Of Technology, Owerri Nigeria
Iyama Anthony Oyem
University Of Port Harcourt
Rivers State, Nigeria
Pipeline companies face governmental regulation constraints, environmental constraints and social constraints in their day-to-day operations. These constraints may define the minimum staff from community to be employed, staff training requirements, adherence to operational safety, the environment impact assessment, environmental degradation through oil spillages,(depletion of aquatic lives) adherence to memorandum of understanding, community empowerment scheme, oil theft/sabotage, award of contract etc. These constraints and many others sometimes stand as a bottleneck in pipeline transportation of crude oil.
Transportation of crude oil through the pipelines remain one of the most economical way of moving large quantity of crude oil from one place to another, not minding the bottleneck associated with it. It is also more effective and affect lives in many ways. In swamp area of Nigerian Agip Oil Company limited, they operate three types of pipeline functions. (a) Gathering pipelines:- these are interconnected pipeline forming complex network with the purpose of bringing crude oil from several nearby wellheads to flow stations. In these group, pipeline are usually short, a couple of hundred meters, with smaller diameters, example 4 inches and 6 inches respectively. (b) Transportation pipelines are mainly long pipes with longer diameter moving crude oil from flow stations to terminal mostly fourteen (14), eighteen (18), twenty four (24) inches respectively. (c) Trunk lines: These are pipelines that connect the terminal to loading bay with diameter of 36 inches.
The crude oil pipelines transportation from wellheads to storage facility is associated with bottlenecks (hindrances) before getting to its final destination. Bottleneck in crude oil transportation system in Nigerian Agip Oil Company limited is threatening the operation system in terms of cost effectiveness. The company spends millions of dollars to prevent the bottleneck. The objective of this study is to prevent or minimize the ugly trend of bottleneck operation.
The transportation of crude oil starts from the wellheads, so there are bottlenecks associated to wellhead production. These bottlenecks are as follows: i. Incompetent operators.
ii. Incessant shutting down of well heads due to sabotage and militant activities. iii. Constant eruption of sand trap in the system.
iv. Communities claim of royalties.
Flow stations are plants whereby crude oil are processed and treated. It comprises of booster pumps, compressors, pressure tanks, valves, network of pipelines, arrival manifold, standby generators etc. These systems are associated with their problems and act as bottlenecks in transportation of crude oil. The company operates five flow stations in their swamp area operation. The flow stations are: Tebidaba flow station, Obama flow station, Ogboingbiri flow station, Clough creek flow station and Beniboye flow station. Such problems are: (i) Untrained staff.
(ii) Militant seizures
(iii) Constant shutting down due to pipeline sabotage,
2.3PIPELINES (GATHERING, FLOW LINES, TRUNKLINE)
The pipelines are of three categories and function differently but have a common goal of transporting crude oil.
2.3aGathering pipelines: these pipelines bring crude oil from wellheads to flow stations. In swamp area Nigerian Agip Oil Company limited, the pipelines are of six and four inches respectively and they run underground.
2.3bFlow lines: Theses are mainly transportation pipelines that run from flow stations to terminal. They are...