Pipeline Decommissioning

Pipeline Decommissioning

Pipeline decommissioning or pipeline abandonment programmes are extensively used for pipelines, especially in the oil and gas industry. The process involved in these programmes includes steps such as pigging, flushing, filling and plugging of the pipeline. Removal or abandonment is the next step in the process.

iNPIPE PRODUCTS™ has a number of pigging tools which are extremely effective in the decommissioning of pipelines. The company provides a turnkey service for assessing, reviewing, designing and supplying cleaning products and bespoke solutions for client’s decommissioning requirements.


Ice pigging is a cleaning technique that uses high-solids ice slurry, which is pumped under pressure to deliver a wall shear stress on the pipe, cleaning it through physical abrasion. Made of just water and salt, ice pigs do their cleaning, unblocking debris entraining and transport before melting back into their original components (commonly salt and water) offering a physical clean thousands of times more effective than flushing without chemicals or risk of getting stuck.

This technique would be used in lines that are conventionally termed “unpiggable”, which basically means that there are no launching or receiving facilities or the configuration of the pipework is very complex with possibly large variations in internal diameter together with closely located bends and/or tees. Ice pigging offers such an engineered solution when there is a degree of wall cleaning known to be needed or where there needs to be a progressive erosion of built up materials.


  • Non-aqueous gels are all hydrocarbon based (predominantly designed to make them crude oil compatible). They remain stable for relatively long periods of time hence they can be reused several times. Generally they need to be captured and incinerated after use.
  • Water based gels degrade quite quickly limiting the use to one operation. They provide an interface reduction between fluids. Vastly reducing the amount of water being used in a decommissioning flushing operation.

This technique would be used in lines that are conventionally unpiggable and there is a high degree of confidence that the line is ‘clean’ aside from the product inventory and any debris in the line is loose enough to be displaced by the gel. Gel pigs offer options to remove loose residues from pipelines, however, should harder deposits need to be removed that conventional pigging tools need to be specified and used.


iNPIPE PRODUCTS™ has a vast range of standard dimension pigs as well as the capability to design a bespoke system for any piggable line depending on the client’s specific requirements.

  • Abandonment Plug: Permanently seals a pipeline during decommissioning. The Abandonment Plug has a minimum design life of 30 years or longer dependent upon client specification and materials. Learn more.
  • Hyperbaric Spheres: Used to ensure a dry sub-sea hyperbaric pipeline tie-in or repair where subsequent radiographic inspection is required. Learn more.

Pipelines previously termed unpiggable can be rendered piggable for conventional pigs or abrasive cleaning tools can be modified to provide launching facilities using iNPIPE PRODUCTS™ portable pig launcher utilising our proven inflatable and composite Posiseal™ technologies.

iNPIPE PRODUCTS™ also offers conventional pig traps for hire depending upon the size and pressure rating required.