Bristol, UK - At a meeting on pipeline coatings in Vienna, 1-3 Feb 2010, organised by Applied Market Information Ltd, experts noted encouraging prospects for the pipeline coating sector. While the economic crisis has affected pipeline construction -- becauseof the lack of availability of finance for new projects, and because ofthe drop in oil and gas prices -- oil prices are now starting to riseagain in 2010, lifting the outlook for pipe coating considerably,according to Noru Tsalic, an AMI consultant, speaking at this year'smeeting.
AMI is planning to hold its next conference on pipeline coating 7-9 Feb 2011 at the Imperial Riding Schooll, Vienna, Austria.
At AMI's 2010 event, delegates heard that Russia has the largest natural gas reserves as well as being in the top ten countries for oil reserves. Transneft has 49 000 km of pipelines and Gazprom, the world's largest gas company, has 169 000 km of gas-transmission systems. The most common onshore coating in Russia is polyethylene, with the average pipeline lifespan at 33 years and around 34 percent of oil trunklines over 30 years old. Such data shows the huge potential for market growth, said an AMI release on the meeting.
Michael Surkein, of major petroleum producer ExxonMobil's development division, reviewed materials for pipe coatings, noting that fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) is used for temperatures up to 95 deg C, with 3-layer polyethylene up to 80 and 3-layer polypropylene (PP) up to 110 deg C (commonly used subsea). Polyurethane is sometimes added for insulation, Surkein said, adding that in this case, compatibility with the polyolefin coating becomes an issue.
StatoilHydro reviewed the long-term performance of the thermal insulation of flowlines in the Kristin HPHT field, with a variety of insulation polymers considered, including polysulphone, polyether sulphone, polyurea, 5-layer PP foam, polyamide thermal barrier and 5-layer PP, HT rubber, syntactic phenolic foam and syntactic epoxy with a PU outer insulation layer.
The polysulphone, polyurea and polyamide systems all suffered from hydrolysis, while the syntactic phenolic was not reelable, said Statoil. The 5-layer PP foam system, which was hydrolysis resistant at 160 deg C, was selected and has been in use since autumn 2005.
Dow Hyperlast described its new closed-loop, portable, continuous mixing plant to generate glass syntactic polyurethane on site. The company claims that this system, being used in the Gumusut-Kakap project of Sabah Shell Petroleum Co., gives the fastest line pipe insulation in the world.
Many pipelines are ageing, notes AMI, quoting a study by Berry Plastics of the durability of coatings. The company compared 3-layer PE, 3-layer PP, liquid epoxy, FBE, polyurethane, cold applied tapes and heat shrinkable sleeves, using extended periods of hot water immersion (HWI). In 1987, for example, Shell used 120 days for its HWI testing. Berry emphasises that the water should be heated to the maximum pipe-operating temperature, but concludes that the test is a useful method of evaluating coating performance.
See more at http://www2.amiplastics.com/Events/Event.aspx?code=C369&sec=1222