The North Montney Mainline (NMML) project is a 206km (128mi), 42-inch diameter pipeline in Northern British Columbia, Canada. This pipeline connects the liquids-rich Montney formation, west of the Alaska highway, to the existing NGTL infrastructure owned and operated by TC Energy.
It is estimated that this area contains 85 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas, and production could ramp to 3.5 bcf/day by 2030. This is an enormous amount of natural gas that could one day make its way to the highly anticipated LNG export markets on the coast of British Columbia.
PipePillo’s were used on Spread 1 of the NMML project on a challenging section of terrain; the pipeline had to be set into a steep, rocky trench. The trench was blasted through a shale formation, which resulted in an extremely rough trench bottom. Foam pillows or sand padding are sometimes used in these situations to protect the pipeline from potential coating damage.
The remoteness of this site coupled with the steepness of the trench made sandbag padding undesirable in this application. Not to mention the manpower and time required to place the padding! As for polyurethane foam pillows, the owning company was adamant on not using these due to the susceptibility to restrict cathodic protection systems and their questionable long-term integrity.
However, these conditions are where PipePillo’s excel.
PipePillo’s are incredibly lightweight, when considering their ultimate strength. The SPP48 was used on this project and weights only 43 pounds, light enough to be handled by a single labourer. Workers were easily able to tie the PipePillo’s to the pipe using 1/4-inch rope, achieving the desired spacing suggested by PipeSak. During installation, all PipePillo preparation work was done out of the trench and completed within only a few hours. The side booms lowered the pipeline sections into the trench with the PipePillo’s already installed, providing a full 90 degrees of support and 8 inches of elevation above the rocky trench.
PipePillo’s are beginning to change the way permanent supports are considered during pipeline construction, especially in rocky areas. With a full 90 degrees of support, the risk of ovality and unwanted denting from point loading will lead to minimal features during post caliper inspections. Saving time, money, and improving the safety of workers during pipeline construction are all benefits of using PipePillo’s during pipeline construction.
It is PipeSak’s goal to improve pipeline integrity in our industry, and make PipePillo’s the preferred permanent in-trench support.