Where it is used

How did previously used pipes appear on our market?

Not that long ago (about 10 year ago) nobody has even a thought to excavate old pipes to treat them for reuse. The development of a new business is caused by the fact that prices for ferrous metals grew up very rapidly. Now the price for one ton of a big diameter steel pipe is 40-50 thousand rubles or higher. It turns out that one Kamaz truck can be loaded with pipes at the overall cost of two automobiles “Ford Focus” assembled in Russia. One 11 meters big diameter pipe costs several thousands c.u.! For the four years – from 2003 to 2007, steel pipes went up in prices for more than three times.

First of all, used pipes attract construction specialists due to their low prices. It is several times cheaper and mostly as good as a new pipe. The repeated use of previously used pipes ensures great savings. The availability of previously used pipes that fit for secondary usage is explained by the fact that some pipeworks are dismantled long time before these pipes deplete their own recourses.

Russia is a country of pipelines. There is a vast spreading (over 200 thousands km) of main oil & gas pipelines requiring regular removals (reinstallations) – this is the main regular resource of high quality raw materials for the used pipe market. Strict monitoring of pipelines’ conditions allows to reveal weak sections prior to any failure. Such pipes are not patched but mandatory replaced with new solid sections. Often main pipelines are brought out of service due to economic reasons.

General economic recession has led to closure of many productions, construction objects etc. Dismantling of decommissioned industrial pipelines of various purposes is another channel to bring in previously used pipes of good quality to our markets.

A powerful system of reclamation is now useless. Most of the reclaimed pipes are good for scrap only, but partly such pipes are used in national economy (as piles, casings, gutters and other non-critical structures).

Major sources of stale pipes are non-sellers of various companies and Government reserves.

The problem of further usage of renovated previously used pipes is that the renovating production of such pipes and the products themselves are not certified.

Previously used pipes should not be used in most of the cases when it comes to critical structures. At the same time, there are many examples when use of a new pipe instead of a cheap previously used one at least is not reasonable. Why would You cut a new pipe to make channels for roadside gutters? Hammering piles made of new pipes into the ground is the same as firing furnace with money. Between “not allowed” and “needed” there is a vast field where previously used pipe can be applied. This is a part of the market where the interests of companies trading with new and used metal products are intersecting.

Companies selling new metal products are highly not interested in the development of used pipe market. The main argument is that there are many accidents occurring due to usage of preciously used metal products instead of brand new ones. In order to understand that it is a complete nonsense it is enough to review the statistics of accidents occurred at different pipelines and analyze the root causes (this information is available in the Internet).

Typical violations of technology can be observed almost at all inspected sites:

1. Pipelines are not prepared for application of anticorrosion protection;

2. The applied coating does not cover all the pipe body, and thickness of the applied coating ranges between 40-50 mk whilst it must be 80-140 mk. Heat insulation thickness does not comply with SNiP requirements.

Inspectors of Moscow State Energy Supervision have audited a number of contractor organizations to find out multiple violations of norms/standards and requirements.

During trenchless utility pipes laying the most common comments are the following:

1. Partial lack of sand bottoming in the trench during laying of pipes insulated with polyurethane foam.

2. Backfilling soil contains rocks and clods/clumps

3. Weld joints are poorly handled

As we can see it is a case of a human factor. Service life period of pipelines installed with SNiP violations is reduced for 8-10 times.

The current cost situation existing on the market of new metal products due to high prices for the pipes leaves construction specialists without any other choice but to go to the market of previously used pipes. What can utility providers do in provincial towns? There is no money and the main lines are worn to their limit.

Please note one common misconception. Usually a line of reasoning looks like this: If a pipe has been operating in a 75 apm gas pipeline then this pipe will surely operate in a heat pipeline with lower pressure of 16 apm. It is completely justified when less critical structures utilize header pipes previously used and initially intended to be operated in severe conditions under high pressure. High degree of safety is reached by the highest quality of a pipe fabrication process and application of appropriate steels.

There are other reasons in the favor of using previously used pipe.

For example, corrosion of pipes usually has local nature. This fact is explained by non-metallic inclusions which presence is not regulated. If a pipe didn’t start to severely corrode during the first years of its operation there are very good chances that it will serve for another long time. The recent study shows that in terms of corrosion steel manufactured 20-30 years ago is much better than nowadays steel! This is due to the changes introduced to steelmaking technologies. Also due to the fact that over a number of years uncontrolled impurities, low-alloyed elements and etc have been gradually accumulating in scrap.

The use of pipe in construction sphere and other industrial activities is regulated by many regulatory documents: SNiP, Safety Regulations (SR) and even SanPin (sanitary norms and regulations) when it comes to pipelines used for portable water. Thus, previously used pipes shall be utilized with caution. Pipes that had been used for crude oil are not expected to be suitable for portable water. It will surely lead to consequences.

Field of application of previously used pipe is determined by the quality of such pipe. LLC “Bashkir Pipe Company” having their own restoration production is able to supply high quality pipe with mechanically cut facets. Customer-oriented quality of our products does not differ from the quality of stale (new) pipe but our prices are significantly cheaper.

A growing number of both small and sufficiently large companies in Russia utilize previously used pipes in their works to continuously assure themselves that the choice they have made was correct. And this is reasonable: why would You pay more if the modern technologies can completely renovate pipes that have been already utilized to make them fully usable again. In our renovation workshops a renovated pipe undergoes a strict quality control. Previously used pipes are indispensable to serve as supports, posts, piles and are used in production structures, pit framework, intra-port structures, during aspiration of facilities and road construction etc. And, renovated pipes of former gas main lines can be successfully used for waterlines, force mains with pressure much lower in comparison to gas lines; as well as for construction drainage and sewer lines.

Besides, pipes are often dismantled long before the expiration of their working service; various main pipelines are brought out of service due to economic reasons.

Technological process of renovation of previously used pipe in its initial stage involves removal of insulation and cleaning of internal and external surfaces of a pipe removing various contaminations (corrosion products, scales, mineral and biological deposits, old paint coatings)

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