minimise our carbon footprint. As recently as this year, we have made the transition to using 100% renewable electricity at our Chapel Road premises, generating solar power from the installation of photovoltaic panels to our laboratory and office buildings. Enshrined within our EMS is a commitment to the continual improvement of our environmental performance which will see us continuously assessing and refining our business operations in order to contribute toward a greener future for our planet.


EC: What is it about Winn & Coales that ensures the company is thriving 140 years later? As the Chairman, what do you consider to be the company’s greatest strengths and differentiators in the energy services market? How do you maintain a competitive edge?

Q Figure 3. Sharing knowledge and training in the importance of correct application procedures at the Denso Asian Conference in August 2023.

24 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

CW: Our vision is to be the leading manufacturer and supplier of anti-corrosion, waterproofing and sealing materials and technology to the world. This is our company mission which lies at the heart of all our business-making decisions. We have an intricate focus on and understanding


of our core business functions, and it is this focus that has guided us for the past 90 years. Running parallel to our vision is our commitment to providing unrivalled high-quality service to our customers. One of our greatest strengths is our people; employing highly knowledgeable experts on the ground interacting with our customers daily in both domestic and overseas markets is crucial to good business performance, and never more so than when we gather our intelligence to inform the innovation of new technologies for the benefit of our customers. To this day we remain a privately owned and independent business, which enables us to be extremely nimble and able to react very quickly to meet changing market demands. The strength of the ‘Denso’ brand name itself and our long-held reputation for quality products has helped to establish our position within our field. As we move forward from our 140th year, we believe the continuity of strong leadership across the group of companies, alongside an ongoing multimillion pound programme of investment in the group around the world, will see the company grow and prosper for many more years to come.

EC: How would you describe the essence of the company? Do you have a company motto, or ethos you’d like to share with me? I wonder if there is an employee who comes to mind who particularly embodies the values you hold dear?


CW: At Winn & Coales International Ltd., we are firm believers in the power of people, people, people. The intrinsic value of the individuals who support our business to operate successfully can never be understated. The hard work and dedication demonstrated by our teams across the globe are crucial to our success and achieving our operational goals. There is a great sense of family amongst our employees, and with that comes a shared responsibility and duty to work together as a team. With family, there is a shared respect for each other and the legacy of the company within which we work. Together, we strive for excellence and work towards a common goal. Across the group we have many people who have served 20, 30, or 40+ years in all divisions – from the shop floor to the board of directors. Our longest serving employee to date dedicated 62 years of loyal service in total.


EC: When it comes to your customers: how do you create and foster long-term relationships? What are the challenges in this space for pipeline manufacturing and service companies?


CW: Endeavouring to provide the highest levels of customer service is paramount to us. It is extremely important that our customers are confident in the correct application techniques for our products and systems; in this vein, we offer free product application training that can be undertaken at our dedicated training centres around the world or at our customer’s site. Training and engaging with our customers in this manner can nourish those all-


Figure 4. The range of products and systems offered by Winn & Coales International Ltd. continues to grow, most recently with the acquisition of Viscotaq™ visco-elastic coatings in 2021.

important relationships that are critical to good business relations. As previously mentioned, we are fortunate to possess real experts with decades of knowledge and experience behind them. The continuity offered by long serving staff members plays a huge role in fostering relationships. The difficulties we can face are down to turnover in our customers personnel and losing the connection nurtured over many years of business. Additionally, rising energy costs and the fluctuating price and availability of raw materials are some of our most difficult challenges to navigate. Proficient resource planning and maintaining a consistent eye on world events and markets means we can successfully navigate these issues.

EC: Last thoughts then: what is planned for the big 150th anniversary? What else will Winn & Coales have achieved by then?


CW: Our main focus is to continue as leaders within the field of corrosion prevention and sealing technologies, pushing for growth in all of our markets and managing the acquisition of more companies to complement our existing range of products and systems. We are two years in to a very ambitious 10 year growth strategy where we aim to quadruple the size of the business, which we are currently on track to achieve. In the meantime, we will continue to reflect on our past and take what we learn to propel ourselves toward a positive and bright future. As for the big 150th – you’ll have to wait and see!


DECEMBER 2023 / World Pipelines




LEARNED Haris Katostaras, HKA, UK, explores the impact of COVID-19 on the construction of oil and gas projects in the Middle East.


he COVID-19 pandemic may have peaked and receded, but its consequences are still being felt in the construction industry. As many projects were delayed and disrupted by the outbreak, construction companies face disputes over the impact of the pandemic. This article drawn from my personal experience, discusses key delay issues arising from COVID-19, identified on a significant number of oil and gas projects in the Middle East. ) Enforced lockdowns were imposed either by governmental authorities or by the contractor and/or employer due to increasing COVID-19 cases, resulting in the


suspension of construction activities to limit the spread of the virus, in turn causing a significant loss of time and resources. ) Quarantine of workers: The need to quarantine workers

in contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19, resulted in a decrease in workforce that impacted daily productivity, causing disruption, and leading to further critical delay. In addition, the extensive testing of the workforce for COVID-19 led to a significant loss of personhours that further disrupted daily operations. ) New health and safety requirements were introduced

including social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, decreased vehicle capacity, mandatory vaccination, and the screening of workers for symptoms of the virus. These measures also delayed and disrupted the construction process since they contributed to a significant loss in productive hours and caused additional costs. ) Availability of workers: The Middle East relies heavily on

migrant workers from countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh but due to the ban on flights from certain countries following COVID-19 outbreaks, the ability to travel was severely impacted. This resulted in contractor inability to achieve the planned mobilisation. From my experience gained from working on several projects affected by COVID-19, there is a strong correlation between delay in the mobilisation of personnel, disruption, and project critical delay. ) Visa restrictions: The closure of embassies and consulates

resulted in delays in the processing of visa applications for workers. More importantly, amendments to government regulations restricted the issue of entry visas that prevented the mobilisation of additional workforce. This resulted in a shortage of skilled labour and severely delayed projects. ) Disruption of the supply chain: The outbreak of COVID-19

resulted in delay in the delivery of materials and equipment to construction sites. This was caused by a combination of factors such as port closures, border restrictions, and reduced capacity in logistics and transportation. These disruptions resulted in a shortage of materials and equipment, which further slowed down the construction process. As a source of reference, the HKA CRUX1 Fifth Annual Insight Report2 revealed that, on average, contractors in the Middle East claimed 462 days of extension of time (EOT) on oil and gas projects executed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This represents, an average of almost 45% of the planned construction period, suggesting significant delays to project timelines. Although COVID-19 was not the sole cause of these delays, the report identified it as a significant contributor. Specifically, the CRUX report identified “Force Majeure due to COVID-19” and “Change in Law due to COVID-19” as causes

28 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

of delay. Other factors recorded in the report as causing delay that may be related to COVID-19 include “Restricted or delayed access to the worksite” and “Shortages of skilled and non-skilled workers”. The COVID-19 pandemic also put contractors’ recordkeeping systems to the test. Although the above issues disrupted the progress of both critical and non-critical activities, assessing the actual impact of each event without proper record-keeping systems presented challenges. For instance, tracking and recording the number of workers infected with COVID-19, the duration of their quarantine, and the resulting loss of workforce. Similarly, maintaining detailed records of the implementation of new health and safety measures, such as social distancing and mandatory vaccination, and how they impacted the daily productivity of the construction site. Moreover, the availability and mobilisation of personnel and the delivery of materials and equipment also required meticulous record-keeping. The lack of accurate records was a significant issue for many construction companies in the Middle East during the pandemic. This lack of data made it difficult for contractors to demonstrate to employers the impact of COVID-19 on their projects and to claim extensions of time or additional costs. In summary, the outbreak of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the construction of oil and gas projects in the Middle East. The availability of workers, stoppage of construction activities, visa restrictions, camps lockdowns, movements restrictions, new health and safety requirements, quarantine of personnel, ban on flights from certain countries, and mandatory vaccinations caused disruption and delay, leading to significant time and cost overruns for contractors and owners. There is a risk of re-emergence of COVID-19 or other pandemics, with the potential to impact construction projects in the Middle East, and it is therefore crucial for contractors and owners to reflect on lessons learned. Contracts signed post-lockdown may therefore revise risk allocation that limit entitlement to extensions of time, exposing contractors to greater risk in the event of future pandemic-related delays, requiring contractors to thoroughly review and negotiate contract terms to mitigate such risks.

