Use of Ice Pigging for Unpiggable Pipeline Decommissioning
Proceedings Publication Date
Steve Wheeler
Steve Wheeler
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Ice Pigging is a cleaning technique, mature in the food, water / wastewater industries, which is being developed for the Oil and Gas industry. This paper will detail the first ever commercial application of ice pigging in the oil and gas industry.

A, high-solids ice slurry is pumped under pressure to deliver shear stress at the pipe wall, cleaning takes place through physical abrasion. Made of just water and a small percentage of a freezing point depressant, ice pigs do their cleaning, unblocking, debris entraining and transport before melting back into their original components (commonly salt and water); offering a physical clean thousands of times more effective than flushing, without chemicals or risk(s) of getting stuck.

The condensate line in question has no conventional pigging infrastructure and due to the decommissioning activities taking place at the onshore terminal where it is located no evacuation route for the waste water from flushing/existing fluids meaning a large amount of water flushing was expected to be required to reduce the amount of hydrocarbons in the line to an acceptable level for decommissioning to be deemed successful. Due to disposal costs by road tanker ice pigging was identified as an opportunity to reduce the waste generated by the operation by an order of magnitude, hence giving a cost reduction as well as a higher likelihood of increased cleanliness.

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