Transneft East refines its environmental and industrial safety.
Early in March, Transneft East has completed examination of the ESPO-1 underwater crossings in Yakutia and the Amur River basin on the Lena, Aldan and Gilyuy Rivers. The company performs works of that kind on a regular basis, since they are part of the environmental and industrial safety corporate policy.
Among the top priorities of Transneft East is the conservation of unique nature of Siberia and the Russian Far East.
The company’s oil pipelines run through the territory of four regions: Irkutsk and Amur Regions, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Krasnoyarsk Territory, along the most challenging climatic and seismic areas, crossing several rivers and permafrost terrain. In addition to the ESPO-1, Transneft East operates the Omsk – Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk – Irkutsk, Kuyumba – Tayshet and Skovorodino – Mohe oil pipelines. To ensure the uninterrupted operation and safety of such an extensive and sophisticated asset, the company keeps improving its facilities and line monitoring system, systematically inspecting the condition of pipelines and equipment.
One of the applied methods is the in-line inspection. It is conducted using special inspection devices developed by Transneft Diascan. The inspection tool allows to have a detailed view of the pipe’s inner surface, detecting even minor or covert defects such as cracks, buckles and weld defects.
A special attention is paid to the inspection of underwater crossings. The Aldan and Lena Rivers in Yakutia are claimed to be extremely challenging barriers. The pipeline’s underwater sections are the longest here, while the midstream speed of those rivers is high. Outdoor air temperatures often drop to extremely low scale points.
“In-line inspection requires major preparations. The oil pipeline’s inner walls are first cleansed from asphalt-paraffin deposits. To remove them, various special-purpose pipeline inspection gauges are used. Then smart ultrasonic or magnetic tools are inserted into the pipe through special stationary devices called pipeline clean-up and inspection tool traps. The tool locks onto the oil pipeline’s exact coordinates and starts moving and fixing all detected defects and inconsistencies of the pipeline,” explains Head of the Operational Section Aleksandr Rybkin.
Last year, Transneft East inspected more than 4,000 km of oil pipelines in the regions of its operations: overall, the company’s specialists examined 40 sections in the line part from May to November. The recently received conclusions following the examination of the underwater crossings confirmed their compliance with the safe operation requirements.
This year, as per the in-line inspection schedule, the company will have inspected more than 4,000 km of the OTP, including 13 underwater crossings over large Siberian rivers to the total length of more than 40 km.
“The hi-tech methods of oil pipeline monitoring are complemented with a complex programme aimed at reducing the environmental footprint,” notes Deputy Head of the Division for Environmental Safety and Rational Nature Management Aleksandr Systerov. “This year we’ll invest about RUB 46 million in the development of an environment conservation system in the territories of our operation.” This means the maintenance of environmental analysis laboratories which test samples of the atmospheric air in sanitary protection zones, as well as samples of subsurface and surface waters on a daily basis, in addition to effluent treatment and other endeavours. •
For more than 10 years, Transneft East has been planting many thousands of juvenile fish of prime fish species in the rivers of Siberia and the Russian Far East, thereby making up for the environmental impact upon the water bio resources during the works on underwater crossings. The company is also actively involved in compensatory forest planting. Last year, forest replantation was done on 83 hectares in Irkutsk Region; this year, young trees will be planted on another 55 hectares. More than 250,000 young pine-trees will find their new home in the Lensk forestry of Yakutia.
“We calculate and try to minimise all kinds of environmental risks, from facilities design to their operation. We implement innovations, motivated by the lean consumption of materials and equipment, as well as reduce electric energy consumption. The ultimate goal of these activities is to ensure a high level of environmental and industrial safety at our facilities,” highlighted Aleksandr Puzikov, Director General of Transneft East.