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Dan Rhys, MEng., PhD., SUEZ Advanced Solutions UK Ltd., explains the process of Ice Pigging for the oil and gas industry for World Pipelines magazine.
Ice Pigging as an alternative to traditional pigging methods for the oil and gas industry is developing and due to its nature and composition, has seen its fair share of successes.
“Ice Pigging slurry flows like a liquid and cleans like a solid”, writes Dan Rhys, R&D and Equipment Manager of SUEZ Advanced Solutions UK for the September issue of World Pipelines. The properties of the slurry allow it to flow through dual and multi-diameter pipes without the risk of becoming stuck or damaging the pipe walls – something commonly found in the oil and gas industry today.
The ice slurry's cleaning efficiencies are heavily reliant on the ice fraction (solids fraction), which help to lift and entrain debris from the pipe wall in a non-intrusive manner.
A freezing point depressant (FPD) is used to prevent the ice from coagulating and forming one big block and depending on what's in the pipe, can vary, although salt is usually used.
The oil and gas industry harbors many challenges with problematic deposits and pipe topologies that are often seen as unpiggable but that with the use of an ice pig, were overcome.