November 30, 2017

Maintenance and construction: Driving pipeline safety

Since Phillips Petroleum first named its gasoline after the Mother Road in 1927, the Phillips 66 brand has been linked to cars. And as it happens, knowledge of the cars we fuel provides may help you better understand the pipelines we operate.

Both cars and pipelines are essential to maintaining the quality of life we’ve come to expect. And both have inherent hazards that are mitigated by following simple safety rules and conducting maintenance and tune-ups.

Regular Maintenance
Just as a car may need an oil change or a transmission flush, the inside of a pipeline also needs to be cleaned. To do this, Phillips 66 relies on a pipeline inspection gauge (commonly, “pig”) that is inserted into the pipe and uses special fixtures to clean it while moving through the line.

Similar tools are used to evaluate the pipeline’s soundness and ability to safely transport energy products. Known as “smart” pigs, these tools use MRI technology to scan the walls of the pipe and identify weaknesses in the line. Phillips 66 also conducts hydrotests on its pipelines, running water through the line to determine whether it will be able to transport petroleum products at a given pressure.

Stopping Problems before They Start
These inspections allow Phillips 66 to determine which segments of the pipeline need further examination and maintenance, much like the tweaking of a car after a tune-up. If smart pigs or hydrotests identify a weakness, Phillips 66 will expose the pipeline in question for visual inspection and repair or replace the segment of pipe.

Right-Sized for the Job
Car drivers regularly consider buying a second or larger car to accommodate growing families, demanding commutes or other changing needs. Similarly, as the demand for petroleum products increases, Phillips 66 may seek to build new pipelines, reroute or enlarge existing ones.

Construction takes place with our neighbors top-of-mind and in accordance with government approvals and regulations, while we use the highest engineering standards and quality materials.

If you live near a Phillips 66 pipeline, whenever practicable, you will be notified ahead of maintenance or construction performed near you. We work to ensure that the area is left as good as, or better than, it was before we began.  We strive to make sure that these necessary tests, inspections and projects have as little negative impact on our neighbors as possible as we safely build and maintain our pipelines.

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