The pig, or “Pipeline Integrity Gauge,” is a sophisticated device that is critical to the safety and integrity of pipelines. The oil and gas pipeline transportation industry can’t live without them. They help ensure the safe and efficient passage of crude oil, NGLs, petroleum products and natural gas through more than 2.3 million miles of pipeline in the U.S, according to PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration). Over 3,000 pipeline operators in the U.S. manage this transport system. Their success is due in large part to pigs. Today we investigate the role of pigs in oil and gas pipeline transportation infrastructure.
College football season has started once again, but we want to be clear that today’s blog is not about the Arkansas Razorbacks or the “pig” they throw around. It’s about another kind of “pig,” one that is critically important to the oil and gas pipeline industry. This kind of Pig can cost over $500,000 and it does its work inside pipelines.
Pigs help keep pipelines round, clean and blemish free
There are lots of stories out there about why these contraptions are called “pigs”. One, that seems logical, is the fact that “pig” is an acronym for “Pipeline Inspection Gauge”, or “Pipeline Integrity Gauge.” But maybe they got their name from the squealing sound they make when traveling through a pipeline or the fact that after traveling through a pipe they look like a pig, covered in muck? Another story is how in the late 1800’s balls of pig leather (and other things) were used to clean pipes (which were then made from wood). No one really knows for sure.
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