References 1.


HKA’s integrated research programme that analyses and reports on the causes of claims and disputes on major infrastructure projects worldwide.

About the author Haris Katostaras is a chartered civil engineer and delay expert with experience in the management of civil engineering, building construction projects and in forensic delay analysis. He has worked on major and iconic projects throughout North America, UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, including hospitals, rail projects, power stations, refineries, oil tank farms and residential developments. Haris has also worked for one of the largest contractors in the Middle East. He specialises, as part of expert teams, in delivering services in the field of delay and disruption analysis. He has experience preparing delay reports for arbitrations, adjudications, and litigations.



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The East Coast Hydrogen project presents an unmissable opportunity for several locations to make use of their fortuitous geography and geology to become a world leader in hydrogen technology, says Ed Gilford, National Gas, Chris Verity, Northern Gas Networks, and Adam Knight, Cadent Gas, UK. he East Coast Hydrogen (ECH2) project forms an important component part of how the gas industry can help the UK to meet its ambitious target of a 78% reduction in carbon emissions, compared to 1990 levels, by 2035. Decarbonisation projects at significant scale must be planned, deployed and operational in the remaining years of this decade to enable these important targets to be met, as we progress towards our UK target of net-zero emissions by 2050. Cadent, National Gas and Northern Gas Networks have come together in an exciting collaboration to deliver a project called ECH2. A pioneering hydrogen programme – encapsulating production, storage, transmission, and distribution – is set to drive green jobs, skills, and competitive supply chains across the Midlands and North East. This project will repurpose existing and build new gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen at bulk from centres of production to large commercial and industrial facilities, as well as centres of population. This is the largest and most ambitious hydrogen project in the UK today – with its roots

grounded in deliverability, engineering rigour and a very secure needs case. ECH2 is an ambitious 15 year large-scale infrastructure project, that when delivered, will make a meaningful contribution to achieving carbon emission reduction targets. Currently, there is in the region of 7 - 10 GW of planned hydrogen production within the boundaries of the ECH2 project. Now entering its second phase; ECH2 will provide the opportunity to connect up to 11 GW of hydrogen production by 2030, exceeding the UK Government’s 10 GW target within a single region. The hydrogen will replace natural gas – currently essential for industry and power generators – helping to preserve the industrial and commerical value of the Midlands and North East. The East Coast region hosts concentrated industrial energy demand, significant gas storage and offshore wind power, making it an obvious location to produce low-carbon hydrogen. By providing critical hydrogen pipeline infrastructure, the programme can enable widespread decarbonisation. Industrial and commercial businesses forecast


demand for hydrogen at 156 sites in the regions covered by East Coast Hydrogen, on behalf of 53 large energy consumers. This project is forming the basis for what could grow into a national hydrogen network for the UK, north into Scotland and south and west into the rest of England; it presents a fantastic opportunity, and the learnings will help the pipeline industry in its development to transport future gases that will be less harmful to the planet.

The role of National Gas National Gas’ role in the ECH2 project will primarily focus on repurposing parts of the National Transmission System (NTS) to transport hydrogen between key industrial clusters, hydrogen production and storage sites within the region. With a concentration of key assets in the ECH² area, National Gas has a vanguard role in the delivery of a net-zero future, while still ensuring the continued dependability of natural gas transmission to support Britain through the energy transition. ECH2 provides the ideal balance of driving economic growth while still maintaining

Figure 1. Overview map of East Coast Hydrogen Project.

energy security, securing thousands of jobs, and creating thousands of new ones in the process. The Teesside and Humberside Industrial Clusters are likely to see some of the earliest development of hydrogen production in the UK. Connecting both clusters by hydrogen transmission infrastructure will improve the resilience of each, via access to other sources of hydrogen production and storage. It will also provide the opportunity for hydrogen production to ‘scale-up’ by offering an alternative decarbonisation option for industry, power generation and distribution networks located away from the clusters. The development of the ECH2 project would also function as the preliminary phase of Project Union, a pioneering project to re-purpose up to 25% of the UK’s NTS for 100% hydrogen. Once completed, it will connect hydrogen production and storage with industrial, transport, power, and heat customers to enable net-zero and empower a UK hydrogen economy. By repurposing existing transmission pipelines, the project will create a low-cost hydrogen ‘backbone’ for the UK by the early 2030s, and connect to the proposed European Hydrogen Backbone. There are several significant benefits to repurposing existing pipelines vs building new ones. These include cost savings during construction, planning and purchasing of materials, time savings, reduction of environmental impacts, and the extension of the life of assets that would otherwise be decommissioned. Safety rests at the heart of all our operations, which is why National Gas is currently testing the impacts of hydrogen on the gas network to fully develop the safety case for a hydrogen transition. In support of this, National Gas is running the FutureGrid project, which initially focused on constructing a test network representative of the NTS at DNV’s test site in Cumbria, North West England. This facility is now built, and the next phase of the project will focus on carrying out a wide range of hydrogen tests, using this test facility to demonstrate the effect of hydrogen on their pipes and equipment, as well as the operation of their network. The aim of FutureGrid is to gain a full understanding of working with hydrogen and to develop processes and procedures like those currently in place for natural gas – to run a safe and reliable national hydrogen network. Understanding how hydrogen can replace methane as the gas in our pipes is one of the most important economic, technical, and social challenges faced by the gas industry. This project forms part of many steps towards a fullscale conversion of the existing NTS to transport hydrogen.

Northern Gas Networks role

Figure 2. Key benefits of the East Coast Hydrogen delivery plan.

32 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

Northern Gas Networks (NGN) owns and operates the gas distribution network throughout North, West and East Yorkshire, the North East and Cumbria. NGN plans to repurpose and convert existing methane pipelines to transport hydrogen and with some new-build pipeline sections create a hydrogen network that will transport hydrogen from National Gas transmission pipelines to industrial and large commercial energy users throughout the Humber, Teesside, and West Yorkshire regions, connecting hydrogen production to usage and storage. The Humber and Teesside regions are key locations for hydrogen production due to their proximity to large industrial clusters, access to large scale renewable energy and the geology for storage. The development of dedicated hydrogen pipelines,


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Figure 3. View of the FutureGrid Phase 1 test facility at Test Site West in DNV’s test and research facility in Spadeadam.

new and repurposed, will allow the producers in these locations to reach the wider region. West Yorkshire, for example, provides an ideal market for hydrogen, mainly because of its dense population, strong transport links, and large-scale energy demand. During the pre-FEED study, NGN engaged with 250 industrial and large commercial connections and developed a hydrogen distribution network that will reach many of these organisations that have a future requirement for hydrogen. Hydrogen transmission pipelines and associated local distribution networks will also support the growth of renewable energy infrastructure by creating a hydrogen economy that is supported by wind, solar, and hydroelectricity. Electrolysis of water using renewable electricity will generate locally produced, low-carbon hydrogen, which will enable industries to reduce their carbon footprint, protecting the planet while improving their competitiveness and economic viability. NGN, as an experienced gas distributor, will leverage its expertise to deliver a reliable and safe network that meets the demand for hydrogen in industries that have an existing reliance provided by methane. By providing low-carbon fuel options, the new hydrogen pipeline network will assist industrial operations in meeting their emissions targets and aligning with the UK’s netzero vision. Moreover, it will provide opportunities for innovation in technology and employment, resulting in local economic benefits for the regions. The construction of the hydrogen pipeline network connecting the Humber region, Teesside region, and West Yorkshire, will provide a critical infrastructure link as the UK builds towards a sustainable, low-carbon future. The deployment of hydrogen in these regions will help in reducing harmful emissions, making the UK a leader in low-carbon hydrogen technology and supporting the country’s goal to be a net-zero society by 2050. The project represents a significant milestone in the country’s journey in achieving a decarbonised energy system and creating a clean energy economy that can benefit everyone.

