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PRCI Begins Building New Technology Center

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Pipeline research will soon have a new home for developing new technology.

The Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) broke ground July 7 on a new Technology Development Center (TDC) in Houston, Texas. The TDC is a major commitment by the energy pipeline industry to address the key issues that it is facing to ensure the safety of the national and international pipeline system.

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A rendering of the planned PRCI Technology Development Center being built in Houston.

A rendering of the planned PRCI Technology Development Center being built in Houston.

Since the creation of the PRCI pipeline repository in 2012, PRCI has been progressively building a unique, world class inventory of pipeline samples to support technology development. The benefits of having such an establishment available to the industry have already been realized, as the current site has been used for evaluating and developing new technologies, providing a location for accumulation of former in-service pipe materials with real-world pipeline features and flaws that are invaluable to PRCI’s research and development program and to the industry at large, as well as to support industry-sponsored workshops.

The TDC will open with more than 600 test specimens available for advancing pipeline research. It will be a key enabler to understanding and improving current inspection and integrity assessment technologies and promoting the development of new technologies for pipeline integrity management.

“The TDC is a critical tool for the energy pipeline industry as we continue to strive for zero failures,” said John O’Brien, of Chevron ETC and a member of the PRCI TDC Steering Committee. “The TDC will provide the industry with an independent third party site to fully understand the capabilities of current tools and to guide the development of the new technologies needed to push towards our goal. This new site will further enhance PRCI as a focal point for the R&D efforts of the energy pipeline industry.”

The new TDC will be located on more than eight acres and will include a five-acre state-of-the-art pull test facility, and a more than 20,000-sq-ft work shop and test facility with an additional 9,000 sq ft of office and meeting space.

“This new site will allow us to continue to grow our pipeline sample inventory and to perform the research needed to ensure the safety and integrity of our vital pipeline infrastructure globally,” said Cliff Johnson, PRCI president.

The effort to locate the new site has been spearheaded by the PRCI TDC Steering Committee made up of PRCI members and staff who have been heavily involved in TDC operations since its inception and understand the incredible opportunities and benefits the pipeline industry can reap from its use. PRCI would like to acknowledge the members of the Steering Committee for their dedication and support, as well as the PRCI member companies that have and continue to contribute samples and sponsor the TDC’s operations.

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