Our work across the Texas Gulf Coast will be conducted in the safest way possible to ensure minimal community disruption. Along the project route, work will resemble that of a utility crew and you can expect to see survey activities, construction crews, excavation along the pipeline right-of-way, laying of new pipeline segments and welding of new pipe.
Throughout ExxonMobil Pipeline Company’s construction process, we use best-in-class practices, safety gear and equipment to ensure the job gets done right—and nobody gets hurt. Our world-class workforce is highly trained to carefully manage the process from the first safety checks to the final clean up. Each stage of the process below is overseen by regularly trained and highly qualified inspectors.
We monitor the manufacture, storage and transportation of materials to confirm they meet or exceed industry regulations and standards.
Routing will generally parallel existing utility corridors where feasible.
Typically, a trench will be excavated and soil set aside. Pipe segments are lined up on the ground, welded and installed in the trench, and the trench is backfilled.
A pipeline that has been replaced is typically decommissioned, or safely removed from service, and maintained in place to minimize disruptions to the environment, surface, our neighbors, existing pipelines and other utilities.
Inspections (e.g., hydro testing) are conducted to verify the integrity of the new pipe before it is placed into service.
ExxonMobil Pipeline Company uses aerial surveillance and ground inspection to monitor the pipeline in the interest of public safety and environmental protection.
ROWs and work areas are restored consistent with landowner agreements.
Crews begin by surveying the potential route. Narrow strips of land called rights-of-ways are acquired for installation of the pipeline and to host on-site construction activity. Pipeline right-of-ways are typically 25-150 feet wide.
The right-of-way is cleared of trees, brush, and rock for construction activities. Topsoil is stockpiled for eventual reclamation. The right-of-way is leveled and graded to provide access to construction equipment.
A trench is dug with a trencher or backhoe. Depending on the terrain, this process may include boring under waterways, roads, or railroads. Boring under obstacles is a process known as horizontal directional drilling (HDD).
Individual pieces of pipe are laid out end to end along the right-of-way. The pipe is bent to fit the terrain using a specialized hydraulic bending machine.
Welders join the pipes together using both manual and automated welding technologies. The welds are then inspected and certified by x-ray. Welded joints are coated with anti-corrosion materials.
The welded pipe is lowered into the trench using sidebooms, when valves and other fittings are installed. The pipe is padded using filtered native soil to keep rock from resting along the pipe. Topsoil is replaced in the sequence in which it was removed, and the land is re-contoured.
The pipeline is pressure tested using water. Inspection tools are sent through the pipeline to ensure integrity. Any detected anomalies will be addressed before the pipe is put into service.
Temporary facilities are removed. All impacted land is reseeded for restoration. Pipeline markers are installed at each public road and railroad crossing and along the remainder of the buried pipeline.
Temporarily reducing pipeline operating pressure provides an additional safety margin until abnormal conditions can be investigated and repaired.
Some localized repairs are made using a steel or composite "sleeve." The sleeve fully encircles a small area of the pipe giving it additional reinforcement.
Sometimes it is preferable to replace a pipeline or segment of pipe. New pipe is typically installed along an existing pipeline or other utility right-of-way to limit surface environmental disturbance.
In some areas, we will be using a technique called horizontal directional drilling (HDD). HDD allows us to install a pipeline underground while minimizing impacts to the environment and surface ground.
Watch the HDD Video
Safety, cultural, environmental and infrastructure considerations are addressed in consultation with landowners and local communities before plans are finalized and drilling activity begins.
A directional drilling machine bores a small-diameter hole along the predetermined path. Drilling fluid, sometimes also known as “drilling mud,” is used to aid the drilling of pilot holes.
The hole is then enlarged and the pipe is pulled back through the bore hole.
A pipeline that has been replaced is typically decommissioned, safely removed from service and maintained in place to minimize disturbances to the environment, our neighbors and existing pipelines or other utilities.
Watch the Decommissioning Video
Residual fluids are removed from the pipeline.
Pipe interior is cleaned using specialized tools, or “pigs.”
The pipe is physically disconnected from active facilities.
The empty pipeline is filled with nitrogen gas and sealed to maintain its structural integrity. The sealed pipeline segments are left in place underground to minimize disturbance and reduce ground subsidence.
Justin Stegall, Community Engagement Leadjustinstegall@exxonmobil.com888-804-4788