Integrity digs are an essential component to ensuring the safety and longevity of our pipelines. An integrity dig is when a section of pipeline is excavated to give pipeline operators an up-close view of the pipeline to determine if a repair or replacement is required. To expose the pipeline, operators carefully strip the topsoil, followed by the other layers, preserving each layer to be re-used later. Machines are used to dig alongside the pipeline, but the pipe itself is exposed slowly and carefully by hand.
In 2015 Suncor Energy carried out an integrity dig in Boyle Alberta on a length of 10” and 16” OD pipe carrying crude oil. Once the pipe was exposed it was necessary for it to be supported during examination. Suncor Energy contacted PipeSak® engineers for more information regarding PipePillo™ structured pipeline pillows (SPP). PipePillo™ pipeline supports are designed to offer pipeline operators and contractors ultimate flexibility by allowing for the PipePillo™ supports to be stacked, in both a 3” and 6” height configurations, to reach any height requirement.
Suncor Energy used stacks of PipePillo™ supports to carry the load of the heavy pipe during examination and left the PipePillo™ supports in place for backfilling – giving the pipe 90 degrees of permanent support. PipePillo™ pipeline supports allowed the project team to minimize the amount of compaction effort required directly beneath the pipeline, reducing the risk of accidental damage and helping to ensure no pipeline settlement occurred. PipePillo™ supports also reduced the risk of ovality, improving long term pipeline integrity.