Cadent and the ECH2 pipeline

Cadent owns and operates the UK’s largest gas distribution network, managing a network of more than 80 000 miles of pipes that transport gas to 11 million homes and businesses across

34 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

the West Midlands, North West England, East of England, and North London. The parts of the Cadent network that are within the ECH2 project include South Yorkshire, the East Midlands, Lincolnshire, and Northamptonshire. Cadent’s role in the development of the ECH2 pipeline will provide an effective route to market, and support the need case for emerging hydrogen producers that best facilitates the supply of hydrogen to locations of industrial demand within the network footprint. Transportation of hydrogen through new build pipelines and exploration of repurposing existing assets will build resilience and interconnectivity. This will also ultimately account for hydrogen supply and demand, and support effective future market growth. Cadent commenced a technical feasibility study for the pipeline in January 2023, which concluded in March 2023, with a baseline set of strategic network configuration options and an initial basis of design. Cadent has been working with its design consultant Worley Europe Ltd and partners; Murphys, Fisher-German, Camargue, and SLR, since March 2023, and has been progressing with the pre-FEED study. The pre-FEED study will outturn several technical, land and consenting deliverables scheduled for completion during autumn 2023, that will enable this project to commence a FEED study during 2024. Routing options alongside a phasing strategy and consenting strategy are being developed to connect hydrogen production plans along the east coast and into the Humber region, and reaching out into the East Midlands to a wide array of gas consumers. This will enable a timely hydrogen transport link to meet supply and demand, with a clear wider roll out and expansion strategy that is conducive and responsive to future policy and regulatory decisions. Following the pubication of the feasibility study, Cadent, Northern Gas Networks and National Gas have all worked with ECH2 consortium members to gather detailed forecasts of hydrogen demand, supply, and storage capacity over time. This data has allowed them to design a 100% hydrogen network comprising new and re-purposed pipelines to meet the needs of the industry. The ECH2 Delivery Plan illustrates a single coordinated network plan for the region to stimulate the hydrogen economy and enable significant decarbonisation of industry and power generators. It is vitally important that Cadent provides the technical options and solutions as a network operator, and in collaboration with programme partners Northern Gas Networks and National Gas to support such policy decisions and be able to act in a timely manner to contribute to the UK Government’s near-term targets, delivering a credible plan to expand these networks to meet the overarching legislative 2050 net-zero target. The ECH2 project presents an unmissable opportunity for these locations to make use of their fortuitous geography and geology to become a world leader in hydrogen technology – thus attracting further inward investment, retaining existing and creating new high-value jobs, and enabling further decarbonisation. The ECH2 project is creating exciting and innovative opportunities in pipeline development, and exploring the possibilities of hydrogen use as a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly gas in the UK’s gas network than methane.

Khodadad Kamaliseresht, Process Safety Engineer, Jensen Hughes, Belgium, explores the role of automation in fire and explosion risk assessments for pipelines.

ensen Hughes is focused on market leading fire safety engineering consultancy. Obviously, fire and explosion risks are a major concern for pipeline operators worldwide. The safety of people, property, and the environment depends on effective management of these risks. The following case study focuses on the impact of hydrogen pipelines on the risk profile of a hydrogen compression facility. Hydrogen, while offering numerous benefits, also poses unique risks due to its high flammability and low ignition energy. To ensure safety, it is crucial to evaluate and manage these risks effectively. Risk assessment methodologies help identify potential hazards and their

corresponding consequences, allowing for the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures.

Fire and explosion risk analysis methodology In general, the assessment process begins with a thorough review of the pipeline system and the materials being transported. This includes an examination of the design and construction of the pipeline, the type and characteristics of the materials being transported, and the operating conditions of the pipeline, including pressure, flowrates, and temperature. This information is used to identify potential hazards, including leaks, spills, and other incidents that could lead to a fire or explosion.


Once potential hazards have been identified, the risk assessment team will evaluate the likelihood and consequences of a fire or explosion occurring. This involves assessing the probability of ignition sources such as lightning, welding, or equipment failure, and the potential consequences of a fire or explosion, including property damage, environmental damage, and loss of life. Based on the results of the risk assessment, pipeline operators can develop strategies to mitigate risks and ensure the safety of their pipelines. This may involve implementing measures such as regular inspections and maintenance, installing safety equipment such as emergency shut-off valves and fire suppression systems, and developing emergency response plans in the event of a fire or explosion.

Automation Automation technologies have revolutionised the way risk assessments are performed, making them more accurate and efficient. Here are some key roles of automation in this context:

Data collection and processing Automation techniques, including machine learning (ML) algorithms, can streamline the collection and processing of data required for risk assessments. Software tools can automatically gather data from various sources, such as piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs). This reduces manual effort and minimises errors in data entry and processing.

Figure 1. Leak frequency contribution by different device category on the H2 facility.

Computational modelling Automation allows for the development and implementation of computational models that simulate fire and explosion scenarios. These models consider factors such as leak detection, ignition sources, dispersion patterns, and consequence analysis. Automation enables the efficient execution of these models, enabling rapid and consistent calculations of risks.

Risk assessment and visualisation Automation aids in the quantification and assessment of fire and explosion risks. It can calculate risk levels based on established methodologies and generate risk maps or contours. Automation facilitates the visualisation of risks through graphical representations, making it easier for stakeholders to interpret and understand the results.

Scenario analysis and optimisation Automation enables the rapid evaluation of different scenarios and mitigation measures. By automating the analysis process, stakeholders can simulate various scenarios, assess the effectiveness of different risk control measures, and optimise their decision-making. This helps identify the most effective risk reduction strategies and prioritise resources for implementation.

Reporting and documentation Automation simplifies the generation of comprehensive reports and documentation of the risk assessment process. Automated tools can produce standardised reports that include the analysis methodology, inputs, results, and recommendations. This streamlines the communication of findings to stakeholders and regulatory authorities. It’s important to note that while automation and ML can be valuable in fire and explosion risk analysis, human expertise and judgment remain crucial. The accuracy and reliability of automated techniques heavily depend on the quality and relevance of the input data and the expertise of those involved in developing and validating the models. FERA-Advisr, developed by Jensen Hughes, incorporates these automation and ML techniques to streamline the analysis of fire and explosion. It can assist in processing large volumes of data quickly and accurately, and decisionmaking by providing insights based on the analysed data. For example, the software can help to find the optimal mitigation measures or prioritise risks based on the assessed probabilities and consequences. This can help stakeholders make informed decisions about risk management strategies. Based on the calculated risks, the software generates risk contours by connecting points of equal risk levels. The contour lines represent different risk levels, such as low, moderate, high or extreme.

Case study: a small hydrogen facility Figure 2. Offshore hydrogen compression station layout.

36 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

The primary objective of this case study is to utilise the automation techniques outlined previously to demonstrate the influence of pipeline infrastructure on

Figure 3. Risk contours, impairment frequency (/yr); left: without the impact of pipelines; right: including the impact of pipelines.

the comprehensive risk assessment of a compact hydrogen facility. The present study investigates an offshore hydrogen compression station, encompassing two incoming pipelines operating at a pressure of 30 bar, as well as a single outlet pipeline with a pressure of 90 bar. The goal of this analysis is asset protection; therefore, risk is calculated in the form of impairment frequency (/yr) with an acceptable risk criterion of 10E-4/yr. Specifically, we will analyse the extent to which the two incoming pipelines and one outlet pipeline contribute to the fire and explosion risk contours of the facility. The plot plan of the facility highlights 19 target elements (TE), indicated in black bullets, that necessitate a thorough evaluation. It is crucial to conduct a detailed assessment of these elements to ensure the overall safety of the hydrogen facility.

