The pipeline construction industry continues to make advances. In some regions this is for energy security (oil and gas) and in others water security is the critical issue. Steel pipes are coated internally and externally for long-term performance: Applied Market Information (AMI) is organising an international conference on Pipeline Coating in February 2013 in Vienna, to facilitate discussions between global pipeline protection professionals. The market situation will be outlined by AMI Consultant Noru Tsalic and some of the concerns of oilfield operators will be addressed by Petrobras and the Indian Oil Corporation. There are increasing challenges in pipeline operating conditions and this is driving research on coatings. High sulfur inside or outside the pipe is a highly corrosive environment and there has been worldwide research into pipeline design and coatings to combat the effects, for example Engineers India has looked at protective coatings for transporting high sulfur fuel oil and there is a new fluorine-modified epoxy material from Shanghai Hilong Shine New Material Company specifically for corrosive sulfur conditions. Internal plastic coatings have been used to protect injection and production flow lines in the US oil industry by NOV Tuboscope. In Russia SCR “Poisk” has developed a new coating material that has been tested with a major energy operator.
Physical conditions can be equally demanding for example in deep subsea pipelines, which operate at extreme temperatures under high pressures. Intecsea has innovative high temperature coatings for the subsea environment. Polyurethane is the main material used for insulation and Bayer Material Science has an enhanced polymer for this application. A study of mechanical fracture performance of coatings has been carried out by leading pipe coater Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung of Germany. Looking at the big picture, Charter Coating Services (2000) has reviewed the factors to be considered in external coating selection, while Exova has developed new procedures for testing coating integrity. Coatings are used to protect pipe contents too and it is vital that pipes carrying potable drinking water do not affect it. BS Coatings – Axson Group has studied this. Essar Steel in India has provided pipes for new water lines using food grade liquid epoxy internally on 80 and 92 inch diameter pipes with external 3 layer PE coatings. Internal coatings can facilitate smooth flow as well as providing protection for the steel pipeline. Hempel supplies coatings, which can increase gas flow by 15%. In the United Arab Emirates, Jotun is a leading provider of internal coating materials for friction reduction with sweet gas and protection with sour fields – the company sees rising demand including in carbon dioxide sequestration pipelines. Not all coating can be carried out in the factory and field joint coating is an ongoing subject of debate, with special equipment and materials development in this area. In Egypt, Petrojet has reviewed the different field joint coating systems. Shawcor has developed a comprehensive new pipe coating system with a chemically-modified factory applied main pipe coating with enhanced compatibility with a field joint coating system, and Berry Plastics has a new mobile coating technology too. In the more complex offshore situation there are additional factors and CRTS – an Aegion Company has developed specialised technology. Fast set PU is an alternative for field joint coating and a material has been developed by Madison Chemical Industries of Canada.