Hot tapping

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Hot tapping,[1][2] or pressure tapping, is the method of making a connection to existing piping or pressure vessels without the interruption of emptying that section of pipe or vessel. This means that a pipe or tank can continue to be in operation whilst maintenance or modifications are being done to it. The process is also used to drain off pressurised casing fluids.[3]

Hot tapping is also the first procedure in line stopping, where a hole saw is used to make an opening in the pipe, so a line plugging head can be inserted.

Situations in which welding operations are prohibited on equipment which contains:

Based on the above, welding on equipment or pipe which contains hazardous substances or conditions as listed below (even in small quantities) shall not be performed unless positive evidence has been obtained that welding/hot tapping can be applied safely.


Constraints based on general hazard in the event of line puncturing during welding, not the welding process. Conditions:

Note: The above list is not exhaustive, but gives an indication only.


  1. ^ "Hot Tapping" (PDF). Koppl Pipeline Services, Inc. 
  2. ^ "Hot Tapping" (in German). TAS Schwinghammer. 
  3. ^ Hot Tapping summary by Claxton Engineering

Further reading[edit]

  • American Petroleum Institute (API): Safe Hot Tapping Practices in the Petroleum & Petrochemical Industries, API Recommended Practice 2201, 5th edition, July 2003.