Analysing pipeline infrastructure In the context of a small hydrogen facility, pipeline infrastructure plays a significant role in both the operational efficiency and risk profile of the facility. The presence of two incoming pipelines and one outlet pipeline necessitates a thorough examination of their contribution to the overall risk. The two incoming pipelines serve as the primary means of hydrogen supply to the facility. The risk assessment of these pipelines should focus on factors such as pipeline integrity, vulnerability to external hazards, and potential leak scenarios. A comprehensive inspection and maintenance programme, including regular monitoring for leaks and corrosion, should be implemented to minimise the risk of hydrogen release. Additionally, the location and design of these pipelines should be assessed to ensure they are appropriately isolated from potential ignition sources within the facility. The outlet pipeline enables the safe transfer of hydrogen from the facility. While the risk associated with the outlet pipeline may differ from that of incoming pipelines, it is equally critical to evaluate its impact on the facility’s overall risk profile. Potential hazards to consider include overpressure scenarios, equipment failure, and ignition sources near the outlet.

Fire and explosion risk analysis results The analysis results indicate that the pipeline contributes approximately 1.5% of the total leak frequency. While this percentage may initially appear relatively low, it is essential to consider the underlying significance of the pipeline. Despite

Figure 4. Individual impairment frequency (/yr) of target elements (TE).

its lower frequency contribution, the pipeline’s substantial inventory makes that its role in the overall consequence model is still significant. Due to the large inventory associated with the pipeline, even a relatively small frequency contribution can have a considerable consequence. Therefore, it is crucial to acknowledge the significance of the pipeline’s role in the overall risk assessment and ensure appropriate mitigation measures are in place to address any potential risks effectively. Figure 5 and Figure 6 show the impact of pipelines on the overpressure contours of the facility. The maximum overpressure load represents the highest level of pressure generated by an explosion at a specific location during the event. The design overpressure load, on the other hand, is the overpressure at a specific target point with a special frequency of occurrence. This term describes the highest level of pressure experienced at that location, considering the frequency at which such events occur. It considers both the intensity of the overpressure and the likelihood of its occurrence. Fire and explosion risk contours provide a visual representation of the potential impact zones in case of an incident. These contours consider various factors such as hydrogen concentration, and ignition sources. By analysing the risk contours in relation to the location and layout of the

DECEMBER 2023 / World Pipelines


pipelines, one can assess the vulnerability of the facility and identify areas where additional protective measures may be necessary. The risk profile depicted in Figure 3 supports the claim that, despite the relatively lower contribution of the pipeline to the risk frequency in comparison to other devices, the consequences associated with pipeline failures exhibit a wider spatial extent. Figure 4 illustrates the assessment of impairment risk associated with each individual TE. The sensitivity analysis conducted demonstrates that an escalation in pressure levels has the potential to significantly amplify the influence of the pipeline on the risk profile of the facility. For instance, when the discharge pressure is elevated to 900 bar as opposed to 90 bar, the contribution attributable to the pipelines can escalate by a factor ranging from two to six times. The observation underscores the significance of considering not only the frequency but also the spatial distribution and magnitude of the consequences when evaluating the overall risk profile. Although the pipeline’s individual contribution to the risk frequency may be modest, its potential impact on the overall risk landscape, due to the broader spatial reach of its consequences, necessitates careful attention and appropriate risk mitigation measures.

Mitigation strategies To effectively manage the risks associated with the pipeline infrastructure, a combination of preventive and protective measures should be implemented. This may include the use of advanced leak detection systems, appropriate zoning and separation distances, installation of flame and gas detectors, and the establishment of emergency response protocols. Additionally, personnel should receive thorough training

on safety procedures and the handling of hydrogen-related incidents.

Conclusion In conclusion, fire and explosion risk assessments are an essential tool for pipeline operators to manage the risks associated with transporting flammable liquids and gases. By identifying potential hazards and evaluating the likelihood and consequences of a fire or explosion, pipeline operators can develop effective strategies to mitigate risks and ensure the safety of their pipelines. Looking at it from a holistic point of view, automations are to be considered implementable throughout the whole risk assessments process, from data collection to automated reporting. In the end, thanks to the general technological automations and advancements, the quality of the risk assessments can be significantly improved and thus make it possible for operators to manage risks more effectively than ever before. A thorough risk assessment necessitates the comprehensive consideration of the role played by pipeline infrastructure in shaping the overall risk profile. The evaluation of both incoming and outlet pipelines assumes utmost significance in safeguarding the facility and its vicinity. The implementation of suitable preventative and protective measures, encompassing stringent inspection protocols and robust emergency response plans, serves to mitigate the risks associated with the pipelines, thereby facilitating the secure operation of the facility. Previously, the quantitative analysis of such assessments was laborious and time-consuming. However, present-day automation techniques have expedited and enhanced the efficiency of these calculations, enabling their execution in significantly reduced timeframes.

Figure 5. Max overpressure load; left: without the impact of pipelines; right: including the impact of pipelines.

Figure 6. Design overpressure loads with a frequency of 10E-4 (/yr); left: without the impact of pipelines; right: including the impact of pipelines.

38 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

Faris Churcher, Oxford Flow, UK, describes the role of valves in bettering standards to meet the energy transition.


o date, valves continue to be overlooked in the energy transition. For example, valves are considered to account for 60% of all fugitive emissions of refineries and a lack of innovation in the space has left the industry with cumbersome technology that isn’t designed for the future needs of the gas distribution or oil and gas sectors. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has catalysed ambitions for energy security, and


Figure 1. The ES stemless valves offer world class performance, reliability and emissions control for a wide range of severe service applications in oil and gas, and transitioning energy systems, including hydrogen and biomethane applications.

the energy transition should now be topping the agenda of countries globally. In response, many see hydrogen as part of the answer. Hydrogen blending is already planned in the relative short term. Throughout Europe, hydrogen pipelines have been announced across the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany. Steps are also being taken in Singapore to meet growing demand across the APAC region for hydrogen. Across the globe, policy makers, governments and operators are interested in exploring the role of hydrogen in our energy systems. This includes the UK, where the government is expected to press ahead with plans for the blending of hydrogen into the UK’s gas distribution networks at a 20% concentration, which could happen as soon as 2025. As some of these plans aim to reach 100% hydrogen pipelines, this poses questions to policymakers around whether infrastructure can be adapted or where new infrastructure may be required. Despite these ambitions, the lack of industry standards for hydrogen infrastructure and equipment poses a threat. Hydrogen blending across incumbent gas transmission and distribution networks is a nascent technology, and governments must develop enforceable regulations, instead of issuing guidance, to avoid leaving the industry operating in a vacuum without any agreed safety standards.

Sector supply chain leads the way in setting standards The desire is there, but the industry must adapt and act quickly if it is to bring this increasingly volatile energy source into everyday use. Meeting emissions targets will be key, and hydrogen blending will play a vital role in the energy transition. According to the Energy Networks Association (ENA)1, a 20% hydrogen blend could reduce carbon emissions by 6 million tpy of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 2.5 million cars being taken off the road.

40 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

However, it won’t be the only factor when it comes to future proofing the grid. Emissions reduction and elimination are critical from an environmental perspective, but more efficient grids will save time and money for gas distribution operators, and in future, hydrogen networks. To implement hydrogen-ready infrastructure that can exceed 20% concentration, several challenges need to be solved. Hydrogen is a highly volatile and incredibly buoyant fuel and can ignite at 75% concentration, which means networks will need to be even tighter when making the transition to hydrogen blending. Instead of kicking this into the long grass, industry standards are required now. Since its inception, Oxford Flow started examining the potential for this. Its founder, Thomas Povey, recognised that the same materials used for valve solutions in other industries, such as aerospace, could be used for valves in energy infrastructure, including upstream oil and gas, downstream applications, and gas transmission and distribution. With a new design and material in place, but a lack of existing industry testing standards, Oxford Flow recently took matters into its own hands. Working with a third-party test house which specialises in engineering and design solutions for valves, fuel systems and associated accessories, the pair set out to not only verify the efficacy of Oxford Flow’s solution, but to prove their claim that it was hydrogen ready. Due to the lack of any enforced standard, the companies worked to define the testing criteria, including cyclic stress testing up to 100 bar with both hydrogen and helium. In addition, Oxford Flow conducted test checks to meet its own factory acceptance criteria, which goes beyond current natural gas regulator testing standards, conducting air tests to as high as 150 bar. To contextualise this, that would be like dropping a diver to one of the deepest parts of the ocean, and then pulling them back up again within a second. The testing conditions drastically exceeds normal operating levels, but for such a volatile fuel, the companies felt that this level of scrutiny was and is necessary. The tests were designed not only to prove that Oxford Flow’s designs are ready for use with hydrogen, but also to test the life expectancy of its valves over an accelerated length of time. This was necessary to verify the company’s claims that the valves would vastly outlive existing infrastructure, when used with hydrogen or natural gas.

