Encana installs HDPE Pipe for Gas Systems

April 12, 2012


WL Plastics teamed up with the energy company EnCana to supply HDPE pipe to one of their Canadian natural gas fields. The challenge was to connect two existing well heads to the main gathering line through a farmer’s productive field, in the cold, harsh environment of February, just east of Calgary, Alberta, while saving material and installation costs. The installation was conducted in the winter so no farming production losses would be incurred which equated to additional savings for EnCana as well. These extreme winter installations can challenge equipment, material handling and human exposure levels.

EnCana utilizes reeled pipe to connect the wells to main gathering systems to save on installation costs and time. The long lengths (typically 787 feet) of pipe were supplied on 130 inch diameter steel reels. They also chose 5″ SDR 9 PE4710 over 5″ SDR7.3 PE3608 to save on product costs. The reeled pipe also helps reduce costs though reduced transportation, material handling equipment and manpower costs.

In the past EnCana utilized the PE3608 product, which met their requirements, but soon realized the cost savings available by using PE4710 for this project by going to a thinner pipe while maintaining their pressure requirements. Since EnCana switched to PE4710 products they maintained the similar pressure requirements but added to their installation/product savings. In addition, they improved toughness with PE4710 pipe.

PE4710 pipe is now their product of choice because it is economical, corrosion resistant, surge resistant, chemically resistant, flexible, and user and installer friendly. This installation was conducted mid-afternoon at -15C (5F). The installation challenges related to cold temperatures are typically equipment failures, maintaining fusion environment control, material handling and human exposure. With the use of unreeling trailers and heated tents these challenges can be minimized. The use of long lengths significantly reduces the number of fusions which in turn reduces the amount of times you have to relocate your controlled environment and therefore saves time. This installation was approximately 8,000 ft. If they had used stick pipe in 50 foot lengths they would have had 160 fusion connections to make versus only 10 to 11 when using reeled pipe, huge time savings.

WL Plastics manufactures the necessary 5″ DR 9 pipe on 787 foot reels from PE4710 high density materials for several gas gathering networks. The enhanced properties of PE4710 pipe, simplified installation practices using reeled pipe, reduced handling, reduced costs, and most of all farmer satisfaction (no lost crop production). Lastly, remote locations are not a challenge due to the simplicity of the unreeling process and equipment required. Once the lines where laid out, fused, tested and buried in the trench there was limited disruption and limited equipment traffic on the farmer’s property. The farmer’s field was easily restored and ready for spring crop production.

The installers, inspectors and safety coordinators with EnCana, 843222 BC Ltd., and Warwick Inspections commented on how much easier the reeled lengths were to install. The speed of projects increased due to less fusions and more efficient handling of pipe in the field. “In the summer months installations become even easier because the pipe is more flexible and easier to handle during the installation process” stated Calvin Warwick of Warwick Inspections Ltd.