Specialists of Samara Regional Oil Pipeline Directorate Conduct Field Tests at Pipeline’s Underwater Crossing of Volga

Date of publication: 07 March 2019

Specialists of Samara Regional Oil Pipeline Directorate (RPD) have conducted field tests of a revised winter period emergency response plan at a trunk pipeline’s underwater crossing (TPUWC) of the river Volga.

The purpose of the event was to check draft emergency response plans before their approval for validity and efficiency of selecting boom installation sites, adequacy of forces and means, as well as to verify alert  and interaction schemes between business units.

According to the test programme, a "pressure reduction" below the acceptable limit was recorded in the watercourse of the Volga where it’s crossed by the main leg of the Buguruslan – Syzran oil trunk pipeline (324 km). An oil pumping station operator, having received information, notified the dispatcher of Samara RPD, the Company's security Division and the fire station about the incident. The process of oil pumping at this section of the oil pipeline was “halted”. A patrol crew of the emergency line  maintenance division (ELMD) of Pokrovskaya oil pumping station and a mobile crew of Transneft Security Services promptly arrived to the place where the simulated pressure drop was recorded.

According to the spill response plan, after confirming the fact of the “oil release” to the surface of the Volga, emergency response teams of Pokrovskaya and Lyubetskaya oil pumping stations’ ELMDs, as well as the crew of emergency response and restoration department of Samara RPD’s central maintenance division immediately left to install booms.

In total, 59 specialists from Samara RPD and 29 units of specialty vehicles and motor transport were involved in the field tests. An ice-cutter and power saws were used to prepare a hole in the ice.

Winter booms with the total length of 330 m were installed on the two boundaries of the underwater crossing through the Volga. On the first boundary, work was performed by the team of the central maintenance division, and on the second one – by the ELMD team of Pokrovskaya and Lyubetskaya oil pumping stations.

All work stipulated by the emergency oil spill response plan for this section was completed within the prescribed time limit: no more than four hours for containing accidents at underwater crossings of oil pipelines. During the field tests, the simulated oil spill in the waters of the Volga was contained; the “oil” was collected with the help of oil skimmers.

The efficiency of actions within the field tests was evaluated by the executive office specialists of Transneft Volga Region, Samara RPD and a representative of Transneft UW Service. Among the main evaluation criteria were the sequence of technological operations, compliance with the requirements of industrial, environmental and fire safety, the number and qualification of workers, duration of the work and technical equipment of the teams. Observers assessed the field tests as satisfactory.

In 2019 it is planned to carry out field tests on eight underwater crossings of the rivers Volga, Samara, Chapayevka, Bolshoi Irgiz and Maly Irgiz in the area of responsibility of Samara RPD.

Field tests of the oil spill response plans being revised are also carried out at all underwater crossings of Buguruslan, Saratov and Volgograd RPDs of Transneft Volga Region. In total, it is planned to conduct 76 field tests of the revised plans for remedying accidents at underwater crossings of the Company's trunk pipelines in 2019.