The Texoma 72” Pipeline Improvement project was something new for Coblaco and American Pipeline Services. To retrofit this concrete-mortar lined pipe with cathodic protection, the steel needed to be exposed at each joint so that copper wires could be welded from one pipe to the next. But an even greater challenge than the complicated process of installing the wires was the huge amount of work within a very short time frame. An absolute minimum of 900 joints needed to be fully completed in two weeks. However, Coblaco’s expectations were set on accomplishing much higher numbers.
Tremendous amounts of research were devoted over the months leading up to the project to find practices and procedures that could be used inside the long stretches of pipe. Cordless tools were purchased and tested, new pipeline carts were designed and fabricated, and new trailers and generators were added to the fleet.
A convoy of trucks carrying a crew of 24 left the yard on March 8th and arrived in Texas ready to begin work. But on our first day onsite, the pipeline was still largely full of water and we could not safely perform work. More than 2 full days were lost waiting for the pipe to be drained.
Once the pipe was dry and ventilated, the long stretches from one manhole to the next and the short battery life of the new tools caused need for adjustments-on-the fly. But crews kept at it, and began to gain efficiency with each day in the pipeline. We reached the critical 900 joint mark four days ahead of schedule. Working 12 hour days, 7 days a week, it became clear that Coblaco could complete the entire stretch of 2,400 joints within the shutdown timeline. Crews battled long hours, failed tools and materials, wet sections of pipe, drenching rains and bogging mud.
Our customer and the engineer testing the cathodic installation were greatly impressed by the pace and quality of Coblaco’s work. This project was an incredible display of excellence by everyone involved from planning to the execution.