T.D. Williamson SA (TDW), a leading supplier of pipeline services and equipment, announced that it performed its first series of hot tap operations using specialist high temperature hot tapping equipment in Europe. The operations took place in The Netherlands at the Rotterdam Refinery, and were associated with a project that required a tie-in to a high pressure steam line.
Refinery operates while line prepared for connection
Hot tapping is a procedure for cutting or drilling an opening into a pipeline that is carrying product under pressure. It allows access to the inside of an operating pipeline without shutting it down or spilling the product. The TDW team of six technicians from Herentals, Belgium, carried out 10 hot tap procedures, five of which were “high temperature” hot taps. Using its Model 760 high temperature tapping machine, which is designed to perform at temperatures of up to 700°C and pressures up to 100 bar, TDW successfully completed all hot tap interventions in 10 days.
Of particular note is that the tapping operations were carried out with the high temperature hot tapping machine positioned upside down. This was necessary to prevent debris from falling into the pipe during the tapping process. TDW also modified the pilots so that the coupons would be safely caught after they were cut. This approach proved to be successful, with TDW completing the five high temperature hot taps on the steam line at 40 bar and 400°C. All operations were executed while the refinery remained fully operational, without disruption.