Helical Piles for Pipeline Anchoring

July 8, 2024

Pipelines are foundational to the oil and gas industry, facilitating the efficient and safe transportation of essential resources from production sites to refineries and distribution centers. However, these critical infrastructures can face obstacles such as soil erosion and ground movement that compromise their stability. To address these challenges, pipeline anchoring has become essential for preventing displacement and ensuring structural integrity.


What is Pipeline Anchoring?

Pipeline anchoring is the process of securing pipelines in place to prevent movement and ensure their stability against various destabilizing factors. This could include environmental variables due to extreme weather events. Displacement pipe leaks and bursts can occur when the pressure from the oil or gas flowing through them is unbalanced.


Various types of pipeline anchoring systems can be used to promote stabilization. Deadweight anchors, for example, use heavy concrete weights to hold the pipeline down. Drilled piers involve drilling deep holes and filling them with concrete to create sturdy supports. While traditional anchoring methods can be effective, they often come with significant limitations, such as high costs and a long installation time. These drawbacks have led to more advanced and efficient anchoring solutions, like helical piles.


Helical Piles

Helical piles, also known as screw piles, are used to provide strong, stable foundational solutions for structures of all shapes and sizes. These anchors have helical bearing plates attached to a central rod. The plates dig into the ground like screws, transferring the pipeline’s weight from the rod to the soil. Unlike traditional anchors that push into the earth, this helical design minimizes disruption to the surrounding soil.


How Are Helical Piles Used in the Oil and Gas Industry?

Helical piles offer significant benefits for pipeline anchoring in the oil and gas industry. Their efficient installation process and adaptability to various soil conditions make them an ideal choice for ensuring the structural integrity and safety of pipelines. They can even support coastal areas prone to erosion. In soft soil, a helical design allows for deep penetration and firm anchoring. Helical piles solve pipeline challenges and contribute to the longevity of pipeline infrastructure, and are widely used in various applications within the oil and gas industry. 


Upstream Applications for Helical Piles

In the upstream sector, helical piles play a crucial role in supporting exploration and production facilities. Separation vessels, crude oil storage tanks, pump houses, control rooms, and other structures are critical for upstream operations. Helical piles can provide secure foundations for these various structures within production facilities.


Pumpjacks that pump oil and gas from wells often need stability. Helical piles can be used to secure a pumpjack, preventing movement caused by the pumping action. Helical piles can also create stable platforms for workers to access and maintain pumpjacks.


Midstream Applications for Helical Piles

Pipelines are the most common application for helical piles in midstream. They are ideal for quickly and efficiently establishing foundations for new pipelines, both above and below ground. When existing pipelines need upgrades or repairs, helical piles can be used to reinforce foundations or create additional support. Especially in areas with low soil shear strength or high water tables, helical piles can be a form of buoyancy control. They are a more economical alternative to concrete dead weights used to prevent pipelines from floating. In compressor stations, the installation process for helical piles creates minimal vibration, which is crucial to protecting sensitive equipment.


Downstream Applications for Helical Piles

Refineries are massive facilities with essential equipment. Helical piles can provide secure support for various refinery equipment, including storage tanks, processing units, and piping systems. During maintenance or expansion projects, helical piles can create foundations for temporary structures like work platforms or equipment shelters.


Safe and Effective Helical Anchor Installation With Elite Helical

When designing helical piles for oil and gas applications, several considerations are crucial, including the load requirements of the pipeline, the soil conditions at the installation site, and the potential environmental impacts. These factors ensure that the helical piles provide the necessary support and durability to maintain pipeline integrity and safety.


If you need foundational support for an application in the oil and gas industry, helical piles are the ideal solution. They can be custom designed to support your project’s specific needs, be installed within less than a day, and withstand the rigorous wear and tear of harsh environmental conditions. Whether you need support for pipelines, compressor stations, or rig supports, reach out to Elite Helical. Along with installing a quality pipeline anchoring solution, we’ll make sure your workers and the environment are protected.

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From design, to supply, to installation, Elite Helical is your trusted turnkey helical pile contractor. With versatile tools and excellent customer service, we can provide an effective solution for your project.

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