Pipelines are not just a mode of fuel transportation but they are an identity which traverses the length and width of geographical spans, impacting the live of flora and fauna of the area it traverses. So it becomes utmost responsibility of pipeline fraternity to analyze each and every aspect of pipeline design and to lay the pipeline in such a manner which results in congenial development, without affecting the delicate balance established by Mother Nature.
Increasing energy demand requires transportation of huge quantity of POL to meet the mammoth requirements of refineries, petrochemical complexes, city gas networks etc. Also, with the increasing difficulties in acquisition of land for pipeline installation, large diameter pipelines are becoming only viable option. As per the industrial practice and for this article, pipelines with size 36” (910 mm) and above are considered as large diameter pipelines
Large diameter not only eases the operators from meeting the current as well as future requirement but also saves them from the repeat exercise of installation of multiple pipelines. Owing to the large diameter, frictional loses are comparatively less which aids in placing pumping/ compressor stations at a larger interval. Also, CP currents travels longer distances on large diameter pipelines which further reduces the requirement of land for CP stations.
Coming to the management of large diameter pipelines, which is utmost challenging as any spillage or leak in large diameter pipeline can result in catastrophic damages to the nearby area due to large quantity of POL into it. Therefore, large diameter pipelines necessitate highly sensitive pipeline control systems and pipeline safety system. Close monitoring of the pipeline transporting such huge quantity of explosives material no longer remain as the responsibility of the operator only but also integrate in the components of national security.
Installing large diameter pipelines comes with many challenges which shall be analyzed prudently against its benefits. This article presents insight into the aspects that shall be given consideration during conceptualization, design & engineering, installation and operation of large diameter pipeline.