Tag Archives: engineering

Pipeline Petroleum Transport Investment May Predict Growing Cathodic Protection Needs

If Warren Buffet’s investment strategy is any indication, pipeline efficiency is going to start playing a bigger role in moving crude oil and natural gas in the United States.

The Berkshire Hathaway luminary is pipeline-efficiency-cathodic-protectionspearheading a swap of about $1.4 billion in shares of Phillips 66 for full ownership of the energy company’s pipeline petroleum transport services business. The business unit’s focus is polymer-based additives that are used to move crude oil and natural gas through pipelines more efficiently by reducing drag.

The shift in Berkshire’s investment strategy comes amid a boom in U.S. crude oil and natural gas production. Since many liquids pipelines in the United States are operating at capacity, producers can use the pipeline petroleum transport additive to quickly increase capacity without immediately growing pipeline infrastructure.

Although future pipeline projects may be in the works to meet the sharp increase in demand, the process of gaining approval for new pipeline projects can be slowed by permitting.

A greater reliance on existing pipelines for transporting liquids means that producers and pipeline owners need to pay even more attention to cathodic protection management, according to Kevin Groll, project management director for MATCOR, a Pennsylvania-based company that specializes in cathodic protection products and services.

“Any time you have pipeline you have to protect it from corrosion,” Groll said. “And that’s especially true when you increase the value of a pipeline by increasing its capacity. If that pipeline were to develop a corrosion problem you’d be facing a situation where your profitability could suffer significantly.”

“With pipeline owners using additives to push greater volumes of liquids it becomes imperative to use cathodic protection products such as impressed current anodes and cathodic protection rectifiers to protect the increased capacity and profitability of the pipeline infrastructure.”

Further Reading

Berkshire Swaps $1.4 Billion in Phillips 66 Stock in Deal,” Bloomberg, December 31, 2013.

PG&E Names New Executive to Gas Pipeline Team

PG&E added another executive to its gas operations team to help rebuild the company following the 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

Jesus Soto Jr., who is currently the vice president of operation services for El Paso Corp.’s pipeline group, will now become PG&E’s senior vice president of gas transmission, operations, engineering and pipeline integrity.

In his new role, Soto Jr. will be responsible for four areas for the company:

  • public safety and integrity management;
  • project engineering, design and management;
  • gas transmission; and
  • gas system operations.

“PG&E and our customers are fortunate to have someone with such a strong background working to make our system the best in the country,” said Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E’s executive vice president of gas operations, who was recently hired himself to help chart a new path for the utility following the San Bruno disaster. “We have already made excellent progress in turning our operations around, and there is still more to do. I have every confidence Jesus will play a major role in meeting this challenge.”

PG&E has been steadily making strides to revamp its pipeline operations by bringing in Stavropoulos and new CEO Anthony Earley and following through on the pipeline safety recommendations the National Transportation Safety Board issued following the explosion.

The utility also is trying to get a $2.2 billion plan approved by the California Public Utilities Commission to modernize its pipeline system throughout the state.

Meanwhile, PG&E has still been beset with problems stemming from its pipeline operations.

The CPUC recently fined PG&E $3 million for failing to comply with the commission’s orders to provide records for its gas transmission pipelines following the explosion. The company has set aside another $200 million for pending fines that are expected for the explosion.

More than 250 people have filed lawsuits against PG&E for the explosion, and the jury trial starts in July. The lawsuits are expected to be costly.

PG&E also just reached a settlement with the city for $70 million as restitution for the fire.

Soto said he hopes to help turn the company’s operations around.

“I look forward to quickly integrating myself into the PG&E Gas Operations organization and reinforcing a team and a culture that are driven to operational excellence anchored in public, employee and contractor safety, facility integrity, regulatory compliance and system reliability,” he said in a statement.

SOURCE: http://sanbruno.patch.com/articles/pg-e-names-new-executive-to-gas-pipeline-team

Corrosion Mentor & Expert Jeff Didas Joins MATCOR

Jeff Didas
Jeff Didas Joins MATCOR

Doylestown, PA (April 24) – MATCOR, Inc. the trusted full-service provider of proprietary cathodic protection products, systems, and corrosion engineering solutions proudly announced on Corrosion Awareness Day that Jeffrey L. “Jeff” Didas joined the MATCOR Engineering team as Senior Corrosion Engineer.

