With an emphasis on safety, efficiency and project management, Manhattan Mechanical’s team of multi-skilled craftsmen completed an upgrade to one of the largest petroleum pipelines in the United States, despite an unexpected challenge along the way.
Location: East Chicago, IN.
Timeframe: Six days
With approximately 6,000 miles of pipeline, one of the nation’s largest independent liquid petroleum products pipeline operators knows it must maintain those lines with the highest quality and efficiency to properly serve its customers. Focusing primarily on transportation, storage, processing and marketing of liquid petroleum products, a terminal in East Chicago began actively researching ways to increase productivity. Upgrading its existing pipelines was, strategically, the logical next step.
In the spring of 2020, this pipeline operator upgraded piping and installed a larger pump to transport a higher volume of product to other stations. Although its pipelines had been hydro-tested in years past, the pressure they could withstand was capped at a certain amount, based on the specifications of the existing piping. That, unfortunately, restricted the pipeline’s output.
To overcome this problem, the petroleum company went on a hunt to locate a company willing to take on this large-scale upgrade project, focusing on safety and efficiency without sacrificing quality. This work would require a shutdown of the pipeline, directly impacting service to existing customers. Both revenue and reputation were on the line.
Who better to take on the challenge than Manhattan Mechanical Services’ highly trained team of multi-skilled craftsmen?
- Exceptional safety standards and multi-skilled craftsmen enable increased safety
The Manhattan Mechanical team had to clear the lines to weld the pipeline safely and execute the project effectively. Upon removing the spool piece before clearing the line, the team quickly identified an issue: a deformity in the spool.
With time of the essence, the petroleum company asked Manhattan Mechanical if it was possible to rebuild a new spool piece. Without hesitation, Manhattan Mechanical agreed to do so.
To clear the line, they placed a five-pound, pipeline-intervention gauge, or a “pig,” within the line, followed by air pressurization. Ten inches in diameter, the pig used its sponge-like consistency to sweep the line, pushing any debris out of the pipe approximately 2,000 feet away.
The next step: Replace the existing Class 150-pound flanges with Class 300-pound flanges. The latter can withstand more pressure, increasing the line’s flow rate.
After installation, 3,168 feet of the underground piping was then hydro-tested with approximately 15,000 gallons of water for eight hours at 650 pounds per square inch (psi). This ensured that the pipeline could handle above the maximum operating pressure. In addition, this testing can identify any flaws in the line should it encounter an upset in the system.
The piping passed the hydro-test with flying colors.
According to Manhattan Mechanical capital superintendent Will Jarrett, the large scope of work this company routinely completes is not common among mechanical contractors.
“Our team works in refineries and chemical plants, and conducts DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) work,” says Jarrett, explaining what makes Manhattan Mechanical unique. “I don’t know many other contractors that operate in all those areas.”
From setting up frac tanks and blinding the pipelines, to digging trenches and welding, Manhattan Mechanical’s team of multi-skilled craftsmen accomplished the job from start to finish. For outside help, the company used only an NDE (Non-Destructive Examination) provider, plus special contractors for the x-ray and hydro-test services.
With Manhattan Mechanical’s team of six highly trained, multi-skilled workers, the project was completed within six days — four days earlier than the projected time frame — with no rework, and no failed or rejected welds.