Before answering why a pipeline should be pigged, it would be advantageous to briefly mention what a pig is! The term ‘pig’ has never been categorically defined but it is essentially a free swimming device which is driven down a pipeline, using the medium it is transporting. Originally developed to remove debris from pipelines, pigs are now used throughout the pipeline’s life cycle for a number of different purposes.

Pigging is a process which can elevate a number of problems, investigate and maintain a pipeline. It has significant benefits for the longevity of pipelines as well as the quality of the medium in the pipeline.

The role of the pig

In a maintenance scenario, the role of the pig is to keep the inside of the pipeline debris-free, remove deposits and monitor the condition of the line (using indicators such as speed of pigging). Regular pigging programs are recommended to make sure the pipeline is efficient. If debris and build up is removed and problems are identified and rectified, the quality of the product is improved and speed of flow is increased. All of which leads to higher production of a better product which ultimately generates higher profit levels!!!