Oil & gas challenges addressed by industry-proven solutions
By Jason Irwin, Global Segment Leader for Oil & Gas, DuPont Performance Polymers
From a materials science perspective, the oil and gas industry often sets the most demanding benchmarks with regards to performance, longevity and resistance to harsh chemicals and environments.
DuPont puts science to work, offering a systematic approach to meet today's most demanding and pressing industry challenges. It uses its 210 years of operating experience and technology innovation to help customers create value. Indeed, thanks to its many years of experience in the oil and gas industry coupled with an in-depth understanding of its exact needs, DuPont is in a position to offer multiple solutions; all of which are designed to help address some of the most challenging issues.
High-performance materials from DuPont Performance Polymers can help to tackle incredibly demanding industry issues and include materials technologies that have been formulated specifically to replace or enhance metal pipes with cost-effective alternatives; increase pump reliability and performance; reduce corrosion and erosion; improve performance and lower costs in sealing applications.
The oil and gas industry also benefits from the material science and innovation at DuPont, which fosters collaboration and expert applications development using durable materials to provide long lasting high performance in harsh operating environments, where it really matters. Through DuPont solutions for oil and gas, customers can help create more value through faster cycle times, higher throughput, reduced breakages, no leakage or contamination, reduced downtime, lower maintenance costs and higher overall productivity.
Of particular interest to oil and gas engineers are materials from DuPont Performance Polymers that are already proven in the field: DuPont™ Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts, DuPont™ Vespel® polyimide parts, DuPont™ Viton® fluoroelastomers, DuPont™ Pipelon® polymeric pipe solutions and DuPont™ Hytrel®
High-performance sealing solutions
Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts—such as O-rings, V-rings, packers, boots, and custom parts—can withstand more than1,800 different chemicals while offering the high temperature stability of PTFE (up to 327°C). In the field, Kalrez® seals have been demonstrated to save between 10% and 200% in total system running costs in chemical and petrochemical processes; while data on file shows lifetimes far in excess (up to five times longer) of non-perfluoroelastomer O-rings, leading to savings of 98% in cost of O-ring seals, installation, downtime and loss of productivity.
DuPont scientists have developed Kalrez® 0090 perfluoroelastomer parts, which offer outstanding resistance to repeated rapid gas decompression. In third-party testing to stringent globally recognized standards, O-rings obtained the best possible ratings with no internal cracks, holes or blisters. In addition to providing outstanding rapid gas decompression resistance, Kalrez® 0090 seals exhibit other properties that ensure superior performance in harsh oil and gas environments, including impressive chemical resistance, broad temperature capabilities and high modulus at low elongation.
Vespel®: Improving efficiency and reliability
Vespel® parts have a proven track record of success in pumps and other equipment for the chemical and hydrocarbon-processing industries and can deliver substantial improvements in pump reliability and energy efficiency at significantly less cost than currently available alternatives.
They combine outstanding chemical resistance with low wear, low friction and extreme toughness, helping the parts to survive long duration run-dry conditions, cryogenic service from -253°C to "nonabrasive"
high-temperature service at 288°C.
Vespel® CR-6100 parts provide high-temperature capabilities and outstanding chemical resistance to halogens and other aggressive gases, making them suitable for compressor valve-plate applications. High fatigue resistance, excellent flatness and the strength and stiffness to survive high pressures coupled with a compliant sealing surface enable Vespel® CR-6100 parts to maintain a tight seal over a very wide range of temperatures.
Vespel® CR-6100 parts can also replace metal and other composites in applications such as wear rings, where they can operate with a lower clearance than metal components. Tighter clearances save energy by improving pump efficiency and sharply reducing vibration, cutting wear and tear on other pump components and increasing service intervals. They can also help to reduce downtime and emission spikes by continuing to perform during various process upsets that produce run-dry or low-flow conditions.
DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 parts are recognized under the ISO 13709 International Standard and the American Petroleum Institute's API 610 Standard and have a proven record of success in wear components for pumps—working today in more than 5,000 pumps at more than 100 refineries and petrochemical plants around the globe.
Viton® fluoroelastomers have been used in the oil and gas exploration, production, refining and upgrading industries for more than 50 years. It offers worldwide ISO 9000 registration and features excellent resistance to aggressive fuels and chemicals, making it the sealing solution of choice for demanding applications where reliable performance is critical for safe operations and maximum uptime.
Used for bonded seals, radial lip seals, caulks, coatings, vibration dampeners, expansion joints, gaskets,
O-rings, piston seals and a wide variety of custom shapes, its dynamic characteristics give critical seals and parts exceptional performance and longer life in aggressive environments. It far outlasts nitrile rubber and other general-purpose elastomers with its increased reliability allowing users to extend service intervals—especially vital for down-hole applications—while stretching their maintenance budgets.
Pipelon® resins are a family of engineering polymer resins designed for the creation of high-performance polymeric pipe solutions for the oil and gas industry. As well as offering improved permeation resistance, higher temperature, higher pressure and lighter weight, Pipelon® resins have also been developed to lower life cycle costs.
Pipelon® resins are extremely versatile and their properties make them highly suited for demanding applications in the oil and gas industry. The resins offer high impact, fatigue, creep and stress crack resistance; high strength/pressure tolerance; and are suitable for cold weather installation and handling, with service temperatures lying between -40°C and 115°C.
Applications include: down hole—for siphon (velocity) and heater strings, CO2/chemical injection and production tube strings and liners in steel pipes; surface tubulars for gathering and disposal lines; process tubulars for hydrocarbon processing, including steam; offshore flexible risers and umbilicals; and composite pipes made of DuPont™ Kevlar® aramid that have been designed for high pressures, yet are non-corrosive, lightweight and offer a lower installed cost.
Hytrel®: the multi-function material
Hytrel® is an incredibly versatile material thanks to its advanced properties. The oil and gas industry uses Hytrel® resins in a number of applications, including control lines and pipe liners, where it can be used for fluid containment as well as abrasion layers to prevent steel-on-steel wear failures. Hytrel® resins are also used in applications for wire and cable jacketing and insulation for seismic, electrical and instrumentation cable.
Because of its unique set of properties, including broad chemical resistance, H2S resistance, oil and gas resistance and enhanced fatigue performance, Hytrel® resins have been used by the oil and gas industry in applications that demand high performance. They have been been selected for thermoset/TPU replacement, for jacketing, insulation, coil cords, seals, gaskets, diaphragms, buoyancy and bend stiffeners.
With oil prices at their current levels, oil companies are investing heavily in both new and old drill sites, deploying contemporary equipment and plant. They have not, however, lost sight of efficiencies and savings and are looking to take advantage of the best possible solutions in terms of cost and functionality. For this reason they rely heavily on companies such as DuPont to develop the solutions they need for what is one of the world's most demanding industries.