Didas brings to MATCOR more than 38 years of experience in the corrosion industry, having worked for some of the world’s largest pipeline owner/operators and energy companies.

In the role of Senior Corrosion Engineer Jeff will report to Glenn Shreffler, MATCOR’s Executive Vice President and will be responsible for assisting the Engineering team on all aspects of corrosion control, and overseeing the pipeline integrity service offerings provided by MATCOR.

Shreffler said, “Jeff will provide corrosion engineering solutions to the most complex corrosion problems facing our clients around the world.”  He continued, “Jeff brings a wealth of skills and experiences that will benefit our clients and the entire MATCOR team, and that is priceless.”

Didas sits on the Board of Directors for NACE International and is recognized as the current Treasurer. He has been a member of NACE since January 1, 1975, and has an outstanding track record of leadership and volunteerism within the organization.

Didas has delivered many presentations and published several technical papers at NACE conferences as well as the Appalachian Underground Corrosion Short Course. In appreciation for his many years of commitment to NACE, he received the Distinguished Service Award in 2001.

Jeff Stello, MATCOR’s President and CEO said “We are thrilled to add someone like Jeff Didas to our Engineering team.  His skills, experiences and reputation are unmatched in our industry.  We are confident that Jeff will improve our ability to better serve our clients and to add value in many other ways such as helping to develop younger engineers and technicians on the MATCOR staff.”

Didas attended Thomas A. Edison State College in Trenton, NJ, where he received his BSET in electrical engineering. He acquired his ASEE in Electronics Technology from Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield Mass.  In addition, Didas is certified as a NACE Corrosion Specialist, Cathodic Protection Specialist, Coatings Specialist, Chemical Treatment Specialist and a Level 3 certified Corrosion Inspector and is an SSPC certified Protective Coatings Specialist.  Along with his full-time role at MATCOR and responsibilities at the NACE Board of Directors, Didas is also a NACE Cathodic Protection instructor.

Scotland’s Forth Bridge safety & corrosion tests to be less extensive

A £2.6 million ($4.1 million USD) contract awarded by the Forth Estuary Transport Authority yesterday will see eight sections of the suspension cables tested for corrosion to establish whether and when traffic restrictions may have to be imposed on the crossing.

The organization had originally planned to test twice the number of sections but said the cutbacks had been made after a 56% reduction in its capital budget over three years, which had nearly halved the contract’s value.

Previous tests conducted in 2004 and 2008 established that corrosion had caused a 10% reduction in strength in the cables, eventually leading the Scottish Government to go ahead with a £1.5 billion replacement crossing, due to be completed by 2016, in order to avoid any closure of the route.

Work on the third inspection will begin next spring, with data being available in early 2013.

Barry Colford, chief engineer and bridgemaster, said: “The condition of the main cables is the second-highest risk to the bridge after the condition of the main cable anchorages. We have already begun investigating the anchorages but this inspection of the main cables is also an essential project.

“Although the cost of the work has come down, the nature has not changed significantly and the inspection will still allow the cables’ strength to be evaluated.

But the cuts to the inspection program were criticized by opposition parties yesterday who warned that they could lead to further expenses.

SOURCE: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport-environment/forth-bridge-safety-test-to-be-less-extensive-1.1131949

Corrosion – Fatal Impact on Concrete Wall Flaw

A deficiency in the concrete wall construction of the basin at the Gatlinburg Wastewater Treatment Plant led to the basin wall collapsing, killing two employees in April, a report from the state issued Thursday says.

“Walls were cast in a manner that produced a cold joint between the cast wall which fell” and three interior intersecting walls, according to the report from the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA).

TOSHA announced in early October that it found no safety violations at the plant, and this week released a five-page report that was the basis for that finding. When TOSHA announced in early October there were no safety violations, it didn’t give a probable cause of the basin wall collapse.

