Process Activities

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.

High Quality Materials and Route Design

High-Quality Materials

We monitor the manufacture, storage and transportation of materials to confirm they meet or exceed industry regulations and standards.

Route Design & Approval

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.

Decomissioning and Testing

Decommissioning the Existing Pipeline

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.

Testing & Commissioning the New Pipeline

Inspections (e.g., hydro testing) are conducted to verify the integrity of the new pipe before it is placed into service.

Monitoring and Restoring

Surveillance Monitoring

ExxonMobil Pipeline Company uses aerial surveillance and ground inspection to monitor the pipeline in the interest of public safety and environmental protection.

Restoring the Right-of-Way (ROW)

ROWs and work areas are restored consistent with landowner agreements.

Survey and Pre-Construction

Survey & Pre-Construction

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 rights-of-way 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).

Pipe Stringing & Bending

Pipe Stringing & Bending

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.

Welding & Pipe Inspection

Welding & Pipe Inspection

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.

Lowering Pipe & Backfilling

Lowering Pipe & Backfilling

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, a process called hydro testing or hydrostatic testing. 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.

Pressure Reduction

Pressure Reduction

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.

Horizontal Directional Drilling

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

Evaluation of project area surroundings and considerations

Consultation and Planning

Safety, cultural, environmental and infrastructure considerations are addressed in consultation with landowners and local communities before plans are finalized and drilling activity begins.

Pilot hole drilling

Pilot Hole

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.

Pulling pipe back through enlarged hole

Pulling the Pipe

The hole is then enlarged and the pipe is pulled back through the bore hole.

Decommissioning a Pipeline

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

Purging and Cleaning


Residual fluids are removed from the pipeline.


Pipe interior is cleaned using specialized tools, or “pigs.”



The pipe is physically disconnected from active facilities.

Preserving and Sealing

Preserve & Seal

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.

If you have any questions, please contact our team directly using the link below or calling our project representative.

Justin Stegall, Community Engagement Lead