Pipeline maintenance in extreme weather conditions
Pipeline maintenance through Neoloy® Geocells using local infill has so far withstood 5 extreme freeze-thaw cycles in Siberian winter
Pipeline construction and maintenance in Siberia is possible only during the summer when the top soil layer (sand, silt and peat bogs) is not covered with ice and snow. When the snow melts in spring, the tundra is filled by marshes, lakes and overflowing rivers. In addition, large ice flows carried by spring floods threatened the pipelines and required protection. Gazprom needed access roads to new drilling sites as well as pipeline protection from ice floes in flood plains. The solution had to be implemented using local soil for infill, as aggregate is unavailable in Siberia.
Conventional “roadways” to drill sites and for constructing pipeline routes were laid out with continuous 14 cm thick, reinforced 6×2 m concrete plates. Subject to severe heaving and buckling from yearly thaws, a “road” that was passable for more than one season was considered successful.
Neoloy Geocell Solution
Gazprom turned to PRS for the solution. Millions of square meters were easily transported and quickly deployed in remote terrain during the available summer months each year. Hundreds of km of Neoloy Geocell sections were infilled with local sandy soil, eliminating the need to import aggregate to Siberia. Impervious to freezing, thawing and moisture, Neoloy Geocells also enable excellent drainage.
The result was smooth and stable road surfaces that maintain their integrity in the extreme conditions of Siberia. In addition, Neoloy was used to reinforce earth berms that support the pipeline in areas subject to breakaway ice floes. These protect the pipeline and help channel the floodwaters. As a result, Neoloy Geocells were selected as the preferred supplier for soil confinement road reinforcement.
The result was hundreds of kilometers of smooth and stable road surfaces that support Gazprom’s exploration activities season after season. In addition, Neoloy was used to reinforce earth berms that elevate the pipeline in areas subject to breakaway ice foes. These protect the pipeline and channel the floodwaters.
- Neoloy Geocells have maintained their dimensional stability through 5 years of Siberian winter freeze-thaw cycles and will continue to do so in the future.
- Gazprom engineers were pleasantly surprised by Neoloy’s durability and sustainability
- Gazprom management valued the ROI and long-term savings in millions of dollars
- Roads are contiguous, easier to travel and reduce tire and vehicle damage