Stuck Pig

In most pigging operations, the pig, sphere, or inline inspection (ILI) tool travels smoothly from launcher to receiver. Occasionally, though, a pig will become stuck or stalled in the pipeline. Many conditions can lead to stuck pigs. Some of the more common causes are:

  • Debris, including wax, building up in front of the pig.
  • Excessive wear or mechanical damage to the pig.
  • Check valves inside the pipe that prevent the pig from passing.

TDW provides a full range of services to help Hydrocarbon Processing pipeline operators detect transmitter-equipped pigs that have become stuck or stalled and facilitate their removal.

Among other solutions, TDW can:

  • Pinpoint the location of the stuck pig.
  • Determine if the pig can be safely displaced.
  • Sweep the system clear, which can in some instances dislodge the pig.
  • Provide non-intrusive inline isolation or hot tapping and plugging technology to prepare the pipeline for pig removal.

In addition, TDW can help operators reduce the likelihood of stuck pipeline pigs through customized piggability studies. This analysis assesses and documents whether pigging is feasible and outlines the inline conditions that may have to be addressed before pigging can begin. With expanding regulatory requirements for inline inspection – and the fact that pigging can contribute to pipeline productivity and profitability – improving piggability is essential.

Technical assistance is available from TDW subject matter experts for special circumstances or if the path to a solution requires consultation.

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Choosing the correct solution for freeing a stuck or stalled pig begins with an assessment of pipeline conditions, including whether the Hydrocarbon Processing operator has flow, the length of time the pig has been stuck, and if the pig can be safely displaced using a mechanical method.

Pigging interventions include:

  • REDSKIN™ foam pig – Available in sizes from 2 inches through 24 inches, the REDSKIN foam pig can safely sweep a system and disengage stuck or stalled pigs. Not only can it negotiate short radius elbows, miter bends, and major diameter reductions, the REDSKIN pig is also bi-directional, capable of running in either direction in the pipeline.
  • OptionALL™ pig – Designed for multiple configurations, the OptionALL pig can be customized to include magnets that can attract and then move a stuck or stalled pig.

Technical assistance is available from TDW subject matter experts for special circumstances or if the path to a solution requires consultation.