Improving maintenance In the UK, many gas distribution and transmission systems date back to the 1960s. So, it is not unrealistic to think that a lot of the equipment within these systems is either nearing or has surpassed its recommended shelf life. But, as manufacturers phase out existing valves from standard product lines, it is also becoming harder to maintain, repair or replace these valves with a like for like system. Tackling ageing infrastructure with ongoing maintenance challenges, Oxford Flow developed a solution that could be retrofitted to existing systems and was manufactured from 316 stainless steel, which is acknowledged to be less susceptible to a form of degrading called embrittlement, typically caused by fuels similar to the molecular make up of hydrogen.

Oxford Flow also recognised frustrations felt by maintenance teams in the field and the knowledge that leaks caused by valves resulted in greater expense. This stems not only from wasted fuels, but also as a result of more regular maintenance requirements or the fines associated with leaks and emissions. In light of this, Oxford Flow designed and built solutions to get ahead of these problems, saving operators money in the long run.

Tackling emissions

possibly creating an independent regulator, instead of dragging its feet, this uncertainty will undoubtedly cause further delays and create substantial risk to people, assets and the environment. If we are to achieve our goal of blending hydrogen while meeting emissions targets, we must think about every aspect of our energy systems, instead of overlooking what is deemed to be ‘fine’ or only a small part of the puzzle. Every piece of the puzzle needs to be scrutinised for long term change to be possible.

Reducing emissions is, and will continue to be, a top priority for operators across the energy sector. While the environmental References impact and safety risks associated with emissions are critical, 1. operators are throwing their money down the drain the longer they delay replacing the valves in their systems. Many valves were installed decades ago. Left untouched, many have degraded, emit fugitive emissions and do not offer the same levels of precision or other benefits associated with next generation technology. Oxford Flow set out to reimagine valve design and develop a solution that addressed key industry challenges such as emissions. By removing the diaphragm and associated elastomers, Oxford Flow’s zero emission, hydraulically operated ES stemless actuated valves significantly reduced the issues of fatigue, erosion and embrittlement and tackled the Achilles heel of pressure regulator valves, to eliminate the main issue causing fugitive emissions in valves. Operators that replace traditional valves with emissions-free solutions will no longer need to allocate precious resources to seek out fugitive emissions on that portion of their valve population. Nor will they need to adhere to the same intensive maintenance regime, as drivetrain related failures are eliminated when there is no PREMIUM MODULAR JUNCTION BOXES stem repacking to maintain. As a result, operators can expect a Designed with you in mind, Dairyland’s UltraBox features 20 - 30% reduction in cost of ownership as a patented modular approach to quickly and conveniently well as doubling the mechanical life of the provide custom configured junction boxes. Featuring a DIN valve – all while having the assurance that rail mounting system with snap-in modules, the UltraBox their systems are not wasting money or provides you the option to add, remove, or reposition damaging the environment. By investing in modules easily at any time or anywhere. new grid infrastructure, the design changes




and cost reductions of emissions free valves will reap huge long-term benefits.

Valves are part of the solution Firms will need to have tangible data to prove their infrastructure and equipment is truly hydrogen ready and emissions free. Without governments setting clearly defined regulations and standards, and

Scan to watch a short video. For more product information, visit /UltraBox

6 February 12-16 • Houston

The industry’s only forum devoted exclusively to pipeline pigging for maintenance and inspection This event will draw engineering management and field operating personnel from both transmission and distribution companies concerned with improved operations and integrity management.

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10/27/23 12:49 PM

Neil Barton, Consultant Engineer, Xodus Group, outlines a new approach to calibrating subsea acoustic sand detectors.


and management is a critical aspect of oil and gas production and getting it wrong can prove to be a costly oversight. When a reservoir is prone to sand or proppant production and flow velocities are high, there is real scope for particulate erosion to cause pipework damage. Where velocities are low, sand can dropout and collect – restricting the flow in wells and pipelines and reducing production efficiency. The formation of sand beds can also lead to microbially induced corrosion (MIC) in pipelines. It can impact the efficiency of separators and cause valves and chokes to clog up or wear out. Various factors can cause sand to be produced from reservoirs alongside oil and gas, including high drawn down, weak rock formations and high water production. The effects of sand production are diverse and sometimes difficult to predict. Thankfully, sudden, unexpected failures are less common these days, but they do occur, and they have major consequences. The risk associated with

sand production is usually high enough to justify limiting production. However, high sand rate wells are rare enough that it is difficult for a typical production engineer to gain a good perspective on sand management over their career.

How much does sand affect hydrocarbon production? Norwegian operator, Equinor, has formed a specialist team dedicated to improving sand management and optimising production. A survey of its assets found that 54% of wells were choked due to sand production in 2021, with roughly half being limited by erosion considerations and the other half by separation efficiency and sand handling capacity limitations. Of those wells, 80% had an acoustic sand detector (ASD), while 50% had ASDs on comingled lines, with the accuracy of sand rate measurement held up as a major challenge when controlling production. Sand makes up a tiny fraction of a well’s production, making it difficult to measure how much is present.


However, it can cause major problems. The main consequence of sand production is overly conservative production limits and subsequent loss of revenue. Small improvements in sand management methods can therefore result in significant benefits. For the last 25 years ASDs have been one of the primary tools used on topsides and subsea flowlines to measure sand production. They are essentially filtered microphones, strapped onto the outside of pipe bends which measure the ultrasonic noise generated by impacting sand. They can be used in two modes; either to detect the presence of sand or to quantify the sand rate. In the former case, the well will typically be choked back when sand is detected. This is done even when sand rates are too low to be of concern, meaning production is unnecessarily curtailed. Alternatively, the ASD can be calibrated, by adjusting the ASD’s response to match a known amount of sand injected into the flowline. Once the ASD is calibrated the operator can judge whether the amount of sand detected justifies choking back the well. By doing this, production rates can be significantly enhanced. However, sand injection is not always suitable for topside ASD installations, and to our knowledge, has never been done subsea.

Contributing to understanding If operators are to make the correct judgements on how best to deal with fluctuations in sand rates, then it is vital that the data they are receiving is accurate and precise. Although there are various other sand sensing methods, most rely on longterm erosion or accumulation measurements. A calibrated ASD will provide instant information. This facilitates a quick and appropriate response to variations in sand production and particularly sudden sand production events. To address the question of what to do when sand injection isn’t feasible, Xodus has co-authored a paper, entitled ‘Acoustic Sand Detector Virtual Calibration: Methods and Validation’1 on the subject, alongside Equinor and sensor supplier ClampOn. If a sand injection is not possible, there are various approaches that can be used to estimate the ASD calibration coefficient (known as the ‘step’ value), the simplest and most common being the use of a standard step table. This is a look-up table in which the step value increases with flow velocity. Whilst quick and easy, the standard step ignores important factors such as the ASD installation location, local pipework design, subsea damping and flow effects which can significantly alter the ASDs response. A more sophisticated, computational fluid dynamics-based approach, is being developed at Xodus in which detailed multiphase simulations predict sand impact behaviour. Impact energy is then translated into ASD response using an acoustic integration model. This approach is more complex and relatively time-consuming but may yield much more accurate calibration factors than the standard step. Xodus has also developed a correlation, known as Sandflux, which predicts step values based on the background fluid noise detected by the sensor and the flow conditions. ASD response varies significantly from installation to installation because of interacting flow and acoustic effects. The new correlation

44 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

accounts for these complex effects because they affect sand and fluid noise equally – when the fluid noise increases then the sand noise can be expected to increase too.

