Reinforced epoxy systems boost corrosion resistance

Paul Boughton

Rick Spiering outlines the benefits of glassfibre reinforced epoxy pipework.

Historically, offshore production platform and drilling rig owners and operators have always had to accept the grim reality of replacing the majority of metal piping systems due to the highly corrosive operational environment and conditions they face. This means that the total cost of these piping systems usually ends up being two, three, or even more, times the original investment costs within the planned operational life of the asset and that is for the basic materials only.

In 1994, a PSA (Production Sharing Agreement) was signed in Azerbaijan between the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC). This PSA grants the consortium to develop and manage the ACG field in the Caspian sea. British Petroleum (BP) was appointed operator for the PSA on behalf of the member companies.

The contract to provide design and procurement for the full field development of the ACG offshore fields was awarded to Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR).

KBR, together with BP evaluated potential companies capable of providing both materials and expertise for their requirements. They found a reliable partner in Ameron Fiberglass-Composite Pipe for the supply of firewater, coolingwater, seawater, sewage, non-hazardous open drains and atmospheric vent systems, allowing them both to supply and conform to their stringent quality requirements and specifications.

Ameron’s Bondstrand Glassfiber Reinforced Epoxy (GRE) pipework is designed to the UKOOA and ISO14692 specification and all pipe and components are conductive. All normally wetted and filled pipework meets the requirement of IMO A753 L3 standard for fire rating. The dry deluge pipework is rated for a five minute resistance to jet fire. Favuseal fire protection is applied to meet this requirement.

In addition to the material supply, Ameron reviewed the specifications and technical documents and reviewed the stress analysis made by KBR. Furthermore, Ameron provided files with component dimensions for direct input in the 3D PDMS model. Pipex (Ameron distributor for the UK) supported Ameron in securing the contract, wrote the GRE project standard, and reviewed the isometrics.

Operational safety conditions are of paramount importance for all offshore hydrocarbon and gas production installations in order to protect both the asset and more importantly the lives of personnel. The consideration of product performance when exposed to fire is therefore a vital matter. Behaviour of the pipe system can be itemised in fire conditions through recognised performance specifications including surface spread of flame, fire endurance, smoke and toxic emissions. Suppliers were required to provide proof of substantiated third party testing covering these conditions, that had been performed previously.

In common with all Bondstrand GRE pipe systems, Bondstrand proves easy installation.
Due to lightness of weight, specific gravity of 1.8, and consistent machine made jointing system, handling and jointing procedures are achieved with less call for craneage and riggers than with heavier metallic systems.

Since certified welders were not required, installation costs were much reduced over fabrication of traditional metallic systems.

The consequent reduction of arc welding equipment and torch welders effectively increased site safety by lowering the risk of fire, explosions and personnel injury because of the absence of sparks and flames.

For the AIOC project, more than 20000 metres of Bondstrand piping, in sizes from 1-in through 30-in (25mm to 600mm) diameter were installed within the project.

To ensure and provide electrical continuity throughout the assembled Bondstrand pipe systems on the project, a conductive adhesive was used for all bonded pipe and fitting joints, effectively eliminating risk of stray discharges of static electricity while the system could be grounded at appropriate points using special bonded grounding saddles and connecting straps to the structure.

Like all Bondstrand systems, the Bondstrand 7000 and 3400 conductive systems that are used for the AIOC platforms, are easy to install.

Rick Spiering is with Ameron Fiberglass-Composite Pipe Group/Europe, Geldermalsen, The Netherlands. www.ameron-fpg.com

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