Glasgow-based pipeline specialist launches joint anti-corrosion research project with Saudi Arabia oil co.

 

A Swagelining specialist at work
A Swagelining specialist at work

By DARA BUTTERFIELD

A Glasgow-based company which designs and installs polymer lining systems for pipeline – has teamed up with Saudi Aramco – the Saudi Arabian oil company – and The Welding Institute (TWI) to launch a joint industry project to investigate the use of polymer lining in carbon steel pipelines.

The project, intended to examine the extent of corrosion in a polymer lined pipeline experiencing a sour hydrocarbon fluid, has currently had a total of £330,000 invested into it. Operations began in October 2014 and are expected to last around two and a half years.

Set up in 2009, Swagelining now employs more than 50 people at its base in Clydebank.

Internal corrosion is one of the most common causes of problems in pipeline operations and Swagelining has been working with a number of oil companies, resin producers, exploration contractors, universities and niche manufacturers to develop an integrated lining system.

Dr Steve Brogden, Technical Engineering Manager, Swagelining, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with Saudi Aramco and TWI on this. When compared with corrosion resistant alloys, polymer lining systems are attracting growing interest within the pipeline industry. This comes as a result of significant cost advantages, increased corrosion prevention and reduced fabrication and installation time.

“All three parties felt that it was time to build upon this interest and demonstrate concrete evidence of how polymer lining can perform under a range of conditions.

“We are excited by the potential this brings and look forward to seeing the results. We are confident this will represent a step change in pipeline management, particularly as we see operators looking to reduce costs whilst maintaining a high level of operational efficiency.”

The project will use applied testing on lined pipe sections to determine the corrosion rate during simulated service conditions for 180 days and look at the occurrence of liner collapse during multiple pressure cycles. Later it intends to gain an understanding of the transport processes through the partially confined polymeric layer.

The project has plans for further growth, achieved through sponsorship and involvement from other organisations, which will allow additional, more extensive testing of higher temperature polymeric and composite liners.

Brogden added: “We hope to attract input from further parties which can add value to this JIP, particularly in the latter stages as we look to perform tests under strenuous conditions.

“As the offshore oil and gas industry continues to move into more hazardous and extreme environments, it is critical that we demonstrate how polymer lining systems can continue to be used.”

Paul Woollin, Director of Research, TWI, said: “There is appreciable interest in the use of polymer lined pipe for affordable, corrosion resistant hydrocarbon production. Currently, there is a lack of supporting integrity data, in particular for sour fluids, to provide sufficient confidence for widespread use.

“TWI’s project specifically aims to address the primary issues from an industry perspective, namely the enduring concern of ‘liner collapse’ and risk of corrosion of the carbon steel pipe.”

* Meanwhile Melanie Reid from Edinburgh-based LUX Assure will present new corrosion technology at an industry  conference in Calgary, Canada, next week. February 24-26. LUX’s new chemical monitoring technology is described as a novel detection method for determining the optimum amount of corrosion inhibitor micelles in oil and gas production systems.

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