BP have been active in developing and promoting new technology for approaching 10 years to enhance the feasibility and performance of onshore pipeline projects. This has involved successful collaborations with many partners in the pipeline industry which has resulted in new technologies being delivered to market, most notably in welding processes and high strength steels.
However, a visitor to a pipeline construction spread today will still encounter construction practices, equipment, design processes and contracting arrangements which are largely unchanged in over 30 years. This is reflected in the very limited growth in construction progress rates when compared to offshore pipeline construction. There can be few other industries where this is the case.
In the current buoyant market for pipeline construction with consequent capacity constraints, it is conceivable that some projects may be significantly delayed or become postponed through being perceived as uneconomic or through lack of available construction spreads.
This paper therefore discusses the need for further innovation in onshore pipeline construction technology to overcome these constraints and outlines a new initiative promoted through IPLOCA to provide an industry wide forum to promote and implement collaborative projects to develop novel onshore pipeline construction technologies.