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Trenchless pipelines are not always a solution to land problems

Trenchless pipelines are not always a solution to land problems

Amit Gupta, CEO, Pipelines and Terminals, Essar Projects, says trenchless technology has only proved cost-effective selectively.

What are the perils of having a pipeline exposed to tampering and pilferage?
An exposed pipeline encou­nters the following hurdles:

  • There is a high probability of coating damage which would consequently accelerate the corrosion rate and subsequently reduce the life of metal.
  • There may be a chance of physical damage to pipe on exposed metal surface which would significantly incr­ease the risk of pipe getting burst at such locations.
  • Any utility laid along with the pipeline may get stolen, which would shut down the remote operation and moni­toring system of the pipeline.

Do you believe trenchless pipelines can be a solution to land problems in pipelines?
Trenchless pipelines cannot be a solution or an alter­native to skip land problems in pipelines. Laying of pipelines with trenchless technology also requires land for string pre­paration and equipment set up.

Basic use of various trenchless methods is for laying of pipeline in areas as below:

  • Water bodies-perennial rivers, huge canals, longer sec­tion of water bodies etc which otherwise cannot be crossed by conventional open cut methods.
  • Roads and highways where continuous heavy vehicular movement cannot be obstructed.
  • Urban areas wherein habitation is heavy and accessibility is a big constraint.
  • Drain systems which cannot be interrupted.
  • Shorter length of pipeline section.

For cross country pipelines (more than 50 km), con­ventional method of excavation and backfilling is the most economic method for laying. However, for city pipelines this method can be suitably adopted.

Are trenchless pipelines cost-effective?
The trenchless technology is an option used for a small length of pipeline section wherein accessibility comes at a high premium cost. The trenchless technology is specialised and expensive method adopted suitably at selected locations only. The cost effectiveness of this technology can be obt­ained only at suitable locations.

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