Pipelines are by far the safest and most efficient way to transport petroleum products. When compared to truck transport, moving jet fuel and other liquids by pipeline not only results in far less accidents and injuries, but also dramatically reduces all carbon dioxide, NOx, and particulate emissions. Please visit Pipeline 101 for detailed explanations, graphics, and insights on how pipelines operate.
A key aspect of how our pipelines operate safely is our Operations Control Systems. Wickland’s state-of-the-art control systems allow us to monitor our pipelines 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Operations Control Systems monitor everything from the flow rate, to pipeline pressure, to the opening and closing of valves, and are able to immediately respond and make appropriate changes to abnormal conditions. The Controller on duty is alerted to changes in the pipeline operations, which allows him to respond quickly should it be required. Data is continuously received from meter stations located on the pipeline system for real time monitoring and reporting.
In-line inspections enable us to identify any potential maintenance and can prevent problems from occurring. These inspections are performed by tools called “smart pigs”. The tools are loaded into the pipeline and are carried through the line by the flow of product. The purpose of running a tool is to measure restrictions and deformations and to detect metal loss along the length of the pipeline. The tools have on-board odometers to pinpoint where there may be a problem with the pipeline. If something is identified, quite often there may not be a problem now, but if left undetected it could pose a problem in the future. By performing these inspections on a regular basis, pipelines will continue to operate safely.
A “Smart Pig”
A hydrostatic test involves filling a portion of the pipeline with water, and using pumps to add additional water in order to pressure test the pipeline for a specified period of time. Hydrostatic testing is used to strength test new pipe at the completion of pipeline installation in the field prior to placing the line in service. The purpose of a hydrostatic test is to test the integrity of the pipeline under environmentally safe conditions and to ensure the safe operation of the pipeline, both of which benefits us, the public, and the environment.
Wickland Pipelines LLC is responsible for the safety and reliability of our own pipeline systems while working directly with federal and state regulators who oversee our compliance with a host of regulatory requirements. Almost all aspects of the pipeline business and pipeline operations are regulated. The safety aspects of our pipeline operations are audited and inspected frequently by the California Office of State Fire Marshall in cooperation with the federal Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. When new pipelines are being considered, we must work with both state and federal permitting agencies, which are responsible for protecting the public and the environment.