Driver Pipeline’s Increasing Role In Pipeline Inspection And Safety

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Dan Richardson, Director , Business Development, Driver Pipeline

For decades, the United States has ridden the resource transportation wave that pipeliners helped to create. Through boom and bust, America’s pipeliners and pipeline companies have laid thousands of miles of pipe and made millions of welds. And with each new discovery there is more work to be done.

However, like everything else, America’s pipelines are aging, but because our pipelines are too important to fail, companies like Driver Pipeline, headquartered in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, have been charged with the task of assuring the safety of these pipelines for their customers.  It’s called integrity work, for obvious reasons, and it has become some of the most important pipeline work being done across the country.

Every five or ten years, depending on the pressure and location, every pipeline requires an integrity check for corrosion and anomalies such as dents, wall thickness reductions and degradation of welds. The work is not easy, most of the time the pipe has been buried in the ground for decades. There are literally tens of thousands of miles of pipe running in, around, and thru every city in America and every inch must be tested.

Driver Pipeline is playing an important role in this work. From the firm’s new 30-acre headquarters, with its 15,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art fabrication shop, Shop Superintendent Steve Wallace and his team of fabricators build the custom launchers and receivers that provide the entry point for testing, as well as the measuring and regulating stations that complete the integrity requirements.

It’s hard work that requires extraordinary skill, as well as very specialized equipment and people. However, the benefits of a large, state-of-the-art facility are just as extraordinary and include tremendous gains in productivity. Time is money, as they say, and the ability to create large-scale fabrication work in a controlled environment is a huge advantage. To further leverage this advantage, Driver Pipeline has also invested in plasma cutters, MIG and TIG machines, new cranes and other machinery designed to maximize productivity.

With this kind of size and technology advantage, Driver’s fabrication team regularly turns out 4- through 36-inch launcher/ receiver sets, positive displacement, rotary and turbine meter stations, skid-mounted metering and pressure regulating stations and production manifolds. The fabrication shop performs work for both the distribution and transmission segments of the industry and builds many small, freestanding stations in addition to skid-mounted units. The company also has the equipment and personnel capabilities to perform hydrostatic and nitrogen testing, plus sandblasting, priming and painting onsite so that everything is ready for installation in the field.

Clearly, it is an advantage to be able to fabricate whatever is needed in advance and store the units at a secure location. Concurrently, having a large facility allows fabrication teams to build several units at the same time lowering the cost per unit and increasing the availability of whatever the customer’s fabrication requirements may be.

Additionally, the increase in productivity has proven to be an asset for both Quality Assurance and Quality Control. Striving for perfection, Driver’s QA/QC program ensures that the assemblies are in complete conformance to the customers’ requirements and standards, as well as to State and Federal regulations.