The pipeline infrastructure throughout Western Canada is extensive, with more than 350,000 km in Alberta alone. As the profitability of oil and gas production swings, so too does the utilization of the pipeline infrastructure. During the 1990’s, the economics of some oil and gas production was marginal and the associated pipelines were under utilized. In particular, upstream producers deactivated several under utilized pipelines. Deactivated lines were blocked in, others purged and isolated, while others were completely abandoned. The profitability of oil and gas production has improved steadily since 1999 and the industry has pursued the reactivation of many of these pipelines. In several cases, the diligence of the pipeline operator during economically tight periods was less than desirable with respect to both of these functions. Poor economics also impaired the development and preservation of good pipeline design and maintenance records. The retention of the existing records was further impaired by the numerous corporate divestments and acquisitions that occurred over the past fifteen years. The lack of good quality pipeline records has hampered efforts to reactivate many pipelines. Another feature of our economic environment is the production of alternate zones from an existing well that was previously uneconomic. These zones often produce fluids significantly different than the original well completion and may not be consistent with the design of the original pipeline. This requires re-engineering of the pipeline for the new service. The most common situation is changing from one substance to another, however, changing the maximum operating pressure, changing the design temperature or changing the flow direction may also be required. The objective of this paper is to describe some of the specific challenges in reactivating dormant pipelines and re-engineering pipelines for new service conditions. The focus of this paper will be with respect to pipelines built to CSA Z183, Z184 or Z662 standards and the Alberta Pipeline Regulation.

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