Correlation is key Sandflux was developed using historical data from laboratory tests and offshore sand injections and validated against additional historical topsides injection data from platforms in the North Sea. Once it had been proven for a limited number of cases, its predictions were compared and validated against sand injection data from about 800 cases. A key application of Sandflux is to calibrate subsea ASDs, but no suitable subsea data was available to confirm its validity. However, it was known that ASDs do respond differently when installed subsea. To investigate this further, laboratory tests were carried out in which several ASDs were installed on a flow loop test section submerged in a swimming pool. The aim of these tests was to confirm whether the correlation works for submerged ASDs. The results show that Sandflux correctly compensates for subsea damping effects and works well, even when the ASD is installed in a poor location, a long distance from the nearest bend. It was also shown that subsea ASDs are more sensitive to their installation location, and they tend to pick up more environmental noise compared to topsides ASDs.

An alternative, rather than a replacement It should be noted though that sand injection calibration is always the preferred method for any ASD installation and, where possible, this should be done on a regular basis to ensure optimum accuracy. Sandflux is not aimed to replace sand injections, rather provide better sand rate estimates for subsea ASDs when sand injection is not possible. It may also have additional utility in topsides ASD installations when sand injection operations are not practical. Sandflux can also be used to better comprehend historical sand production data or to produce an output of the sand rate from a live raw signal. Equinor is currently trialling the correlation on live data in this way. For Sandflux to produce a reasonable sand rate estimate, the ASD must be well set up and maintained. Steps that can be taken to ensure this include installing the device near a bend, removing paint and rust at the contact point, making sure that the ASD is in good contact with the pipe, properly ranging the ASD and outputting data at a high enough rate. It is important to understand that the new correlation will not guarantee a good sand rate estimate if there is a problem with the ASD itself. While ASDs are widely installed, their output is often poorly understood or mis-used and we hope our contribution to this field helps to shape their future use. Equinor is currently trialling the correlation with a view to using it as a tool within their overall sand management strategy and await the results of this study to see how it can be used to ensure the steady and optimised flow of oil and gas.

References 1.

Linda Duffy, Apropos Research, USA, describes how survey data adds value throughout the pipeline lifecycle.


atural gas pipelines are subject to strict regulations intended to maintain public safety. Ensuring compliance requires a large volume of survey data to support the integrity of the natural gas pipeline system, including a record of survey information for numerous features of every pipe segment and centimeter-level location accuracy. In contrast, pipelines for water or sewer require only a minimal amount of data

to be collected, such as top-of-pipe elevation, to provide depth of cover and approximate geographic location. During the installation of a new natural gas pipeline in northern Michigan (USA), surveying and engineering firm, Wade Trim, faced numerous surveying challenges to deliver the details required for installation. These large data sets required daily processing and network adjustments to create a precise GIS

containing as-built pipeline data and orthometric aerial imagery of the pipeline corridor. Integrating Trimble® Access™ Pipelines software into the process optimised the collection and combination of all survey data into the master project database to deliver the utility company’s required metadata of the pipeline system. Electronic access to the entire survey dataset using one application helped streamline tasks,

Figure 1. Working in northern Michigan’s remote, hilly terrain without a reliable cellular network, numerous challenges were addressed to deliver construction survey data with the accuracy and details required for the utility’s US$109 million Traverse City-Alpena Reinforcement Project.


monitor construction progress, verify the accurate position of each pipe segment, and validate completion of required work. Throughout the project, surveyors and construction team members had access to the database to answer questions and solve problems quickly. In the future, these comprehensive records will support maintenance efforts and extend the life of this major infrastructure investment.

Reduce risk with complete information Natural gas pipeline accidents and failures can be catastrophic, so protecting the public and environment is paramount. Efforts to mitigate the risk of pipeline material or weld failures, as well as corrosion, have increased regulations, requiring more survey-related tasks during pipeline construction. Survey as-built asset measurements reduce these risks by linking the recorded data to the associated location of underground pipeline assets, critical failure

points, and construction information, usually within a few centimeters. To increase the reliability of the natural gas supply system that serves more than 51 000 customers in northwest Michigan, the US$109 million Traverse City-Alpena Reinforcement Project (TCARP) added a second natural gas pipeline. Wade Trim was responsible for providing extensive survey construction staking and as-built measurements for 23 miles of natural gas pipeline and modifications for seven stations to comply with rigorous federal regulatory agency and utility company requirements. “TCARP was a high-profile pipeline, and we wanted to be absolutely sure that everything went smoothly,” said Nick Grim, Vice President and Survey Area Lead, Wade Trim. “This project gave us an opportunity to learn more about the comprehensive capabilities of our Trimble Access Pipelines software and fully leverage the large amounts of data collected.”

Gain efficiency from detailed pipeline attribute inventory

Figure 2. This second natural gas pipeline was constructed to increase the reliability of the natural gas supply system serving more than 51 000 customers in northwest Michigan.

Figure 3. A precise GIS geodatabase of as-built pipeline data and orthometric aerial imagery of the pipeline corridor was created. Large datasets received daily data processing and network adjustments to achieve the centimeter-level accuracy and details required.

46 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

Wade Trim performed pre-construction surveying, construction staking and as-built measurements of the TCARP natural gas pipeline. Construction staking included right-of-way, pipeline alignment and stationing, wetland limits, access roads, erosion control measures, existing pipeline infrastructure, and other utilities near the pipeline corridor. Due to remote, hilly terrain and poor cellular service, survey signals from the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) were not reliable to accurately calculate positions. Instead, 30 pairs of control points along the pipeline route were established for GNSS base station locations and checkpoints. Coordinates and elevations were derived by completing multiple rapid static GNSS baseline sessions using Trimble R12 GNSS receivers. Utilising Trimble Business Center software, the baseline measurements were verified and passed the Chi squared test at 95% confidence level. Thousands of data points were collected along the pipeline to create an inventory database for all sections of pipe installed. Manufacturer data collected during preconstruction pipe tally included each pipe segment’s unique pipe number, heat number, length, thickness, coatings, and bend radius. During construction, this data was linked to as-built measurements of weld locations, depth of cover, X-ray inspection data, and cathodic and erosion control measures. Utilising Trimble Access Pipelines software, pipeline attribute data was categorised and delineated throughout the construction phase for use by the utility company, contractors, pipeline inspectors, land agents, and others. This combined survey data set supports adherence to mandatory regulatory requirements set by the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and is critical for long-term integrity of the pipeline. For example, if a section of pipe

is later determined deficient, the defective section can easily be geolocated for immediate repair using the locational data collected. After a road subbase failed during pipeline boring under US Route 31 through a heavily travelled urban district in Traverse City, daily survey measurements of the busy roadway were taken for settlement monitoring to verify ground subsidence. For the safety of Wade Trim’s surveyors and to minimally impede motorists, data was collected using the Trimble SX10 combined terrestrial lidar and robotic total station from the shoulder of the road. This approach contributed to surveyor safety and stability of the roadway, avoided temporary lane closures, and maintained normal traffic flow for tourists travelling to summer destinations. All survey data was uploaded daily from each survey crew using Trimble Sync Manager to transfer it to the office, via the cloud, for processing, QA/ QC, and reports. Office technicians were notified of new data uploads and would confirm all data was processed and results were within the project’s accuracy tolerances. By collecting and validating the pipeline inventory in the field from the pre-construction pipeline tally to as-built measurements during construction, many operational tasks were completed more efficiently.



Centralised database provides stakeholder benefits The process of bringing all datasets from multiple sources together into a single place was accomplished with fewer staff and less time than initially anticipated. Field staff had access to the complete dataset, making it easy to identify any missing pipeline information. Use of Trimble software, including Trimble Access Pipelines, Trimble Business Center, and Trimble Sync Manager, yielded a 10% savings in construction survey costs. In addition, the turnaround time on deliverables was greatly reduced. Data for final pipe footage, tally reports, drain tiles, and alignment sheets could be provided to all project stakeholders, before the contractor left the pipeline corridor. Accurately identifying the extents of potential slope failures throughout the project helped maintain pipeline integrity for the lifespan of the system, and survey staking these critical locations facilitated pipe installation. In addition, the corridor restoration phase was streamlined by utilising a meticulous preconstruction survey that collected site-specific documentation and geolocated photos of all existing site features within the pipeline right-of-way. “After completing this project, we feel more confident about unlocking the full utility of Trimble Access. We are more efficient and can validate the data with a few clicks of a button,” Grim said. “We were able to produce a much broader deliverable than the utility company first envisioned, and the centralised database provides a path to sustainability by allowing everyone to identify locations and proactively solve problems at a moment’s notice, thus extending the life of this major infrastructure investment.”

