Development of Shale Play Slows, but Other Pipeline Work Continues

by Luke Jones  on Monday, May. 27, 2013 12:00 am  

Finally, the pipes are lowered into the trenches with special machines called “sidebooms.” Usually the pipes are rigorously tested before the trenches are filled in and the area restored.

Pipe diameter varies depending on what’s carried. According to the Natural Gas Supply Association, gas pipes can be anywhere from 6 to 48 inches in diameter.

Lidiak said oil pipes range in size from 2 inches to 42 inches in diameter. A pipe pumping 800 barrels per day of crude oil would be 30 inches or more in diameter.

Fontenot at Butch Crain Construction said building a 5-mile, 16-inch diameter steel pipeline would take his company between three and four months, from the start of digging to filling in the trench and restoring the area.

A well-maintained oil or gas line can last a very long time, Lidiak said.

“It’s just like large bridges or other public works projects,” he said. “They’ve been around for years, and you don’t think twice about driving over them.”



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