By William G. Beazley, PE, PhD
Oil and Gas Pipeline Field Welding Practices were reviewed at a Joint Committee meeting on January 25, 2019, in San Antonio, Texas.. The meeting drew over 200 members and visitors from owner/operators, fabricators, pipe manufacturers, contractors and inspectors. The attendance reflects the rising interest in pipelines in US, the Americas and elsewhere. The meeting was sponsored by American Petroleum Institute (API) in association with the American Gas Association (AGA).
Much of the committee work was dedicated to updating API RP 1107 - Pipeline Maintenance Welding. The updates are to:
- Radiographic Testing
- Mechanized Welding
- Non-Destructive Testing
- In-Service Welding
The updates incorporated the latest information on field failures and fracture mechanics research. Fracture mechanics in pipelaying offshore using Reeling techniques, which are assessed using Engineering Criticality Assessment (ECA) criteria.
Pipelines are joined and repaired in the field. The pipe and its weld practices reflect the extra toughness of the materials and extreme environments they are subject to.
Pipelines are suddenly more important than ever, with stranded hydrocarbon deposits in Canada, distributed shale wells in the US and aging pipe lines in the US Gulf of Mexico. Couple that with the current concerns about consequences of pipeline failure. Attention to good practices for joining and repair welding is rising.