1/8’’ - 56 ‘‘



Extending the life of a pipeline From preliminary route surveying to construction staking to as-built surveying, Wade Trim thoroughly documented the existing conditions of the pipeline corridor, supported construction activities, and collected extensive pipeline attribute and as-built data. The precise GIS containing comprehensive data provided information necessary for issues to be addressed before and during construction and facilitated communication between stakeholders. Going forward, the data set created for this buried asset will be critical to the utility company’s future maintenance needs to ensure pipeline integrity. Trimble Access Pipelines and Trimble Business Center software streamlined the complexities of the survey workflow, enabling all data to be accurately recorded and stored in a single place and quick generation of status reports to support construction. Successful completion of the complex TCARP project demonstrated the value of a centralised database to enhance sustainability and extend the useful life of valuable infrastructure.

PIG HANDLING EQUIPMENT Propipe manufactures pig handling equipment for a wide variety of applications, from loading of precommissioning pigs, as well as routine maintenance operations, to receiving cassettes, removal tools and storage trays. All equipment is manufactured to suit project specific requirements.

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ennox Welding & Supply and BRADEN, a PACCAR Winch brand, have built a successful business relationship that provides customers in Canada and around the world with quality winch truck solutions. Founded in 1953, Lennox Welding established itself as a leader in the truck-mounted winch segment and has a long-standing relationship with the oil and gas energy sectors in Western Canada. They provide customers with a variety of bed trucks, specialty products and winch trucks – concentrating on custom builds, specialised rig ups and fleet builds. PACAAR Winch is a leading manufacturer of winches, hoists and drives for various industries including construction, mining, oil and gas, and more. Backed by a commitment to quality and innovation, the reliability of high-performance BRADEN winches is well-known. BRADEN HP Series hydraulic planetary winches are designed to withstand harsh conditions in oilfield environments. They provide exceptional performance and ease of use both over-the-road (OTR) and in the field.

Winch versatility Winch trucks, or winch tractors, play a crucial part in the North American oilfields and pipeline construction sectors. Tasked with hauling various configurations of trailers, the winch enables the driver to load and unload their cargo or payload. They’re purposed commonly in oilfields for heavy transport and in support of the drilling process – moving bulky, heavy objects over the road from one location to another.

tough trucks Todd Razor, on behalf of PACCAR Winch, discusses how Lennox Welding & Supply and BRADEN are on track with winch truck solutions in Western Canada.


Bed trucks are deployed equipped with a flatbed and can transport oilfield and drilling machinery of all kinds. Found primarily off-road and on drilling pad locations, these winch-equipped trucks are especially useful when moving equipment shorter distances, for assembling drill rig components, as well as in hill assist situations. Such assets include shacks, tanks, mobile equipment, rig mats, drilling rigs, other large platforms, etc. What makes these types of truck-mounted winches essential is their versatility and durability in rugged oilfield environments. Within the pipeline construction segment, for example, they can aid in advanced recovery operations, such as in response to a breakdown

Figure 1. The HP80, HP130 and HP160 are three BRADEN winches installed by Lennox.

or accident, as a distressed vehicle or piece of heavy equipment can be retrieved and returned to a maintenance facility for repair.

Proper alignment Fabricating a winch truck involves selecting the appropriate chassis, and considering factors such as payload capacity, overall size, and power. Adherence to exacting standards of safety and regulatory compliance is integral. All rigs have specialised winches based on specific customer requirements and needs. The process of working with a customer at Lennox Welding starts by developing a plan that includes determining the type of winch, winch capacity, and mounting location. Lennox Welding handles all aspects of the winch installation, and any necessary adjustments, followed by the inspection and testing processes of the winch and control station, hydraulic systems, electrical systems – and safety features. Installation steps can vary depending on the requirements of each project owner and the type of winch being installed. Factors such as the weight of the load, the type of work being performed, and environmental conditions can impact the installation guidance. BRADEN is consulted and provides detailed instructions and diagrams to help ensure a safe and successful winch-truck alignment. Lennox Welding’s commitment to excellence is evident in selecting winches manufactured by BRADEN which provides technical and manufacturer support. A high-performance winch that is properly installed and well maintained should reflect the epitome of reliability and efficiency, delivering proven results time and time again. “We talk to the customer, we go through the line drawings, prepare a 3D concept of the truck and winches, all ahead of time,” said Landon Hiebert, Sales & Service Manager, Lennox Welding. “BRADEN provides the parts and support.” “We lean on their technical department when dealing with anything that could be unfamiliar to us,” he said. “They are knowledgeable and responsive. That helps my customers obtain a qualified response more quickly than with some vendors, a nice value-add.”

Safer up top Safety is a top priority in oil and gas. Winch trucks and bed trucks have roles in many operations and are being utilised in several industry segments. Proper winch assistance helps prevent accidents and injuries by allowing equipment to be moved in a controlled and safe manner. Vehicles equipped with innovative technology including hydraulic planetary winch systems have a leg up on helping mitigate the risk of accidents or injuries on the job. A key benefit of products manufactured by PACCAR Winch is their engineered performance – the results of advanced design and manufacturing. Line speed, pulling power, and precise control of winch-equipped trucks are crucial factors in an operator’s ability to get the job done safely with increased efficiency and less downtime.

High bar Figure 2. HP Series winches are designed to withstand harsh oilfield settings.

50 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

Lennox Welding installs BRADEN model HP80, HP130 and HP160 winches, among others, setting a high bar for truckbuild component technologies. With rated line pull capacities of 80 000 lb (36 287 kg), 130 000 lb (58 966 kg) and 160 000 lb

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staying busy. BRADEN meets the size and scope of Lennox’s winch needs, and Lennox’s oilfield customers’ needs.”

Tough rigs

Figure 3. Winches and hydraulic systems can be married for optimal speed, line pull and efficiency.

(72 574 kg), respectively, each is fitted with an efficient planetary gearing system, a 2-speed motor, and air-shift clutch. Bed trucks from Lennox Welding are typically equipped with two winches, such as a BRADEN HP130 and a BRADEN HP65, or a BRADEN HP80. A winch truck with higher pulling power is better equipped for handling in formidable oilfield settings. Precise control is essential when an operator is making small adjustments to the speed and direction of the winch cable for accurate positioning, of particular importance. The winch and hydraulic systems on Lennox Welding-built trucks are married for maximum efficiency and optimised speed and line pull in the oilfield setting. By diminishing the strain of moving heavy loads, the useable lifespan of trucks and trailers may also be extended with the benefit of cost savings and fewer repairs. “There aren’t many large things you can move in the world if you are constantly breaking down and end up being in the shop for repairs,” Hiebert said. “We build products that will hold up and last in tough environments. BRADEN has demonstrated durability and reliability.” Trucks developed by Lennox Welding with BRADEN winches additionally ensure the presence of safety features such as automatic brakes and load-limiting devices, increasing confidence that the load is secured and ensuring smoother movement. “We are proud of our work; we don’t mess around with garbage,” Hiebert said. “We think that we go the extra mile, not only on the fabrication side but the products we select. For many, it’s a custom decision at the end of the day. We help steer users’ decision-making based on their needs and our experience.”

