Leaking Pipelines Contaminate Acres Of Agricultural Lands

Pipelines that are used by the oil and gas industry operate in an environment that is significantly different from pipelines in water and wastewater industries. Corrosion rates can be greatly influenced by the flow regimes of multiphase fluids. Corrosion control for oil and gas pipelines can be delivered safely by cathodic protection services to take the project to the next level.

The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) has undertaken measures to control oil leakages from a network of underground pipelines in the delta region of Thiruvarur District. However, according to a report submitted by a joint committee appointed by the southern bench of National Green Tribunal, the measures were inadequate.

ONGC has been operating in the Thiruvarur District for the last 3 decades. In April, this year, a leak was found in the Keezhapadugai Village and in the KeezhaErukkattur Village. There were also some minor leaks in between and local villagers were worried about soil contamination due to the leaks.

A preliminary hearing was conducted online between the committee and ONGC officials where the company presented an action report to the committee. ONGC officials claim that the old damaged pipelines have been replaced by new ones. Local villagers that were affected by the leaks were paid the necessary farmer’s compensation. Several acres of agricultural farmlands were contaminated by the oil leakages.

NGC officials also revealed the control measures that they will undertake to prevent future pipeline leakages. Aside from flow-based monitoring to identify oil leakages in flow lines at the receiving ends, ONGC will also incorporate a leak detection system on the recently laid truck lines. However, the committee considered the measures as insufficient.

The present method of flow-based monitoring at the receiving end to identify oil leakage is not effective because it cannot identify the exact location of the oil leak point. It can only be identified by its physical appearance in the topsoil.

Pipelines carrying oil and gas at high pressure can be protected by cathodic protection services instead of replacing them with new ones. A proper degree of protection will prevent the coating from deteriorating over time. It will be more expensive if cathodic protection is not initiated.

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