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It a continuous process – pipeline operators are renewing and repairing existing pipes and laying new pipelines to secure energy and water supplies across the world.

Oil, gas and water are being transported under very hostile conditions, including extremes of temperature and pressure from subsea to deserts and arctic environments.

The steel pipelines carrying these materials have to be protected from both the exterior and from interior corrosive factors in the fluid that is being transported.

This is carried out using techniques such as cathodic protection and polymeric coatings. For example, DuPont has engineered internal coatings for downhole production tubes. Adhesion of coatings is vital: Dow Coating Materials has novel technology to improve coating with fusion-bonded epoxy (FBE).

Quality control is critical in this industry and there are case studies from leading companies.

Gazprom Vniigaz is studying the standards of pipe coating in the northern sections of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline and the Safa Rolling and Pipe Mills company has been comparing testing protocols for cathodic disbondment.

In the operating area, Statoil has been examining the temperature performance of polyurethane field joints.

For subsea insulation, Total Exploration and Production is looking for wet thermal insulation coatings and suitable qualification methods.

This is also an area of interest to Trelleborg Offshore, which supplies custom coating thermal insulation systems.

In the Middle East Borouge has been assisting in applying a 3-layer polyethylene coating to protect the mega Ras al Zour to Riyadh water pipeline.

In Malaysia, Petronas has worked on the development of a toughened 3-layer PP coating system and the leading Indian company, Welspun, has studied the advantages of a PE coating and epoxy compared to cement.

For rehabilitation in the field, Kleiss has a viscoelastic material and Trenton has methods to help prevent corrosion in carrier pipes.

Field joint coating systems are critical to integrity and it can be hard to attain the factory applied levels of sealing.

Alongside this there is intense international interest in pipeline integrity and delegates from around 40 nations are expected to meet to discuss current issues and solutions at the AMI conference, Pipeline Coating 2012, which takes place from 27-29 February in Vienna, Austria. Expert consultant Noru Tsalic of AMI will lead the event with a review of market trends.

Pipeline operators are looking for more robust, durable protection and the latest research on this subject, including new pipe coating materials, will be presented at ‘Pipeline Coating 2012’.

Adapted from Construction Magazine Newsletter 2011

(this article written for 1BINA.my)