Category Archives: Pipeline Pigging

Reducing the Eco Footprint of Pipelines in the Energy Sector with Pipeline Pigging

Selecting the right pipeline pig for the specific application is crucial to running an effective pipeline maintenance program that avoids any unnecessary disruption to product flow. Inline pigging is employed to do this in a range of diverse industries including chemical plants, lube oil, oil production, gas, and in hygienic applications for industries like pharma or food.

Extensive experience and specialist knowledge is required to choose the right pig for the right application. The right pipeline pig for the job can significantly improve pipeline efficiency, a key factor in reducing the Eco footprint of pipelines in the energy sector.

Pipeline Pigs – Basic Types

The range and number of specific pipeline pigs, specially developed for specific applications, is wide. Selecting the right pigging equipment for the job is fundamental to improving efficiency, reducing costs and minimising the environmental impact of product transit in the energy sector. Here are three common types of pigs for typical applications:


Pipeline Pigging

Foam Pigs

The most basic type of pipeline pig is the foam pig. The primary purpose and application for foam pigs is to remove liquids and debris from the pipeline, a fundamental step in the process of pipeline cleaning. Commonly available in all shapes and sizes, foam pigs play a crucial role in the proving and cleaning of pipelines around the world.

Mandrel Bodied Pigs

Mandrel Bodied Pigs typically employ a metal body to which switchable cups, discs and/or scraper brushes and drainage plates can be attached. These versatile pigs can be deployed to clean and remove liquids, wax, corrosion pitting, black powder and other residual waste products. A versatile piece of kit, Mandrel Bodied Pigs can be configured to tackle applications including:

  • Disc pigs – effective for liquids or wax removal
  • Cups – used where additional wear resistance and enhanced sealing are required
  • Cups for out of round pipes
  • Brushes – can be added to tackle corrosion pitting or remove black powder from the pipeline

Urethane Pigs

Urethane or polyurethane constructed pigs typically produce longer effective lifetime and enhanced wear resistance for the equipment. Commonly manufactured as a one-piece, urethane pigs can prove more flexible and effective for a range of applications including cleaning, wax removal and liquids displacement.

Why use Pigging for Pipeline Maintenance?

Pigging has a number of key advantages over alternative methods for pipeline maintenance including:

Cost Effectiveness – pigs can operate through many miles of pipeline with minimal operator input. Pigging is used throughout the world to improve pipeline efficiency, an important element of reducing the Eco footprint in the energy sector.

Ease Of Operation – pigging is a quick and easy method of pipeline cleaning and maintenance. Pigs can be launched from one end of the pipe to the opposite end – job done.

Safety – providing the launcher and receiver have high quality closures, the scope for accidents is greatly reduced when compared to other methods of pipeline cleaning and maintenance.