The new report does. What its inspectors call a “cold smooth joint” led to leakage of acidic waste across the joint, and “as a result, corroded the rebar splice couplers over a number of years.”

The couplers were not believed to have failed at one time, but gradually over the life of the basin, the report said.

When the findings of no safety violations were announced earlier this month, Veolia spokeswoman Karole Colangelo said, “Although the findings from TOSHA reinforce our emphasis on employee safety, it does not dismiss the fact that two Veolia Water employees perished in this tragic accident, and company employees continue to mourn their deaths.”

“It was assumed the two operators were making adjustments to the effluent flow inside the equalization basin,” the report says. While the men were working, the wall collapsed and fell on the building in which they were working.

The collapse sent about 850,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into the Little Pigeon River and forced the city to pump more untreated water into the river until it could come up with a temporary solution a few days later.

According to the workers’ last journal entry at 5:30 a.m. that day, the basin contained 1.3 million gallons of water and was 85 percent full. The water level was recorded at 25.5 feet. The report says interviews with operators and plant officials show the average water level was 4-8 feet.

The plant is owned by the city but managed by Veolia Water North America Operating Services LLC. Veolia officials told the state inspectors that both Crowder Construction Co., that built the plant and Flynt Engineering Co., that designed it are out of business. The basin was finished in 1996.

TOSHA learned that after the basin was finished in 1996 the north wall had cracks and a lateral displacement/bowing of the wall and walkway. Veolia told the state that buttresses were installed that “corrected” the problems with the wall and walkway.

TOSHA noted that the flow control building where the workers were is still not accessible, but the state says “we have no probable reason to think that access to this area would reveal any additional information that would result in citation being issued to Veolia.”

The report says the contractor used “splicing couplers” instead of dowels, as required in the original drawings, noting that while that was a “deviation” from the design, it was probably not the cause of the collapse. The report did say that “formation of a cold joint resulted in accelerated corrosion of the couplers.”

TOSHA reviewed the original design of the basin and found the design of walls “adequate.”

SOURCE: http://themountainpress.com/view/full_story/16198627/article–Report–Wall-flaw-caused-accident-?instance=main_article_top_stories

MATCOR’s SPL Linear Anode Proves Ideal for Retrofit Project

MATCOR's SPL Linear Anode
MATCOR SPL–Anode is placed close to the piping to be protected, and operates at low current levels, reducing potential loss to nearby grounding systems

Arkema is a world class producer of industrial chemicals, but its King of Prussia, PA Research and Development facility looks more like a college campus building than your typical industrial facility.  And yet, like any industrial facility, the site has buried utility piping that is subject to external corrosion.  

When the facility experienced steam piping failures, they called in MATCOR to evaluate their corrosion risk and make suitable recommendations to prevent future leaks.

After a preliminary engineering investigation, MATCOR recommended installing our SPL-FBR linear anode.  The linear anode was ideally suited for this application because of limited site accessibility, the presence of nearby grounding, poor piping isolation, the mix of coated piping with bare steam piping, and the need for uniform current distribution along the high temperature bare steam piping.  The linear anode was installed in stages as Arkema had to excavate the steam piping in multiple locations for inspection and repairs.

MATCOR’s SPL–Anode is an ideal solution for many plant environment retrofit applications.

When placed parallel to plant piping, the SPL Anode can be installed with minimal excavation while assuring even current distribution along the entire piping route.  Unlike many point anode ground bed systems, the linear anode operates at relatively low current densities and is placed in close proximity to the piping to be protected.  This reduces potential losses to nearby grounding systems and eliminates the need for isolation of plant piping. This make the linear anode a great solution for many plant piping applications such as compressor stations, power plants, petrochemical facilities, and even campus facilities such as the Arkema’s King of Prussia R&D facility.

Pipeline to power the Olympics

RUSSIA — The recently commissioned Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi Pipeline will not only bring gas to the city of Sochi, Russia, but to the Olympics as well, as Sochi is transformed into a Winter Olympics Games host city and a mountain resort.

