By August 10, 2016 Read More →

Innovation helps oil companies wage war on illegal pipeline tapping

Tapping into live oil pipeline with homemade devices is very dangerous, but poor people will continue to take the risk to get it



Illegal tapping of oil pipelines is costing oil companies billions of dollars in lost product each year and the problem is growing around the globe, according to Westlake, Ohio-based PLIDCO, a pipeline products manufacturer.

The process of locating the illegal taps, repairing the pipeline, and cleaning up the environmental damage is putting a significant strain on operational resources and manpower, the company said in a press release.

PLIDCO has developed the Tap+Enclosure, a line of “innovative enclosures” that can be installed quickly and easily that permanently encloses the illegal tap.

“Our customers in South America, Africa, Europe and other places around the world have lamented to us about the logistical challenge of having to repair illegal taps. In response, we developed a solution that simplifies the process and encompasses them permanently,” said Pete Haburt, PLIDCO general sales manager.

In Mexico, it’s estimated that over $1 billion dollars’ worth of oil is stolen each year from over 4,000 illegal taps — and that number does not include the cost to locate and restore the lines.

“When we designed the Tap+Enclosure, we designed it for safety and for speed of installation because we knew the repair teams needed to perform the repair as quickly as possible,” continued Haburt. “Tap+Enclosures can be installed in about 2 hours — sometimes less, which is quick for any kind of pipeline repair,” said Haburt.

Nigeria is another country experiencing this problem. Estimates vary between 100,000-400,000 barrels of oil being stolen each day from illegal taps — totaling over $18 billion dollars annually.

In Nigeria and other countries there have been multiple accidents, explosions, and oil spills that have cost lives and rendered water sources unusable for significant periods of time, says Haburt.

“Tapping into a live oil pipeline with homemade devices is very dangerous,” said Haburt.

“But as long as the money is there, people will continue to take the risk to get it. Our desire for the new Tap+Enclosure is to make the repair process easier for the oil company repair.”

The Tap+Enclosure is a dome-like fitting that totally and permanently encapsulates the tap. It comes in three variations: a Weld-On version, a Split Bolt-On version, and a Split Weld-On Version.


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