Tips for removing debris from a pipe

4 July 2018 by Aubin Group

The build up of debris in pipelines can cause significant integrity, operational and safety issues. As part of ongoing maintenance it is important to ensure that it -  is removed regularly. Effective debris removal can be hugely beneficial, therefore it is crucial to get it right, creating significant cost advantages and maximising flow.


Things to remember

Most debris is found in the lower section of the pipeline; therefore it is essential that the cleaning method used treats the entire pipe.


The use of conventional pigs can cause unmoved solids to break down into smaller particles, which can create issues elsewhere in the system, for example in meters and filters.  Therefore it’s critical to ensure that all debris is removed in the pigging process.


Pipeline Gels

  • Pipeline gels – to reduce the number of pig runs, pipeline gels applied properly can be very effective at removing debris
  • Safety – any cleaner selected should be safe for people and the environment
  • Volume – this must be enough to ensure debris is kept in suspension and not allowed to settle before being removed from the pipeline
  • Treatment design – proper treatment design taking into account the fluid viscosity, pump rate and pipeline dimensions is required to maximise cleaning performance


Irrespective of whatever method is used, one of the biggest challenges to removing debris can be its detection.


How Aubin can assist you

Aubin is the market leader in the development and supply of pipeline materials technologies for use in oil, water and gas pipelines and in producing novel gel technologies for pigging. 


Our flexible elastic pigs overcome the challenges presented by "unpiggable" onshore and offshore pipelines. With an operating temperature range of -25 and 140°C, EVO-Pigs can be propelled through the pipeline by gas or liquids and do not require pig launchers or receivers, providing a cost-effective, easy-to-deploy and environmentally responsible solution for pipeline maintenance.


Proven performance

Aubin’s EVO-Pig was recently used in a pipeline dewatering project for an operator in the North Sea.


The challenge presented was that the company could not use a conventional pig as there was a 10 to 6inch reduction in the manifold header. This was the perfect opportunity for a gel pig to be used as it can navigate diameter reductions due to its properties.


Aubin used a high-pressure canister, driven with nitrogen, to launch the EVO-Pig into a 2inch subsea check valve. The gel pig pushed dyed glycol/ water, 12km at 0.25-0.5m2. On completion, the pipeline dewatering projected was deemed a complete success by the operator -thanks to Aubin’s EVO-Pig.  


At Aubin, we relish all applications both routine and challenging, from pipeline dewatering, to pigging where there is limited access or changes in pipeline diameter. Get in touch to solve your debris clearing problems

Topics: Pipelines, debris removal

Get in touch with the team