Up until recently, half of the Black Sea coast cities and town relied on either expensive LNG or the 30-year-old Maikop – Samurskaya – Sochi gas pipeline for their natural gas, with the latter often experiencing gas supply issues due to the complex geological conditions along the pipeline route.

In light of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics, to be hosted in Sochi, the Government of the Russian Federation decided to construct the Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi gas pipeline to enhance the reliability of the regional gas supplies, and deliver gas to the sports venues commissioned for the 2014 competitions.

In addition, the pipeline was also planned to assist in the development of Sochi as a mountain resort. Ensuring a reliable gas supply would allow health resorts to remain open all year round, attracting tourists in the autumn and winter seasons and creating permanent jobs for local residents.

The 171.6 km, 21 inch diameter pipeline, which was commissioned by Gazprom in June 2011, has an annual throughput capacity of 3.8 Bcm/a, which aims to ensure gas supply to Sochi, as well as to the Tuapse district of Krasnodar Krai.

With 90 per cent of the pipeline – or 159.5 km – located offshore, the pipeline route runs along the bottom of the Black Sea, approximately 4.5 km away from the coastal line in water depths of approximately 80 m, to the Kudepsta gas distribution station near Sochi. The pipeline is made of high-strength steel, with a wall thickness of 15 mm in the offshore section and 11.3 mm in the onshore section.

Gazprom began construction of the pipeline in September 2009, and made environmental safety a priority due to the fact that the pipeline – according to the company – ‘crosses the most climatically attractive and, therefore, the most cherished areas of [Russia] – the Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar Krai’.

Several steps were taken to reduce interference with the coastal flora and fauna. The most vital biocycles of the local fauna species were taken into account when the pipeline’s construction schedule was devised, and directional drilling was used instead of trenching for the construction of landfalls near the cities of Dzhubga, Novomikhailovsky, Tuapse and Kudepsta.

The decision to include an offshore section in the pipeline route has considerably minimised impact on industrial and agricultural industries, and forest lands, as well as specially protected natural reservations.

Cathodic protection was adopted to protect the pipeline, and precautionary measures were also taken to protect the pipeline in case of natural incident such as direct lightning strike and electromagnetic impact. In addition, the pipeline has been designed to withstand magnitude nine earthquakes, based on seismic survey data collected early on in the project.

SOURCE: http://pipelinesinternational.com/news/pipeline_to_power_the_olympics/

Aging U.S. 2 trestle gets needed corrosion repairs

With thousands of vehicle trips daily, U.S. 2 gets needed repairs

EVERETT (WA) — Concrete is falling off in chunks, rebar is rusting and thousands of people drive over the westbound U.S. 2 trestle every day.

While the girders on the trestle’s underbelly have been slowly deteriorating for more than 20 years, state transportation officials say there’s no doubt the bridge is safe for drivers. Repairs are being made this summer and fall.

About 37,000 vehicles per day use the trestle in one direction or the other.

“There’s no problem with people driving on the structure,” said Chad Brown, project engineer for the trestle repair. “The structure is safe.”

Workers are restoring the exposed rebar, replacing the concrete on the girders and sealing them to keep them waterproof. The repairs are expected to preserve the girders on the now 43-year-old span until 2026 or longer. The $8 million project began earlier this month and is expected to be finished in the early fall.

The roadway on the trestle is built atop girders made of concrete and rebar, running lengthwise with the roadway, sitting atop crossbeams that in turn sit on pillars. The eastbound half of the trestle was built with timber in the 1930s and rebuilt in sections in the 1990s, according to the state. The westbound side was built in 1968.

By 1987, crumbling began to show on the concrete beams on the underbelly of the westbound structure, and the bridge was declared “structurally deficient.” The term is a federal designation meaning that a bridge has a part or parts that will eventually need to be repaired, not that it is unsafe, according to the state. Washington currently has 143 bridges in this category, including seven in Snohomish County.

Under the state’s routine inspection program, bridges are examined every two years. Some with more structural issues are put on a yearly schedule, and the trestle has been inspected every year since 2003.

The section currently being repaired was done four years after the other section because of funding issues and environmental regulations involved in working over Deadwater Slough, officials said.

