North American Oil & Gas Pipelines

OCT 2018

North American Oil & Gas Pipelines covers the news shaping the business of oil and gas pipeline construction and maintenance in North America, including pipeline installation methods, integrity management innovations and managerial strategies.

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30 North American Oil & Gas Pipelines | OCTOBER 2 018 napipelines.com By Michelle Avila M ark Marshall is a welding engineer at Energy Transfer Partners, one of the country's largest energy compa- nies, and he's seen it all throughout his tenure. Natural gas is respon- sible for fulfilling nearly a third of U.S. power needs and heating half of all U.S. homes. To accomplish this, a network of nearly 3 million miles of pipe has to be maintained through repairs, expansions and upgrades. To put it simply; it's a never-ending pro- cess. Those in the industry are constantly looking for better and faster ways to get the job done, and Marshall is no different. However, he also doesn't want to sacrifice safety, time or profit. Enter plasma arc cutting, which replaces oxy- acetylene cutting and carbon arc gouging. Energy Transfer Partners is one of the many companies that have switched to plasma, and Marshall is pleased with the change. "It's an excellent process. It doesn't matter if you're cutting or gouging. There's no soot, very lit- tle mill scale," he says. "You can cut pipe through the coating with no problem whatsoever, and it doesn't disturb the coating or mechanical proper- ties of the pipe." He also says it is a safer process. "It's a very clean process compared to oxy, and not to mention with oxy you have a potential for back injuries from lift- ing the bottles and stuff. You don't have that problem with plasma," he explained, and added that back inju- ries have already declined. These are just two of the many reasons several major contractors for Energy Transfer Partners now use plasma arc cutting. Among the most recogniz- able names are: Associated Pipeline, MPG, U.S. Pipe and Wilbros. Saving Time and Cost James Wingo, a welding boss for Wilbros, says plas- ma provides substantial savings with regard to time and cost. In a direct comparison, he said plasma can cut in one day what used to take people three days with oxy-acetylene cutting. "No one in the industry ever dreamed this was possible," he says. Using Plasm

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