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Drying pipelines

New pipelines have to be dried and made inert before hydrocarbon gas or liquid can be transported. An usual method of drying is blowing dry air through the pipeline. A very low dewpoint of the air is not required as a major part of the water vapour carrying capacity of the air will be created by the expansion of the air as it flows along the internal pipelinewall what need to be dried. Test water is then already removed from the pipeline by the use of separation pigs. For example at an ambient temperature of !"#$ the water carrying %removal& capacity of air dried to a dewpoint of '("#$ is less than ) * more than air dried to '+"#$. The removal capacity of dried air to a dewpoint of ',"#$ is less than + * more than air dried to a dewpoint of '("#$. At , bara air inlet pressure- more than half the water carrying %removal& capacity comes from the expansion of the air to atmospheric pressure at the outlet. .t should be noted that the dewpoint of the air flowing out of the pipeline is not a measure of the dewpoint of the air in the pipeline when the inlet pressure is much higher than the outlet pressure. After drying with air the pipeline should be purged and filled with nitrogen to prevent the formation of explosive mixtures with hydrocarbon gas. /hen the purging with nitrogen is done at low flow and low inlet pressure %! barg or lower&- it can also be chec0ed whether the drying is completed and if it is safe to commission the pipeline because the gas flowing out of the pipeline %nitrogen& should be chec0ed on both water dewpoint and on oxygen content. .t is a rule of the tumb that for drying of a pipeline you need 1 ("" times of volume to dry. $ontents of a pipe line of !2 mile and a diameter of !"3 is 1 !,"" m(- which is ("" multiplied by !,"" is 1 !" mmscf. /e propose the following First step drying the pipeline the 4"" Nm(5h dried air should be used to dry the pipeline to a dewpoint of approx. '+6#$. This will ta0e approx. (6 hours 7econd step drying the pipeline with nitrogen from the generator that produces ("2 Nm(5h with a dewpoint of ',"#$ at 8 barg can dry the pipeline further. .t reaches a dewpoint of ' 6(#$ when the pressure in the pipeline is at less than ! barg or to a dewpoint of '66#$ when it remains below ".6 barg and '68#$ at "." barg. 9urging the pipeline with 6 times its volume will usually be sufficient to reach safe oxygen levels. /ith a nitrogen generator of (42 Nm(5h the second step drying and purging can be done in less than +" hours for the pipeline above. /hen the pipeline is not immediately commissioned it is recommended to leave it filled with dry nitrogen at a pressures above atmospheric to prevent the ingress of oxygen and water vapor %conservation of the pipeline&. The calculated time required to dry- purge and conserve a !2:mile section of a !"; pipeline with the N+ generator is approx. 6" hours. The 6" hours is excluding the time for launching and receiving pigs during drying and purging. <utside conditions may have impact on the results i.e. pipeline configuration- ambient conditions- etc. The price of a portable nitrogen pac0age is 1 =uro (""."""-::. The largest pac0age we have in our programme is a unit with +("" Nm(5hr dry air and !""" Nm(5hr nitrogen which would reduce time less than +, hours. Also smaller types are available. Nitrogen purity considered: 95 %.