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Impact, weight and anti-corrosion coatings for pipelines

Impact, weight and anti-corrosion coatings for pipelines
The pipeline industry is continuing to grow worldwide to provide increased security of energy and water supply, and with hostile environmental conditions in many locations, the pipeline protection market is expanding to meet the requirements.

Noru Tsalic, Consultant at Applied Market Information, has valued the pipe coating market at around 5 billion euros in 2009 and predicts expansion to 6.5 billion euros by 2013.

Tsalic was speaking at the February 2011 annual AMI conference on Pipeline Coating in Vienna, Austria. The highest demand for coatings is in Asia with 23% market share, followed by Europe at 19%, then NAFTA and the CIS states at 17% each.
There are a variety of different types of coatings providing different functions: concrete is the highest value sector at 42%, external anticorrosion at 38%, internal coatings at 11% and thermal insulation at 9%. Gas and oil use most of the coated pipeline, with a small fraction in water distribution. There is a newly developing market for pipelines in carbon capture and storage – the International Energy Agency predicts the need for 43,000 km by around 2030 for 1.44 Gt of carbon dioxide capture per annum.

Europe currently imports 54% of its energy requirements each year, and this will rise to 70% in 2030 as its resources are depleted, according to Denso. This is driving the push to build new pipelines including Nord Stream, OPAL and NEL.

Europipe is supplying pipe, Max Streicher GmbH is involved in construction and Denso is carrying out field joint coating. Nord Stream is around 1019km long and will carry gas from Russia to Europe, where the OPAL and NEL pipelines will connect it to the existing network in Central and Western Europe. The basic external coating (by Mulheim Pipe Coating) comprises fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) primer, copolymer adhesive, HDPE and finally a sintered PE rough coat to prevent slipping.

Much of this pipe is also being coated with an outer heavy concrete at two sites in Mukran and Kotka by Eupec France. The owners of Nord Stream are Gazprom (51%), Wintershall (15.5%), Eon Ruhrgas (15.5%), Gas Unie (9%) and GDF Suez (9%). Denso is using a 2-tape self-amalgamating system for field joint coating of the OPAL pipeline.

There are three main oil companies in China: SinoPec and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)-PetroChina onshore, and CNOOC offshore. At the end of 2009 PetroChina operated around 29,000km of natural gas pipelines, 13,000km of crude oil pipelines and around 9,000km of oil products pipelines.

In the 1950s China constructed pipeline with asphalt coatings, starting in 1958 with the first crude oil pipe in Xinjiang. In the 1980s fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) was introduced and liquid epoxy is now also in use. Chief Engineer Liu Lingli of PetroChina indicated that the contemporary trend is for 3-layer polyethylene (PE) coating on line pipe, and FBE at stations.

Ageing pipes that need recoating are generally given a primary coating and wrapped in PE tape. There are more international pipelines now, for example, the Sino-Russia crude oil pipeline, the Sino-Kazakhstan natural gas/crude oil pipeline and the Sino-Burma natural gas/ crude oil pipeline. There are plans to build another 50,000km of pipelines from 2011-2015.

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