Established in 2004, ITI Energy is part of ITI Scotland Ltd, a Scottish Executive funded initiative, focused on driving sustainable economic growth in Scotland through ownership of commercially targeted R&D programmes that deliver world-class intellectual assets. ITI Energy identifies energy (and energy-related) technologies required to address future global market opportunities then funds and manages R&D Programmes and the subsequent commercial exploitation of new intellectual property (IP).
Traditionally, the oil and gas industry has specified steel or steel alloys for its pipelines. Engineering improvements in metallurgy, design and construction of pipelines has led to the introduction of high cost alloys to meet the ever increasing challenges facing this industry. ITI Energy is investing £3 million in an R&D programme to develop a low-cost, lightweight, high strength X200 pipeline technology capable of being manufactured on-site in a continuous process. Recent testing has shown that 3mm wall pipe has withstood burst pressures in excess of 270 bar. The resulting technology is expected to have a range of key energy applications, including onshore and offshore pipelines for the oil & gas industry. The helical nature of the pipe could allow the incorporation of trace heating to assist flow or instrumentation to condition monitor the performance of the pipe. Furthermore, easy integration of corrosion resistant liners that protect the pipeline makes the solution particularly relevant in aggressive environments such as high CO2 or sour gas gathering lines.
The ability to significantly reduce pipe wall thickness (and therefore weight and material costs), while maintaining strength, combined with the on-site manufacturing process will bring a number of benefits to the pipeline industry including lower project costs (especially when installing pipelines in remote locations) and improved environmental performance. It is estimated that implementation of the new technology could lead to potential cost savings of at least 30-40%, compared with current types of oil and gas pipelines.