The cleaning of hydrocarbon pipelines, and if necessary the analysis of any faults in such, can be effectively performed using a particular device called a “pig”, which is pushed along the pipeline using a controlled flow of fluid such as nitrogen which, compared with other fluids (water, air, chemicals), is more chemically inert, contains a very limited residual content of water, and displays very òimited interaction with products normally present in the pipeline. Through special launch and recovery stations, the highly pure nitrogen, which has a very low dew point so as to produce an anhydrous environment, is pumped at high pressure, sending the pig along the pipeline even in the presence of curves or gradients. Using nitrogen, the pig can perform several fundamental tasks including “washing” the pipeline with gaseous nitrogen, thus leaving it in an inert, anhydrous and pressurised condition, and it drives the fluids it encounters towards the receiving station, making it possible to use the same pipeline for different products by cleaning the internal surface of any residues left by liquids or solids that travel along it.
This technique can be adapted to many types of pipeline, and can be used during the various operational phases of the pipeline, from commissioning to ordinary and extraordinary maintenance.
Thanks to its experience in the sector, SOL provides all the equipment and personnel required to carry out pigging operations with maximum efficiency and in conditions of complete safety: thanks to continuous research into effective and efficient technologies, and to cooperation with highly-qualified operators, SOL can provide its customers with customised solutions, and supply the most advanced pigging applications available.