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Mitigation of Arcing Risks to Pipelines Due to Faults at Adjacent Powerline Structures

This paper discusses how to determine the “safe” separation distance that is required  for transmission powerline tower and  an adjacent pipeline to avoid an arc from the former to the latter - based on research literature and standards. Mitigation.

Product Number: 51314-4389-SG
ISBN: 4389 2014 CP
Author: Bryon Winget
Publication Date: 2014
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Although the probability of a phase to ground fault occurring at a specific transmission powerline tower and resulting in an arc to an adjacent pipeline may be quite small the risk cannot be ignored due to the severity of the potential consequences. A sustained arc to a pipeline could result in melting of the pipe wall and catastrophic failure of the pipeline. Additionally the powerline fault current would be transferred directly to the pipeline via the arc resulting in safety risks the potential for additional arcing risks at crossings with foreign structures and a risk of damage to isolating flanges and to cathodic protection equipment upstream and downstream of the fault location.In order to ensure there is no risk of arcing a “safe” separation distance between the pipeline and any part of the powerline tower foundation or grounding system must be maintained. This paper discusses how to determine the “safe” separation distance that is required based on research literature and standards and explores mitigation options in circumstances where this “safe” distance cannot be feasibly maintained. Calculations and mitigation measures from several case studies will be presented.

Key Words: AC Mitigation, AC Interference, Pipelines, Arcing, Powerline Fault, Transmission Powerlines, High Voltage AC (HVAC), Phase-to-ground Fault 

Although the probability of a phase to ground fault occurring at a specific transmission powerline tower and resulting in an arc to an adjacent pipeline may be quite small the risk cannot be ignored due to the severity of the potential consequences. A sustained arc to a pipeline could result in melting of the pipe wall and catastrophic failure of the pipeline. Additionally the powerline fault current would be transferred directly to the pipeline via the arc resulting in safety risks the potential for additional arcing risks at crossings with foreign structures and a risk of damage to isolating flanges and to cathodic protection equipment upstream and downstream of the fault location.In order to ensure there is no risk of arcing a “safe” separation distance between the pipeline and any part of the powerline tower foundation or grounding system must be maintained. This paper discusses how to determine the “safe” separation distance that is required based on research literature and standards and explores mitigation options in circumstances where this “safe” distance cannot be feasibly maintained. Calculations and mitigation measures from several case studies will be presented.

Key Words: AC Mitigation, AC Interference, Pipelines, Arcing, Powerline Fault, Transmission Powerlines, High Voltage AC (HVAC), Phase-to-ground Fault 

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