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Transneft Siberia Completes Geomonitoring of Zapolyarye – Purpe OTP Facilities

Date of publication: 01 June 2021

Transneft Siberia has completed the spring cycle of geotechnical monitoring of the Zapolyarye – Purpe oil trunk pipeline’s (OTP) facilities. Specialists measured the temperature of perennially frozen soils using 4.5 thou thermometric wells, carried out in-line inspection of the 484 km long oil pipeline to determine its spatial position, arranged control of the horizontal location and elevation of the pipeline and oil pumping stations facilities.

The oil pipeline corridor crosses areas of perennially frozen ground, where dangerous geological processes associated with thawing, erosion and displacement develop. To monitor these processes affecting the OTP safe operation, a special system of measures, including technical diagnostics of the oil pipeline, analysis of its spatial position and parameters characterising geocryological conditions of the pipe, was developed.

Soil heat stabilisers are used to ensure that low ground temperatures are maintained; their total number at the OTP and onsite facilities is more than 125,000. Heat stabilisers are built into pipeline supports and artificially cool the ground. At sections where the oil pipeline runs underground (about 200 km) devices are installed to determine the height of the oil pipeline underground. 677 similar devices are installed along the underground part of the trunk pipeline. Their flat surface allows to carry out geodetic measurements of the oil pipeline height position underground using traditional geodetic methods and from an aircraft using airborne laser scanning and digital aerial photography equipment.

During the summer, an aerial corridor survey using innovative airborne laser scanning technology and ultra-high resolution digital aerial photography is scheduled.

These measures allow to determine the spatial position of the pipeline with high accuracy, to calibrate calculation models on the basis of natural data and, accordingly, to reduce the risks of deformation of the pipeline. Moreover, compared to similar traditional methods, the effectiveness of such a monitoring system can reduce operating costs more than four times.

The goal of the work is to improve technical reliability and ensure safe operation of the line and oil pumping stations facilities of the Zapolyarye – Purpe OTP in accordance with industrial and environmental safety requirements of Transneft Siberia.

The Zapolyarye – Purpe oil pipeline is an innovative project implemented using the latest construction methods and innovative technologies, taking into account oil transportation conditions and difficult engineering and geological area. The safety and reliability margin of the equipment and structures, which was built into the design, currently ensures the technical reliability and safe operation of the trunk pipeline infrastructure facilities.