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Gaz de France puts faith in plastics pipes

French natural gas provider Gaz de France (Paris) reports that it replaced more than 1000 km of cast iron mains with polyethylene pipes last year in its renewal project to sustain energy throughout the country. At the end of last year, only 0.6% of its remaining mains were still made of cast iron. The company has systematically replaced its cast-iron mains with HDPE alternatives since 1980. It now incorporates a microchip technology in electro fusion as a more efficient way of joining plastics pipes with fittings, it says. The company expects to complete its replacement program next year.

In other pipe news, Roel van `t Veer, general manager of TEPPFA, the European Plastics Pipes and Fittings Assn. (Brussels), has expressed alarm at recent reports of corroded metal pipes owned by BP and their need for shut down in the Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska. The entire North Slope oil field produces an estimated 400,000 barrels/day. "The incident will prompt calls for greater monitoring and testing of metal pipes for the oil industry as well as for other applications;" van ''t Veer says. "Regulations that determine performance and lifetime expectancy of all pipeline networks should now be carefully considered." Plastic-lined metal pipes could have solved the corrosion problem during original installation.

TAGS: Business
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