The current repairs are being done in the same manner as in 2007. The bridge at the far west end of the trestle, over the Snohomish River, is newer and won’t be repaired in this cycle.

Engineers are confident the moisture has not further penetrated the beams. So far, the farthest into any beam that weak concrete has been found is a couple of inches.

Traffic on the westbound trestle will be shut down for up to 65 nights through early October for the concrete and carbon-fiber mesh work. These phases have to be done when there’s no traffic on the road so vibrations won’t prevent the concrete from setting properly or keep the mesh from bonding to the concrete, engineers said.

The trestle was closed for three nights on June 9, 14 and 16 while two sections were repaired. It’s possible the work will take less than the 65 nights. The next closure is planned for July 12.

If the girders are not repaired, beams and the rebar would continue to deteriorate, and longer closures would be needed, engineers said.

Nancy Singer, a spokeswoman for the Federal Highway Administration, said federal engineers say the work being done on the trestle appears to be appropriate.

“State departments of transportation are the owners and operators of infrastructure and are in a position to select the best approach to addressing the needs of a bridge,” she said in an email.

“The U.S. Route 2 project that calls for replacing old cracking concrete, removing corrosion from the steel frame, and reinforcing the girders on the underside of the viaduct seems to be based on sound and established approaches to bridge repair and rehabilitation.”

SOURCE: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20110627/NEWS01/706279969

Gardiner structurally sound, experts say, after chunk smashes onto road

TORONTO: City crews will be examining sections of the Gardiner Expressway after a 4.5-kilogram chunk of concrete fell onto Lake Shore Blvd. W. earlier this week, hitting a guardrail and ricocheting into the road.

The slab, about four centimetres thick and over a meter long, was sloughed off the bottom of the elevated section, its steel reinforcing bars corroded by road salt.

No cars were hit and no one was injured. Two lanes of westbound traffic just east of Bathurst St. were temporarily closed.

The incident is the fourth in recent memory, but does not mean that drivers should steer clear of Lake Shore, city staff said.

“There really shouldn’t be any concern,” said Mike Laidlaw, Toronto’s acting manager of structures and expressways.

Aside from the dangers inherent in a chunk of concrete weighing almost as much as a bowling ball falling from the sky, the expressway itself is sound, experts say.

“The stuff on the outside, most of it could fall off without affecting the structural integrity,” said R. Doug Hooton, a civil engineering professor at the University of Toronto. “(The overpass) is not in danger of falling.”

Laidlaw said the city will be conducting extra inspections around the area. Toronto is also putting out a call for proposals from engineering firms for a complete inspection within two years.

City crews inspect the Gardiner yearly — “sounding” the concrete for unstable pieces and removing them with a hammer — and conduct visual inspections at least every six months.

“If they do see any areas of concern they’ll look after it immediately,” said Laidlaw.

In January 2007, a piece of concrete about the size of a basketball fell onto Lake Shore near York St. and narrowly missed hitting a car. A small piece fell near Spadina Ave. in February 1999 and near York St. in January 1997.

“It is a concern for anybody underneath of it,” said Laidlaw.

Hooton said the Gardiner was designed before Ontario began salting roads in the winter, so it wasn’t constructed to withstand the salt that seeps through the roadway and into the steel reinforcing bar.

The salt rusts the rebar which then expands, cracking the concrete and pushing the outer layer off. Repair work was done years ago to the road’s drainage system to prevent salt from seeping into the concrete.

“It’s not happening as much as it would have if they hadn’t done those repairs,” said Hooton.

Police said no one reported any damage to a vehicle and there were no injures.

By 3 p.m. Monday, city crews had cleared debris off the road and unblocked all westbound lanes on Lake Shore Blvd.

The incident called to mind a horrific accident in Quebec five years ago. Five people were killed when a 40-year-old Laval overpass fell onto a highway on Sept. 30, 2006, crushing several vehicles.

A year later, a commission report into the accident blamed shoddy workmanship, insufficient oversight and deficient maintenance.

SOURCE: http://www.thestar.com/news/transportation/article/1011934–gardiner-structurally-sound-experts-say-after-chunk-smashes-onto-road?bn=1