Floating production and subsea specialist Crondall Energy is this week kicking off a study looking at pipeline coatings with the aim of advancing industry understanding of the potential flow assurance benefits of internal coatings.
The study is in partnership with Heriot-Watt University, The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and The Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) and will be led by Crondall Energy’s in-house Flow Assurance team in Aberdeen.
The methodology for the project will consist of a three tiered approach. Initially data mining will be used to exploit existing published data coupled with expert knowledge to develop computational models of the polymeric coating behaviour, which will be analyzed and evaluated in the subsequent experimental phase. This will be followed by the experimental phase which will focus on correlating wax deposition behaviour with coating surface parameters and flow characteristics. These experiments will use in-situ monitoring of the coatings under operating conditions. The final stage of the project will establish potential alternative polymer materials for improved internal coatings.
Crondall Energy Subsea Director and Flow Assurance expert Murray Anderson explains the reasoning behind this study:
“Commercially acceptable pipeline internal coatings are available and employed in the prevention of deposit build up, as well as corrosion prevention. However, the behaviour of these coatings in the harsh conditions experienced in oil and gas pipelines is poorly understood. Consequently, the polymers currently used in such organic-based coatings are compromised due to the lack of fundamental knowledge of their performance at operating conditions. Our study aims to evaluate current internal pipeline coatings, identify potential novel solutions and systematically test them in laboratory equipment at simulated pipeline conditions.
“Internal pipeline coatings offer significant opportunities for the development of small pools in potentially eliminating the need for the major elements of conventional flow assurance solutions, including chemical, heat and insulation requirements. However, there is currently no significant experimental evidence that allows a robust estimate of how a coated system might perform under oil and gas pipeline operating conditions”.
Chris Pearson, Marginal Development Solution Centre Manager at The Oil and Gas Technology Centre, added:
“The OGTC is delighted to support a project that could lead to innovation in the field of flow assurance. By delivering key improvements in this area we can reduce the need for intervention, lower the cost for marginal field developments and maximise economic recovery. We look forward to seeing the outcome of this study and potential benefits for the oil and gas industry.”
The results of the study will be available to market and will present the laboratory testing data, thus allowing any subsequent projects to more confidently assess the use of internal coatings and the potential cost benefits of doing so in an oil and gas pipeline environment.