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The route to cutting costs


THE INTERNATIONAL pipeline industry is engaged in a major push to reduce costs. In 1998, BP initiated the Pipeline Cost Reduction technology project to seek significant reductions in capital expenditure. Many of its suppliers are involved in projects to streamline the pipeline process through improved design, materials, welding, construction practices and equipment, operations and project execution. This work is being done with considerable cross-industry cooperation with other operators, suppliers, research groups and contractors.

The initiative has already seen the development of a computer based simulation tool to model the entire onshore pipeline construction process and quantify the cost benefit of proposed technology improvements.

The initiatives include the development of reliability based design methods; development and field proving of very high strength linepipe and use of advanced laser techniques for pipeline girth welding. Every aspect of onshore pipeline technology has been challenged with a number of cost reduction opportunities identified.

This year, BP joined forces with the International Pipeline and Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA) to launch an annual award for innovation that has reduced cross countrypipeline construction costs. This award was won by Maats for enhancement of a sideboom to give a multi-purpose vehicle that reduces the amount of equipment needed in the field during construction.

Norman Sanderson is project manager for Pipeline Cost Reduction in BP

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