How to Get Time on Your Side with Steel Pipeline Repair
In oil and gas terms, a decade is little more than a heartbeat. According to the American Petroleum Institute, it can take up to 10 years just to bring an offshore well from leasing to production, and even longer in areas with no preexisting infrastructure.
After spending so much time and potentially billions of dollars on geological investigation, drilling, evaluation, more drilling, planning and installing facilities and a system to bring production to market, the idea of then having to shut down for repairs is one that understandably fills an operator with dread.
This means the lifetime of steel pipelines is a critical issue for everyone from maintenance, quality and integrity managers to operations managers and managed service providers. The pipelines are extremely capital-intensive – no matter whether they are used to transport gas, water, crude oil, wastewater or any other medium. It therefore pays to continue to operate them as long as possible after the planned amortization and depreciation period.
However, because the steel shell is constantly exposed, externally or internally, to the combined corrosive effects of climate factors, mechanical stress and chemical attack, pipeline operators habitually have to deal with cracks, holes, fractures and leaks.
Without question, quality and safety are absolute priorities in this highly sensitive repair business, which is why it has previously been common practice to completely replace the affected sections of pipework. Unfortunately, this inevitably leads to the worst-case scenario of an unplanned shutdown until repairs are completed.
Repair, not replace
As an alternative, composite pipe repair is now a key application in the industry. A decade might not be long in oil and gas, but the chance to extend a pipeline’s lifetime by 20 years is one most operators would jump at, especially if it means no unplanned downtime. Henkel’s LOCTITE Composite Pipe Repair System is a fast and economical alternative to pipe replacement, capable of doing just that.
Henkel’s innovative repair system can be used in all upstream, midstream and downstream areas, and is part of its leading role as a solution provider for both rotating and static equipment. The LOCTITE system reinforces and seals pipes minimizing interruption in operations and even with high internal pressure, thus avoiding stoppages and commercial losses.
The system is suitable to repair both Type A (non-through wall) as well as Type B (through wall) defects, covering all repair classes 1-3. In addition to straight pipes, it can repair components such as bends, tees, reducers and flanges.
The first step is to clean and sandblast the surface in the repair area. Since blasted metal surfaces are extremely susceptible to flash rust, Henkel recommends applying the corrosion inhibitor Loctite SF 7515 as a surface treatment that offers highly reliable temporary protection.
In case of Type A defects, the original outer pipe diameter needs to be restored by filling the cavities with Loctite EA 3478. The pipe is then wrapped with high-strength glass-carbon fiber tape Loctite 5085 that has been impregnated with the temperature-resistant, two-part epoxy resin Loctite PC 7210.
This adhesive has been specifically engineered for bonding to steel substrates and exhibits exceptionally high adhesion. The repaired section is then sealed with the sprayable ceramic topcoat Loctite PC 7255. The composite repair system thus reinforces steel pipes for continued duty under high pressure and thermal cycling while increasing their chemical resistance.
Approved and certified
Importantly, the system has been certified and its software approved as a calculation tool by DNV GL in accordance with the global quality standard ISO 24817. This standard defines the criteria for use of composite systems in petrochemical, oil and gas industries. The standard temperature repair system has also been approved by Lloyds Register, conforming to the ASME PCC-2 standard, and by TÜV Rheinland. In the extremely complex realm of certification, LOCTITE may well be the only supplier on the market certified by three inspection authorities.
A large number of existing plants around the world are reaching an age when they require a general overhaul, and the LOCTITE system is already approved and utilized by major global operators in refineries, petrochemical plants, power plants and water treatment systems. The reason is simple – it offers a long term, cost-effective solution through mature technology that is robustly certified in terms of its safety. Ten years may only be a heartbeat in the oil and gas industry, but 20 years from now there will be a lot of plants operating smoothly thanks to repairs made today using Henkel’s LOCTITE Composite Pipe Repair System.