Use of pipes

By the beginning of 2010 the prices for pipe grew up to 36 thousands rubles for a ton. One of the reasons is the increase in the export supply of metal products; consequently, plants have raised released prices. At the same time, the price for scrap is up to 12 thousands rubles for a ton.

Construction specialists are interested in previously used pipe due to its low price in the first place. This pipe is several times cheaper than a new one and often is highly competitive in quality. Repeated use of previously used pipe sets huge savings.

If there is a demand, there is an offer. The availability of previously used pipes fit for secondary usage is explained by the fact that some pipeworks are dismantled long time before such 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 way 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 pipe is that the renovating production of such pipes and the products themselves are not certified. Raw materials come to this market either without documents or with fake documents. Companies stating that used pipes are certified actually substitute the meaning/notion of certification offering some kind of a paper instead the certificate which proves that a previously used pipe is the previously used pipe.

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 a furnace with money. Between “not allowed” and “needed” 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 development of used pipes 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).

Here is, for example, a small extract from the statement of Moscow State Energy Supervision regarding prohibition to perform repair of a heat pipeline:

1. Work-permit for work performance is not available;

2. Neither Work Superintendent nor site supervisor presented at site;

3. Personnel is not certified in accordance with working regulations: Regulations for technical maintenance, Safety Regulations, Preventative Firefighting regulations and ; knowledge assessment certificates are absent and a number of other comments

Typical violations of technology are observed almost at all inspected sites:

1. Pipeline 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.

3. 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 you can see it is 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 and high prices for the pipes leaves construction specialist 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 (as per Rosstroy (year of 2007) utility systems of Russian are worn out for 65 %).

Let us highlight 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. This is not quite correct. Capacity of any pipe to hold the pressure depends not only from the method used to fabricate this pipe or the material strength, but also from pipe wall thickness. If material is strong, then You can take a pipe with thinner walls to save money on material. On the other hand, thicker walls lower the internal stress. Accordingly, a pipe is able to hold high pressure. If a pipe is used in the pipeline with lower pressure, than thickness of its wall will be thinner as per the project.

On the other hand, 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 pipe fabrication process and application of appropriate steels.

There 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 the 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 uncontrolled impurities, low-alloyed elements and etc have been gradually accumulating in scrap over a number of years.

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. We 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 3 times cheaper.

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