The objective of the proposed research is to demonstrate the protection capabilities and economic benefits of Oceanit’s internal pipe surface treatment, known as DragX™. DragX™ is a chemically resistant, water-and-oil repellent nanocomposite system that can be readily applied in-situ on natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines with a minimum of surface preparation, making it an ideal candidate for in-place retrofitting and refurbishment of existing pipelines without the need for expensive extraction and replacement. DragX™ is also able to significantly reduce the surface roughness, and subsequently, the frictional drag forces within a pipeline, improving throughput, decreasing energy costs of pressurization and pumping, and allowing for longer pipeline operation without interruption, reducing the methane emitted during pipe isolation and venting.
Oceanit Laboratories, Inc., Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
The vast, interconnected inter- and intra-state pipeline network is vital to the transportation of water, hazardous liquids, raw materials, and energy in the form of natural gas and liquid petroleum products. Although pipeline transport is safer and cheaper than ground transportation, they still pose a risk of major disaster due to infrastructure aging and failure. Disruptions to flow through corrosion and scale deposits can also significantly decrease transport efficiency, adding cost through additional pumping energy requirements, lost product, and unplanned emergency shutdowns.
While methods currently exist to monitor the health of a pipeline system as a whole, pinpoint inspection and location tools to identify and repair specific areas are not commercially available. Replacement of entire pipelines is non-viable due to the expensive cost and extended amounts of inoperability and determining which areas are in need of replacement proves to be a significant challenge. As the pipeline network continues to age, the cost of maintenance and monitoring of all these systems will continue to increase while becoming exponentially more difficult to address. Thus, there is an imminent need for a new approach that provides economically efficient retrofitting of existing pipelines in-place.
The United States has over 1.2 million miles of natural gas transport pipelines laid, more than any other country in the world, with the majority of these lines buried underground. This makes replacement or refurbishment of damaged pipelines cost-prohibitive and substantially limits the capability for widespread effective detection of pipeline health, deposit formation, and overall performance. The proposed research allows for a novel, cost-effective method of finding, repairing, and mitigating damage in pipeline interiors while being minimally disruptive to normal pipeline operation. The treatment can significantly improve the economics of energy transport by providing flow assurance, limiting catastrophic blowouts, and minimizing product loss from small but sustained leaks.
Key Benefits of DragX™
|Capital Expense Savings||Operational Expense Savings||Economic/Public Benefits|
|In situ application allows for avoidance of trenching/full pipe replacement.||Reduction in frequency of cleaning pig runs and associated downtime.||Significant increase in throughput due to increased flow rate of natural gas.|
|Improved compressor pump lifetime due to increased efficiency.||Reduction in energy consumed for compression and transport of gas product.||Reduced liability for CO2 emissions to the atmosphere due to maintenance-related pipeline opening/venting.|
|Corrosion inhibition of coating potentially allows for smaller corrosion allowance during the installation of new line (wall thickness, pipe material, chemical treatment)||Reduction of effort and cost used to clean pipeline after hydrostatic testing and disposal of subsequent water containing corrosion products.||Extends expected pipeline lifetime.|
Oceanit is currently preparing a second field trial where a severely corroded pipeline shall be inspected, cleaned, and coated via the EverPelTM system. Field characterization of the coating shall be conducted based on protocols developed by Oceanit, and a quality control and application guide shall be finalized in conjunction with Oceanit’s application partner. The EverPelTM coating shall be analyzed after application by selected third party laboratories for compatibility with existing imaging techniques such as MFL and UT, as well as surface adhesion and roughness. Oceanit has continued to refine its imaging and processing tool to highlight areas of heavy corrosion damage, and shall further demonstrate its efficacy in this field trial.
Oceanit will additionally look for opportunities to prove the technology commercially, as well as disseminate the results of this research to the public at large, including conference publications.