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Hot Tapping For Making New Pipeline Connections Safely

Oct 21st 2014 at 11:59 PM

Pressure tapping or hot tapping is a procedure of making a new pipeline connection while the run pipe remains in service. Natural gas transmission and distribution companies have to modify their systems many times a year, and this hot tap procedure allows this to be done without shutting down the portion of the system or having to drain the system. It clearly dictates of pipe or tank being in operations while modifications are performed on it. In addition to this, pressurized casing fluids are also drained off using this method.

This technology has made modification and access of high pressure lines safer and easier than before. As hot tapping allows for working on gas as well as liquid pipes without leading to service interruption, this process is vital to many industries, especially natural gas and oil. Working on high-pressure lines is extremely dangerous, but this method has made things safer and simpler for these industries. Also, because it doesn’t interrupt the normal working of pipeline, it is highly cost-effective.

Hot taps in application

In the procedure, the outside of an operating pipeline is attached either mechanically or welded with a branch connection and valve. Then the pipe-line wall within the branch is cut out and the wall section (also called “coupon”) is removed through the valve. This method is simply practical and beneficial as it avoids product loss and interference of services to the customers.

There are mainly five steps:

• Installation of fitting and valve on the existing pipeline
• Installation of hot tap machine
• Performing hot tap through the open valve
• Retracting cutter assembly
• Closing hot tapping valve

Opportunities with the technology

Though it is not a new practice, changes and improvements keep coming in this procedure to reduce the ambiguity and intricacies that operators might have encountered in the past. Many companies dealing in natural gas and allied industries report using this procedure routinely. In fact, small jobs are done almost daily, whereas larger taps (basically more than 12 inches) are done at least two or three times a year. In simpler terms, the technology has made it probable to carry out repairs which were once considered impossible.

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