Corrosion-resistant plastic pipes with permeation barrier for safe transport of contaminated fluids from industrial processes or exploration
Proceedings Publication Date
Dr. Thorsten Späth
Thorsten Spaeth
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Corrosion-resistant plastic pipe systems are the perfect option for transporting aqueous solutions resulting from industrial separation processes or separation processes involved in oil or natural gas exploration which are potentially environmentally hazardous, since they are contaminated with volatile organic hydrocarbons.

In the past, leakages caused by corrosion damages on steel pipes or by permeation of hydrocarbons through pipes made of polyethylene (PE) have resulted in environmental damages. In order to prove the suitability of plastic pipes with an integrated barrier layer tests over a 4-year time period were done in the context of field- and laboratory trials.

For the tests performed during real operation of a crude oil production facility, the composition of the media was given by the real case. For the systematic laboratory tests, clearly specified test liquids which came as close to providing a representative sample as possible were used. In order to simulate the most drastic conditions conceivable, the test liquids were a saturated solution consisting of various volatile hydrocarbons, some of them also chlorinated, and a mixture of pure volatile hydrocarbons with a 10-per-cent share of aromatic toluene.

In contrast to single-layer plastic pipes, the pipes featuring a barrier layer were shown to be resistant to permeation of all of the dissolved volatile organic ingredients examined by the tests.

Thus, plastic pipes equipped with an barrier layer can be recommended for loss-free transport of aqueous liquids containing hydrocarbons, such as production water in crude oil and natural gas firms. Combined with permanent monitoring for the purpose of damage detection, they also complie with even the strictest environmental requirements, thus enabling reliable protection of the environment.

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