How Safe are your Pipelines?

Akin Adebiyi – Coordinators Geophysics, Fundamental Integrated Site Appraisal Services (FISAS) Limited, Abuja

Pipelines are series of pipes laid for the transportation of liquid or gas from source to different endpoints. Most of these pipelines are made from steel and are usually buried. Over the years, pipeline leakages have caused heavy environmental damage and economic loss due to corrosion, construction defects, land movement and other damages caused by digging often not related to pipeline activity.

Corrosion ( deterioration and loss of a material and its critical properties due to chemical, electrochemical and other reactions of the exposed material surface with the surrounding environment) is the main cause of pipeline incident across the world.

The soil characteristics/environment is a key factor in pipeline corrosion. Hence, soil corrosivity should be considered as one of the factors in the design and maintenance of pipeline to prevent failure. The service life of the pipeline may be severely overestimated and public safety may be at risk if soil corrosivity is ignored or not well understood. The commonly used parameters for evaluating the corrosivity of soil is soil electrical resistivity.

Soil corrosivity information/data enables engineers to design the appropriate protection and maintenance schedule for buried pipeline

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