TD Williamson crews isolated a ruptured 14-inch natural gas liquids pipeline while it continued to flare off, enabling repairs while the system remained in service and creating the conditions for the fire to extinguish itself.
The west Texas pipeline exploded after it was hit by a third-party contractor excavating the right-of-way nearby.
The explosion and massive fire that followed, which shot flames 300 feet into the air, injured four people, one critically, and destroyed the trencher and all other equipment within a 300-yard radius.
The operator moved quickly to reroute product at a drastically lower flow rate. Within hours of the line strike, crews began mobilising equipment and personnel to the site, including eight hot tapping and plugging (HT&P) technicians who arrived from multiple service centres in Texas, Oklahoma and California to provide around-the-clock coverage.
The team performed a double STOPPLE operation to isolate the affected section. STOPPLE plugging machines have safely and reliably isolated pressurised sections of pipeline without shutdown or interruption of service for more than 60 years.
Charles Parrish, the firm’s technical sales representative, West Region, Texas and New Mexico, said: “Everyone came together so efficiently that in less than six hours after the operator’s initial call the fittings were out the door. And it took less than one day on the job site to solve our customer’s problem, safely and successfully.”
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