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Title: Successful application of reinforced-thermoset-resin (RTR) pipe for oil production in Saudi Arabia
Category: Technical papers from the Journal of Pipeline Engineering
Downloadable: Yes 
Project No.:
Research Agency:
Catalog No.: 2261s
Date of Publication: Jun 1 2012 12:00AM
Price: $25.00 US
Authors: Dr Alwin Fahrer and Riad El Ferkh
Abstract: OVER THE LAST YEARS composites have become increasingly accepted materials for critical structural applications. An interesting example of this trend can be found in the aerospace industry, where in the 1970s composite panels were introduced for the aeroplane interiors. The main drivers for this development were the inherent light weight of composites, and their ease of manufacturing. By the 1980s composites started to replace metals (such as aluminium) for structural load-bearing applications such as airbrakes, rudders, and spoilers. Over the last two decades we have seen these trends accelerating and the latest commercial aircrafts (such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus 350-900) comprised of more than 50% of composite materials. Recent composite material applications are wings, fuselage, and tail body.

A similar trend can be found in the Middle Eastern oil and gas industry, where (coated) steel has been the dominant pipe material over the last decades. As time progressed, the oil fields in the region have become increasingly depleted and require water injection to maintain pressure in the reservoirs and keep production to required levels. This water injection increases the water-cut of the produced fluids, which results in a very corrosive mixture for steel piping. For this reason, reinforced-thermoset-resin pipe (RTR) pipe has found more and more acceptance as an alternative pipe material for transportation of produced fluids and injection water.

As a leading supplier of fibreglass pipe systems, Future Pipe Industries (FPI) has installed in excess of 500km of DN200-DN500 epoxy-reinforced medium-pressure pipe for oil field applications in the Middle East. Recently, the company has started implementation of high-pressure RTR pipe (up to 140 bar) for oil and gas applications in the region. Saudi Aramco has been one of the leading end-users that have embraced the new technology and several pilot projects have been successfully installed.

This paper discusses how RTR pipe was successfully applied in oil field production pipelines in Saudi Arabia. It covers product and system design, production, qualification, and QA/QC, as well as installation and commissioning procedures. Several examples of successfully completed projects are also covered, and finally the paper concludes that RTR pipe has been demonstrated to offer a viable alternative to traditional pipe materials in oil production. With the increased water-cut in the produced fluids, and the inherent corrosion resistance of RTR, the authors believe that RTR pipe systems will become the material of choice for these types of applications.

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