Oil & Gas Materials Expertise

The structure of oilfield rigs and pipelines is primarily composed of steel, however many non-metallic materials make up vital components and coatings in the oil and gas industry. The next AMI international conference on Oil & Gas Non-Metallics 2015 features top experts and covers a wide range of applications of engineering and high performance polymers. It takes place in London at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel from 8th-10th December 2015. Non-metallic materials in oilfield engineering comprise primarily composites, thermoset resins, thermoplastics and elastomers, alongside ceramics and high performance glass. There are new challenging drilling environments with high levels of sour gas, ultra deep sea platforms and extremes of heat (HPHT), cold, pressure and abrasive climates. In gas and oil recovery from fracking there are new equipment requirements too.

Often polymers are combined with steel materials, for example Petronas Research in Malaysia has developed a composite repair and rehabilitation system for oilfield pipelines. Composite pipes are increasingly being specified and Saudi Aramco has looked at the applications and challenges of using these pipes in hydrocarbon service, while the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Tubular Goods Research Institute has evaluated composite pipes for more extreme conditions, and Magma Global has expertise in the qualification of this technology. Ube has developed diols for durable inner polyurethane pipeline coatings. One alternative to pipe coatings is to use a thermoplastic liner and United Pipeline Systems has compiled some case studies on this topic.

Maintenance is a big factor in oilfield economics and having effective repair technologies and replacement schedules can minimise downtime and maximise oil recovery. Coatings provide vital protection in harsh environments: Oceaneering Asset Integrity has developed a system for economic corrosion and insulation management in oilfield rigs. TWI and Schlumberger Gould Research have tested polymer layers as barriers to species that are harmful to carbon steel. In France, Hutchinson has developed a new heat insulation material for pipeline coating and one of the latest innovations from Trelleborg is a mobile production unit for rubber-based thermal insulation. From the USA, Materia has developed a novel thermoset polymer for high temperature subsea insulation. The adhesive joints on rigs are critical and 3M has focused on new solutions from platform to subsea.

The demand for minimising risk in oil and gas operations is driving the development of extensive qualification procedures for materials and components. Airborne Oil & Gas has examined the chemical resistance of thermoplastic composite pipe used in offshore applications, while Teledyne Scientific has worked to qualify glass and ceramics for HPHT wellhead feedthroughs. The NORSOK standards are widely used offshore and Dr Alexandra Torgersen has studied the fluid compatibility methodology outlined in NORSOK M710.

Elastomers are used widely in oilfield applications from insulation to seals and packers. Dunlop Oil & Marine has focused on developing a lifetime prediction methodology for bonded flexible hoses exposed to variable service temperatures. CDI Energy Products has examined the sealing and wear performance of polymers in oil and gas applications to assist in material selection. The issue of rapid gas decompression of elastomer materials in extreme conditions has been studied by CETIM in France.

With increasing demands from industry, materials experts have been developing next generation polymers. For example, DuPont International has developed high performance polyimide for components to improve sealing in cryogenic ball valve liquid natural gas (LNG) service and Lehmann & Voss have new PEEK-based compounds for the oil & gas sector. Meanwhile, Quadrant EPP is educating the industry in successful specification writing using the “shape data approach”.

AMI’s Oil & Gas Non-Metallics 2015 conference in December in London offers a technical forum for oil and gas operators, engineers, contractors and material and equipment suppliers to debate the use of polymer materials in critical applications.

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