United Breathes New Life into Aging Pipeline Infrastructure

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:18

Mexico’s Energy Reform has opened up various interesting and unique investment opportunities for energy infrastructure in everything from upstream production facilities to tank terminals and pipelines. Some of the most compelling and less obvious opportunities though, come in updating and reconditioning aging infrastructure by giving it a new lease on life using leading-edge renovation technologies such as those offered by Aegion’s Corrosion Protection System.

Renovating existing infrastructure typically requires a fraction of the resources and time compared to new construction. For pipelines, investors can reduce a project’s financial requirements, risk and time to market by avoiding the cost and complexity of right-of-way passage and construction challenges in difficult terrain, factors that directly impact the bottom line.

United’s Tite Liner© and Safety Liner™ high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liner systems have been used for decades to line carbon steel pipelines to protect them against internal corrosion and abrasion. Internal HDPE liners and coatings provide a superb corrosion and abrasionresistant barrier for handling corrosive fluids such as sour crude, sour gas, produced water, brine and wet CO2 gas. Thermoplastic liners have a proven track record spanning three decades in successfully handling corrosive and abrasive fluids in upstream oil and gas applications, both onshore and offshore.

Interactive, tight-fitting thermoplastic liners are customized so that the outside diameter of the liner is larger than the internal diameter of the host pipe, resulting in a tight interference fit between the liner and the host pipe. The liner diameter and wall thickness are designed based on the host pipe’s internal diameter and the desired service application. To produce a cost-effective solution, the thinnest practical wall thickness is typically determined taking into account the physical limitations of the thermoplastic extrusion process as well as liner collapse resistance.

Recent advances in materials along with a better understanding of the interactive behavior of liners and the host pipe have opened opportunities for liners as structural reinforcement alternatives. When used interactively with other Aegion solutions, such as FYFE’s carbon fiber reinforcement products, carefully designed liners can span areas of reduced wall thickness and give deteriorated pipelines the strength they need to operate safely. Renovating existing pipelines rather than building new infrastructure offers a compelling combination that provides a significant impact on a project’s financial requirements and risk profile.

On the other hand, by pairing Corrpro’s cathodic protection solutions with Aegion’s Asset Integrity Technology hightech applications and advanced analytics, a customer has access to over 30 years’ worth of specialized midstream experience that provides the right information at the right time for KPI improvements that have a real impact. These specialized technologies leverage resources and systems, including real-time and historic cathodic protection system information, United’s LinerWatch™ real-time monitoring system, historical integrity data and advanced analytics using ESRI’s GIS mapping software all in an ultra-secure data storage platform.

A CO2 pipeline project that is underway in southern Mexico provides a perfect example where Aegion’s Corrosion Protection System can be used to give new life to deteriorated infrastructure that normally would have been written off. The project consists of a pair of CO2 transport pipelines that have been out of service for 22 years with minimal maintenance and no cathodic protection in place. The CO2 transport system is a central component of a highprofile project that needs to be commissioned by the end of 2017 and which requires the safe and continuous supply of CO2 gas for the next 25 years.

After Aegion’s Corrosion Protection team ran a full-blown integrity assessment of the system, it was determined the pipelines were not fit for service in their current state. A careful analysis of options gave the owner two alternatives: spend at least two years building a new system or select a comprehensive rehabilitation package to bring the system back to life. The choice was clear: install United’s interactive Safety Liner™ system including LinerWatch™ for real-time data collection, a fully automated cathodic protection system and external reinforcement using FYFE’s carbon fiber solution that acts as the pipeline’s required CO2 crack arrestors.

By choosing to renovate the infrastructure, the customer will commission the pipelines in a matter of months instead of years, spending half the investment required to build new pipelines while reducing right-of-way and construction risks. This is a powerful combination that underscores the value of breathing new life into aging pipeline infrastructure.