Development of Emergency Pipeline Repair System (EPRS), and EPRS manual, for a gas pipeline system

Balgzand, Netherlands, to Bacton Gas Terminal, United Kingdom


The BBL pipeline became operational on 1st December 2006. The 235-kilometre, 36-inch offshore pipeline was the first to link the Netherlands with the UK, and has been estimated to supply 15%  of the UK’s gas requirements. 230 kilometres of the pipeline is underwater, partly trenched and partly on the seafloor, and lies in the congested North Sea. The impact of a pipeline failure would be severe for the UK, and so the BBL Company needed an in-depth plan of action for prevention and repair. As a leading pipeline contractor specialising in EPRS, IRM Systems provided their services to create a tailor-made EPRS report and EPRS manual.


The seabed of the North Sea is temperamental. The sand lying on the seafloor is prone to change, like dunes on the Dutch coast, and could create a free span below the pipeline. The pipeline could then vibrate, sag, and cause damage. IRM System’s methodical approach identified this unique issue, and incorporated it into its report alongside in-depth assessments of other potential pipeline integrity management threats.


The intention is, in case of an emergency or accident or event to a pipeline, to be able to repair it as swiftly and safely as possible. Our EPRS manuals really start at the identification of the damage and end at the phase where you’re back in production. We have created a 16-step approach – from identification, to setting up a team, buying the right kit, getting the right vessels and so on – and we tailor it to each new client for their specific needs.