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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 29, 2013
Business & Economy
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Keeping the Gas Flowing
August 29, 2013   
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Tomasz Olma, director of T.D. Williamson Polska, talks to Marcin Mierzejewski.

T.D. Williamson has developed a special technical procedure to maintain and repair natural gas and oil pipelines. What is so special about your method?
The method enables all kinds of repairs to be carried out on pipelines without the pressure inside the pipeline needing to be reduced and without the product needing to be pumped out of the pipeline. Most importantly, our method ensures that, despite repairs, oil and natural gas are delivered to recipients without any interruptions.

How popular is the method in Poland?
The T.D. Williamson method was first used in Poland in 1993 when the glassworks in Wołomin needed to repair a pipeline delivering natural gas to the facility. Normally, the line would have to be shut down. In order to avoid problems and costs caused by interrupted production, the glassworks used the Williamson method. During the procedure, two plugging heads are used to isolate a section of the pipeline and a bypass is built to ensure an uninterrupted flow. The pipeline in Wołomin was successfully repaired without supplies being interrupted so the glassworks was able to continue work.

The procedure marked a turning point in Poland. The method drew the attention of the oil and gas giant, Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG), and then smaller private companies followed suit and bought the necessary equipment from us. Our technology soon spread and in six years it became commonplace in Poland’s natural gas sector. Other than high-pressure pipelines, it was applied to medium-pressure lines, which are the most important as far as natural gas buyers are concerned. As a result, residents of Polish cities and towns no longer see announcements advising them that deliveries of natural gas to their homes will be “temporarily interrupted.”

Importantly, the method avoids the need for major repairs that could cause natural gas to leak into the atmosphere, which used to happen in the past.

On June 4, your company turned 20. What would you say is the biggest achievement of T.D. Williamson Polska to date?
I believe the biggest accomplishment is several new products which we have successfully introduced in Poland, especially the T.D. Williamson method.

Our devices have been installed at most gas plants in the country and our method is commonly used in strategic pipelines, both natural gas lines and those which transport oil. This is a major success for us. The same is true for distribution pipelines.

Over the two decades, we have made a name for ourselves in the industry, as shown by the fact that our anniversary celebrations were attended by delegates from all oil refineries and gas plants in Poland. The industry recognizes us as a company which introduces new technology, pays a great deal of attention to safety and focuses on joint projects and exchange of expertise. Let me add that experience gathered by the Polish branch was crucial when a T.D. Williamson facility was under construction in Moscow.

The Moscow branch is now one of T.D. Williamson’s most important facilities in the world.

How is T.D. Williamson Polska planning to develop in the coming years?
While everybody’s talking about the economic crisis, our sector in Poland is booming. Around 1,000 kilometers of new natural gas pipelines are under construction—a level of activity that Poland has not seen for many years. We hope new transmission pipelines will prompt the construction of distribution pipelines. We want to be involved when new pipelines are incorporated into the existing network and help extend the distribution network with our equipment and methods. We are also going to become more involved in pipeline inspection. As regards T.D. Williamson itself in this part of the world, the company is working to strengthen its Central European branches. Poland would like to become a hub, making its presence felt in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and even the Balkan states. The other strategic goal in the coming years are joint projects with companies in Ukraine and Belarus.
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