Pipe Coating for Thermal Insulation
Flow assurance for pipes is essential to provide companies a reliable and continuous production of oil and gas during the whole field life. Extracting Oil and Gas in remote areas under severe conditions result in higher pressure, higher temperature and the need for better insulation coating materials (see Elastomer thermo plastic). Hydrate formations, crack propagation in the coating or hydrolysis are not acceptable.
Wet insulation based on Polyurethane or Polypropylene materials have shown some limitations whereas cost and weight may disqualify the use of pipe-in-pipe systems.
Vegaprene: a materials with outstanding properties
Tideep Joint Industry Project conclusions encourage Hutchinson to propose the Vegaprene compound (see Vegaprene) for Offshore thermal insulation applications. Facing other materials, the very low thermal conductivity of the Vegaprene as well as the good temperature resistance and good elongation at break were enough to further investigate a coating system.
Successful full scale tests followed by industrial coating of 14” pipes were implemented to demonstrate the good extrusion of the Vegaprene pellets applied by successive passes onto the pipe.
Vegaprene is a rubber matrix with fine nodules of thermoplastic exhibiting intrinsic advantages for thermal insulation, temperature resistance, crack resistance, pressure resistance with no limitation of water depth.
An End to End protection
The most interesting perspective of the use of the Vegaprene is to provide the Industry a consistent end to end protection for the complete flowlines including field joints, bends and fittings.
Vegaprene injected for Field Joints have a very good adhesion to the pipe already coated. The smaller materials thickness required for the same insulation and the perfect compatibility with the Field Joint may bring the industry a step forward. Consistent protection will improve the coating quality and time saving will reduce costs. Coaters using Vegaprene will provide significant benefit to the whole industry.