Trenchless Pipeline Removal (TPR) is a new technology meant for pipelines who have reached their service life end. The TPR method can be applied where it is not possible or not allowed trenching for the removal, in the same way as it is for new installations.
Currently if a pipe cannot be removed by open cut method, it is abandoned. For the pipeline owner the removal of a pipeline is necessary to relieve him from any obligation towards land owners and Authorities; additionally, from the environmental point of view, a pipe which is left buried is to all intents and purposes a waste.
The trenchless pipeline removal starts from the helical cut of the pipe, using waterjet cutting. In this way the pipe can be pulled out, because the cut pipe behaves as a spring thus reducing its section and the pipe-to-soil friction as a consequence.
On-site tests have demonstrated the feasibility of trenchless removal, which at present can be applied to pipe sections of about 200 m, for diameter greater than or equal to 10 in.
This year the TPR method will be used for removing critical sections of old pipelines of the national gas network.