Keeping it moving Move after move, the BRADEN HP Series is ideal for even the most demanding environments. The air-shift clutch and air-operated band brake are designed to be easily serviced, helping minimise downtime and maintenance costs. This helps equip a total oilfield solution. “I’m very busy over here putting BRADEN winches on new trucks to go to work,” Hiebert said. “The biggest thing, when dealing with (the PACCAR family) is being ahead of the game. Our relationship allows us to talk it through on our end, advancing lead times on truck bed winches for our customers.” “Sometimes if we know we have 10 trucks coming in, let’s say, on a certain quarter, we are staying connected to our contact at PACCAR Winch, our go-to,” he continued. “A lot of people are

52 World Pipelines / DECEMBER 2023

The versatility and heavy-duty capabilities of winch trucks make them essential tools in North America, as they provide benefits that go a long way toward improving efficiency, safety, and profitability across a wide range of tasks and loads. Canada is a strong energy producer, and it has an estimated 6 billion bbls of remaining oil reserves located outside the oilsands, found primarily in Alberta, Saskatchewan and offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. The industry is highly competitive, and companies need to have an edge over their competitors to succeed. Rigging tough trucks and building a superior brand is important for a company looking to complete on improved safety, equipment options and product availability. Leading winch truck makers offer an array of products and services. Top winch manufacturers have a vested interest in the supply chain, and they make technicians available throughout the winch selection and installation processes. This increases confidence that truck-mounted winches are set up safely, in a timely manner, and effectively for the tasks they are designed to perform. “The current global climate in this market this past year was driven by supply and demand – available product,” Hiebert said. “I have had zero issues and am staying on top of my BRADEN parts stock. We have thousands of parts in our parts room, including more than a dozen winches in cold storage ready to go.”

Wrapping up Lennox Welding is a Sherwood Park, Alberta-based family-owned and operated business that has been providing welding, fabrication services, and industrial supplies to its customers for over 70 years. Their commitment to providing exceptional products and customer experience has allowed them to win the trust and loyalty of clients. BRADEN’s oil and gas sector history dates to 1924, the beginnings of Braden Steel Corporation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As an original supplier of oilfield equipment such as drive heads for popping shallow wells, they were established early as a trusted industry brand. Over the past 99 years, the company’s reputation has been built on a promise of delivering reliability, offering an array of hoists, winches, and recovery products. Lennox Welding and PACCAR Winch have formed a relationship that provides customers with the best possible equipment to support their operations, which involves conquering transportation and handling challenges in the Canadian oilfields. Best-in-class performance and line pull on the innovative BRADEN HP Series make it a top choice for winch truck operators and fleet owners alike. “The HP series BRADEN winches have been a game-changer for our winch trucks,” Hiebert said. “The advanced design and construction of the winches have delivered unparalleled performance and ease of use, making them the ideal solution for our material handling and over-the-road hauling applications. “Why do we choose to go with BRADEN? It comes down to relationship. With a focus on safety and efficiency, the winches have exceeded our expectations, and we are confident in recommending them to others in the industry.”

World Pipelines’ quarterly pipeline machinery focus.



John Barbera, Barbco, USA, describes a world record 24 in. offshore crossing.

hen pipeline machinery is discussed, one of the most prevalent methods is horizontal directional drilling (HDD). In brief, HDD is a construction technique where a hole is drilled under a waterway or other designated area, and a pipeline or other specific utility is pulled through the hole. With certain geological conditions at play, oftentimes HDD can be the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to proceed. This was certainly the case for Florida-based contractor, IS Machines HDD and client Petroleum of Mexico (PEMEX). The project required over 4000 m of 24 in. steel casing installed, broke down into three sections. The longest was an offshore crossing totalling 2130 m in length – currently known as the world’s record offshore HDD crossing. After months of research and planning with project coordinators, engineers, and owners, the team was ready to begin and broke ground in April 2022 using a Barbco B500 Maxi rig. This project was located in

Aguadulce, Veracruz, Mexico. Each of the crossings on this project presented their own unique challenges regarding environmental factors. The world record

Figure 1. Barbco BD500 working on a barge to shore crossing.


crossing was drilled beneath the ocean floor to an offshore barge, and exited inland for a connection in an oil refinery. In addition, the installed pipeline avoided both the protected reef system, and protected forests on land, as to not disturb any of the ecosystems. While working consecutive 24 hour shifts, the team precisely completed a 2130 m pilot hole in 15 days. This crossing opens new opportunities for IS Machines HDD. Through the use of custom designed reamers and advanced drilling technology, IS Machines has developed new methods and strategies which allow precise HDD crossings at longer lengths than ever before thought possible. The remaining crossings were through mountains and wetlands that needed to remain undisturbed, as well as jungle terrain which was also necessary to keep stable. With environmental concerns at hand, it

ditch witch

Designed to push through rock and tough ground conditions, the AT120 provides a mid-size solution for projects typically reserved for maxi-size drills, says Jeff Davis, Ditch Witch, USA.


o enhance underground construction operators’ productivity while working in tough ground conditions, Ditch Witch has introduced the AT120 All Terrain (AT) directional drill – the largest AT horizontal direction drill in the world. The

Figure 1. With 3000 ft-lbs of inner rotational torque, the Ditch Witch AT120 has the power to drill through the toughest terrain around.



was essential that the IS Machines team completed these crossings using only ground water and clay/bentonite polymers. Despite the difficult circumstances, IS Machines split the manpower into two crews. The crossings were completed in short order as one crew continued work on the offshore crossing and the other performed the crossing inland. The project employed nearly 1000 workers, ranging from engineers, operators, boat pilots, and more. With the help of properly manufactured machinery, IS Machines was able to complete these intense crossings with little difficulty. Proper pre-planning and research allowed for drilling to their full potential. It’s a true testament to the reliability and resilience of properly manufactured equipment. Not only does it carry a long lifespan, it also allows you to get optimal return on your investment.

AT120 gives operators the power and stability needed for efficient fibre, pipeline and utility installation through hard rock. Additionally, as the successor to the Ditch Witch AT100 and American Augers’ DD110, the AT120 enables maxi-rig drill operators to move down a class size to meet jobsite constraints without compromising jobsite productivity. The AT120 features 15 500 foot-pounds (ft-lb) of rotational torque and 3000 ft-lb of inner rotational torque – a 50% increase over the AT100. With 120 000 lb of thrust and pullback, the AT120 allows operators to take on a wide variety of projects, as well as move through longer bores and larger diameter installations more efficiently. The drill is powered by a 280 hp Cummins Stage V diesel engine that meets European emissions standards for cleaner jobsites. Built to boost jobsite uptime, the AT120 offers a 20 ft end-to-end drill pipe on board, helping operators put more pipe in the ground. New technology enhancements include a patent-pending Virtually Assisted Makeup and Breakout (VAM) solution, which makes it easier for operators to makeup and breakout tool joints without the need for floats and sensors. This technology keeps crews productively working on the jobsite.

75YEARS FOR OVER 75 YEARS the Pipe Line Contractors Association has supported the union contractors that build and maintain the energy infrastructure in the United States. PLCA members provide superior construction services with an industry-leading focus on safety, quality, training, environmental compliance, and community support. The PLCA hosts two exciting and popular member events each year: its Annual Convention, held in January/February, and the National Pipe Line Conference in the fall. Both of these major industry events are highly educational and allow members to network with industry colleagues and reconnect with old friends.


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To further maximise uptime, the AT120 offers a saver lock design to protect the drill pipe and drive system against wear and tear. With an updated engine compartment and access panel design, operators have increased access to critical components that frequently need to be maintained, streamlining maintenance routines and the serviceability of the drill. “Anyone drilling through hard rock needs a machine that has the brawn to push through,” said Jeff Davis, Ditch Witch’s HDD Product Manager. “The AT120 delivers the exceptional power that these jobs require. And as our largest AT drill yet, the AT120 pushes Ditch Witch users to larger-scale jobs that typically run maxirigs, which means maxi-rig operators can bring less equipment to the jobsite, maximising cost savings and boosting jobsite uptime.” The AT120 also offers a multimode joystick – the first production unit in the Ditch Witch lineup to market with this. The multimode joystick boosts operator productivity as operators can set up their joystick controls to their preferred style of drilling. This not only improves operator confidence while running

Figure 2. All Terrain (AT) technology and 280 hp Stage V Cummins engine reduce environmental impact without sacrificing power.

the drill, but also reduces time spent training, ultimately saving time, money and increasing jobsite uptime. Additionally, the AT120 shares a common design with the latest Ditch Witch family of horizontal directional drills. This commonality enhances operator comfort and ease of use, streamlining training as well as helping operators stay productive and efficient.

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