A major North American pipeline operator commissioned STATS Group to execute the isolation of one of their key export pipelines. Enbridge Pipelines Inc, (Enbridge) required the double block and bleed isolation on a 48” crude oil pipeline as part of a scheduled line shutdown to facilitate the repair of a receiver valve. In what is believed to be the first onshore piggable solution of its type completed in Canada, the project also required to be done without the need to use or leave traditional hot tap tees on the pipeline system.

STATS Group proposed the use of a 48” Remote Tecno Plug to complete the valve isolation scope on the client’s PN50 (ANSI Class 300) transmission pipeline.

Conventional isolations of this type would involve a traditional lip seal line-stop and vents to achieve an isolation that is neither guaranteed to be leak free or a proveable double block and bleed in the context of Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety hazardous energy requirements. The Remote Tecno Plug system offers a proveable, testable and monitorable isolation in-situ in the pipeline system, thereby avoiding additional tie-in weldments for the isolation tool or vent fittings.

The Remote Tecno Plug involves pigging the Tecno Plug from the client’s existing launcher or receiver (pig trap) to the isolation location, and then reverse pigging back to the receiver after performing the isolation. This has positive time, cost and safety benefits over traditional methods. Managed locally in Edmonton, Alberta, the project involved detailed pipe stress analysis, Canadian Registration Number registration, lock indentation mark assessment and a piggability assessment.

A site survey, pigging trials and Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) under client witness was also conducted to ensure this new approach for pipeline isolation would meet the client’s safety, integrity and operational requirements. The Remote Tecno Plug was configured in a three module arrangement and pigged 40 metres to the isolation location. Once the plug was set, the isolation was proven via STATS’ secondary and primary leak tests before an isolation certificate was issued allowing the valve repairs to be safely completed. The tool was then unset and reverse pigged to the receiver within the client’s desired 24-hour outage window.

Stephen Rawlinson, Vice President Americas for STATS Group, said “We are proud to have been able to support Enbridge on this important 48” isolation. It demonstrates STATS Group’s unique client-centric approach of providing an isolation solution tailored to the project as well as ability to bring what’s traditionally been an offshore plugging technology to the onshore pipeline environment. The Remote Tecno Plug offers a high integrity double block and bleed isolation alternative over line-stops traditionally used onshore.”

Kelly Hilkewich, Senior Engineer, Western Region for Enbridge Pipelines Inc, said, “During the planning and execution of this valve repair, STATS Group was thorough, knowledgeable, and professional throughout. In essence, they became an extension of our project team. As our company continuously strives to further its safety culture, our work with the STATS team has given us confidence that the STATS Tecno Plug and BISEP are cost-effective, proven solutions to achieving double isolation and bleed.” Coupled with STATS Group’s BISEP technology, STATS’ isolation and testing services are increasingly in demand from operators in North America where high integrity leak-free isolations are required.

STATS Group has a long-established track record conducting major international piping and pipeline integrity maintenance projects and operates from Edmonton and Calgary, with support from its Houston base and UK headquarters near Aberdeen, Scotland.

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