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Coatings, Corrosion Top Pipeline R&D

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

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Pipeline corrosion and anti-corrosion coatings will top the pipeline industry’s $9 million research agenda in 2012.

Members of the Pipeline Research Council International, a collaborative association of the world’s top pipeline companies, have already contributed nearly $9 million in direct funding to more than 50 projects in PRCI’s newly approved 2012 Research Program.

 Pipeline explosion in California
Pipeline integrity management will be a hot industry topic next year and is targeted in new rules proposed for owners and operators. IM issues were cited in a 2010 California pipeline explosion that killed eight people.

The research line-up, voted on by member companies, puts corrosion and anti-corrosion coatings at the top of the list. Integrity management will be another significant focus next year, PRCI said.

Pipeline owners and operators are facing intense public scrutiny in the wake of several highly publicized fatal pipeline ruptures nationwide in recent years.

In August, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Association proposed a new safety rule that could significantly increase requirements on gas pipeline operators and owners. The comment period on that proposal has been extended to Jan. 20, at the industry’s request.

Clear Agreement on Needs

“Each of our members is committed to the long-term reliability, safety and integrity of their systems,” said PRCI chairman Eric Amundsen. “Through the collaborative process and commitment of financial and intellectual resources, we are able to clearly agree on the needs of the industry and advance a technology development program that addresses those needs.”

PRCI’s 2012 program will address a spectrum of research needs and opportunities covering nearly every aspect of pipeline and facilities operations. Among the initiatives:


These initiatives will include coatings performance and effectiveness; stress corrosion cracking (SCC) susceptibility evaluations, mitigation and repair; internal corrosion threat assessment; re-inspection intervals for pipelines experiencing external corrosion; and pipeline integrity and assurance of reliability for SCC.

Corrosion also was a top concern of the $8 million 2011 research agenda, but coatings were not called out as an area of emphasis.

Design, Materials & Construction

These research initiatives will include:

• Alternate gas products;

• Improving transmission pipeline construction efficiency while maintaining quality standards;

• An ongoing effort with the International Pipeline and Offshore Contractors Association (IPLOCA) and the Interstate Natural Gas Association Foundation (INGAA Foundation);

• Materials, welding and non-destructive testing (NDT);

• Evaluation of composite pipeline repair systems for offshore applications;

• Reinforcement of onshore lines;

• Advancing transmission pipeline weld quality and efficiency;

• Structural integrity assessment, especially evaluating vintage pipelines’ fitness for service; and

• Structural significance of mechanical damage.

Other Highlights

PRCI research will also focus on these areas:

Operations & Integrity. This comprehensive portfolio will focus on developing new technology and improving tools and methods for onshore and offshore pipeline integrity management. High-priority programs include ERW/longitudinal seam pipe; small leak detection for liquid pipelines; mechanical damage inspection and characterization; and automating monitoring and surveillance of pipeline right-of-way corridors.

Compressor & Pump Station. These include regulatory compliance and fuel-efficiency issues.

Measurement will continue its focus on the performance of ultrasonic meters under varying operating conditions and installation configurations.

Underground Storage focuses on storage field integrity, including providing additional tools to operators to meet facility integrity management requirements.

“This research agenda demonstrates willingness by the industry to continue looking for ways to ensure a safer and more efficient pipeline network,” said PRCI president Cliff Johnson, who will chair the summit.

Pipeline Safety Summit Set

Johnson noted that PRCI would also host a pipeline R&D conference in January.

 PRCI President Cliff Johnson
The agenda shows the pipeline industry’s “willingness … to ensure a safer and more efficient pipeline network,” said PRCI president Cliff Johnson.

The Pipe Tech Americas Summit 2012, in Houston, will feature case studies, keynote sessions, interactive workshops and networking activities that address the most critical challenges faced by all oil and gas pipeline operators and owners.

Topics include direct assessment methodologies for measuring un-piggable pipes. Presenters and speakers will include representatives of PHMSA, Chesapeake Midstream Partners, TransCanada Pipelines Limited and Caiman Energy LLC.

Said Johnson, “These collaborative efforts continue to move the industry forward.”


Tagged categories: Corrosion control coatings; Linings; Pipeline; Protective coatings; Research

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