Gas pipes made from Vestamid NRG

Gas pipes made from Vestamid NRG

Polymers that help maintain pipelines

Evonik Industries is successfully pitching its pipes made of polyamide 12 (PA 12) as an excellent alternative to steel pipes for gas distribution lines, writes Pummy Kaul

April 2019

At a time when low prices for oil and natural gas are forcing major oil companies to postpone new investments and are instead striving to maintain existing pipelines for as long as possible, Germany-based Evonik Industries says its high-performance polymers are uniquely positioned to tackle these issues.

“For a long time, our region devoted a lot of attention to mastering the fast growth driven by the oil and gas industry. Today, I believe that this energy is more and more complemented by a drive to grow not only rapidly but also efficiently, and lowering the costs of installing and maintaining gas distribution grids are an important part of this trend.  At Evonik MEA, we are proud that our polyamide 12 (PA12) solutions provide a valuable contribution to increase efficiency in this field,” said Hendrik Schoenfelder, president of Evonik Middle East and Africa.

Hartmann: Vestamid NRG is an award winning product

Hartmann: Vestamid NRG is an award winning product

“Polyamide 12 high-performance plastic helps with these issues because it is formed into pipes that are rolled onto big reels. These pipes are then lined into the existing pipelines to toughen them up and thus increase their service life,” said Markus Hartmann, head of segment Oil & Gas High Performance Polymers, Evonik.

The company has recently announced to build a new polyamide 12 (PA12) production complex at its largest site, Marl Chemical Park in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

The project, involving an approximate €400 million ($452 million), is Evonik’s largest investment in Germany so far, and will more than double the Group’s overall PA12 capacity. Besides oil and gas pipeline, PA12 is in demand in attractive growth markets such as the automotive industry and 3D printing.

Referring to Evonik’s Vestamid NRG, Hartman said it is a polyamide 12 (PA 12) product specifically developed for energy-efficient oil and gas pipelines.

“One of our key offering used in the physical infrastructure of flowlines is Vestamid NRG PA12 used high-pressure gas pipelines. In fact, this product is a winner of the European Plastics Innovation Award,” said Hartmann.

Vestamid NRG offers an outstanding property profile for high-pressure pipelines and enables gas utilities to effectively build up their subterranean pipeline networks without any concern about losses in throughput performance.

Schoenfelder: PA12 solutions increase efficiency

Schoenfelder: PA12 solutions increase efficiency

A number of installations, including in the US, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia, have demonstrated that pipes made of PA 12 allow for significant savings in labour, installation and maintenance cost compared to steel.

The product offers flexible selection of length–especially over extended installation sections which saves time and cost because fewer welding seams are required. Installers can use the same equipment as for PE pipes. In addition, no anti-corrosive treatment is required and the material enables trenchless installation, which also lowers cost.

“The corrosion of steel pipelines is promoted especially by the hydrogen sulphide and high temperatures that are brought by the oil and natural gas extracted from deep underground,” he pointed out.

For many years, steel was the only material available for gas piping for pressures ranging between 10 and 18 bar. Steel had no competition until the arrival of Vestamid NRG, a polyamide 12 (PA 12) product. This material withstands operating pressures of up to 16 bar, making it suitable for distribution lines and industrial connections. Additionally, fittings and end caps are made of the same material.

Vestamid NRG combines the established liner technology and the custom-tailored products from Evonik that can be an alternative to corrosion resistant alloy pipes. Unlike corrosion resistant alloy pipes currently used for hydrocarbon transportation and carbon steel pipes, Vestamid NRG protects against internal corrosion and offers an enormous weight and price advantage.

“PA 12 is an excellent alternative to steel pipe in high-pressure applications up to 18 bars for gas distribution lines. It has been used as fuel lines in cars and for air brake tubing in trucks and now in gas delivery systems,” Hartmann added.

According to Evonik, it has successfully developed PA 12 moulding compounds that meet the requirements of large-volume gas piping including: gas resistance and impermeability; pressure and aging stability; mechanical strength and durability; extremely well resistance against slow crack propagation; highly resistant to damage at the construction site or during installation; can be laid without sand bedding and; suitable for horizontal directional drilling.

Pipes made of Vestamid NRG 2101 have undergone all of the usual tests for pressurised gas lines standardised both in the ISO 16486 series for raw materials, piping, moulded components, valves, and suitability for use, as well as in guidelines for planning, handling, and installing PA12.

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