Low prices for oil and natural gas are forcing major oil companies to postpone new investments. They are instead striving to maintain existing pipelines and drilling facilities for as long as possible. The corrosion of steel pipelines is promoted especially by the hydrogen sulfide and high temperatures that are brought by the oil and natural gas extracted from deep underground.
One solution is to use polyamide 12 from the High Performance Polymers (HP) Business Line. This high-performance plastic is formed into pipes that are rolled onto big reels. These pipes are then inserted into the existing pipelines to toughen them up and thus increase their service life.
To do this, the builder cuts through the underground steel pipeline every 500 meters. Using a special system that compresses the extruded flexible plastic pipe, the builder inserts it into one end of the section of pipeline. The builder then uses a cable to thread the several-kilometer-long pipe through all of the sections until the other end of the pipeline is reached. “Because the PA 12 pipe has a wider diameter than the steel pipeline and the PA 12 ‘remembers’ its original shape, the pipe attempts to regain its original size, causing it to press flush against the pipeline’s inner wall,” says Daniel Demicoli, a technical marketing employee on the Oil & Gas team at HP. In the final step, the separated sections of the old pipeline are simply welded back together. The process sounds very simple and is successful. Thanks to polyamide 12, HP is the market leader in this segment, a position it intends to keep.