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Meeting the pipeline challenge

Article - December 12, 2012
The creation of a new 128km pipeline across some of Nigeria's most challenging terrain tested the full compliment of Oilserv's services

Constructing a 128km pipeline across some of Nigeria’s most uncompromising geographical features was always going to prove to be a challenging prospect. Faced with this task was Oilserv. Set up in 1992 by Nigerian businessman Emeka Okwuosa,  it has become a standard bearer for the country’s oil and gas service industry, delivering to deadline and offering an increasing capacity across a range of services. And the contract to deliver southern Nigeria’s longest pipeline – for oil and gas company Oando – set another benchmark for the firm.

“The 128km pipeline, which was commissioned in November 2011, is the longest gas transmission pipeline built in southern Nigeria,” explains Mr Okwuosa, Managing Director of Oilserv.

“It presented peculiar challenges because that pipeline runs through the most difficult terrain. We started from land terrain, moved into swamp terrain, moved into hilly terrain, and moved into granite terrain, that was 5-10km long. Sometimes you had up to 10m high of granite, and had to blast a right of way 15 m wide, before even laying the  lines.”

Faced with such diverse conditions, the full extent of Oilserv’s technical expertise was tested. The company was required to create a ‘city gate’ –  a distribution system which also allows gas to be treated – and used horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology to avoid causing obstructions when crossing rivers.

“Instead of dredging in order to cross the rivers and laying lines in the traditional way, we drilled under water like you have with the Channel Tunnel,” says Mr Okwuosa. “We go under, come out and pull the pipes without disturbing the water. The longest crossing we did was 1.3km, which is very long for an 18-inch HDD line.”

The company also delivered pigging stations, block valve stations and a pressure reduction metering station all to deadline. “It is a great story because there is no other company like Oando in Nigeria today,” says Mr Okwuosa. “They have proven that Nigerians can do such projects, and we are very happy to be associated with them.”