Over the past 150 years, pipelines have been used to transport natural gas, oil, petroleum and petrochemical products over short and long distances, including across continents.
To meet the rapid, sustained growth in energy demands, pipeline infrastructure has expanded exponentially in the last few decades. With oil and gas pipelines proliferating across the country, moving further offshore in deep waters, and being exposed to extreme weather conditions, new safety concerns have been raised.
According to specialists, one way to maintain pipeline integrity and address ever increasing operational challenges is to use interior and exterior protective coatings in conjunction with cathodic protection.
Also referred to as “fail safe” coatings, the most commonly used pipeline coating systems are divided into five major groups, such as:
- Asphalt Enamel (AE) Coatings – Suitable for water, oil and gas pipelines, and other fluids that don’t exceed 158°F, asphalt enamel pipeline coatings are the systems of choice for corrosion protection of steel pipes.
- Polyurethane (PUR) Coatings – In addition to withstanding different weather conditions, including strong UV radiation, high temperatures, acid rain and salt water, PUR coatings provide a unique combination of mechanical and corrosion-resistant properties. As these characteristics can meet various subsea installation and performance requirements, PUR coatings are often specified for applications in shallow and deep waters.
- Three-Layer Polyethylene (3LPE) Coatings – These coatings ensure good adhesion to steel pipes, provided that the surface has been properly prepared. Because 3LPE coatings also have excellent resistance to mechanical and chemical stresses, corrosive agents (e.g. moisture, acid rain, salt air and water), temperature variations and UV exposure, they provide superior anticorrosive protection for the oil and gas pipelines installed above-ground, underground and underwater.
- Three-Layer Polypropylene (3LPP) Coatings – 3LPP coatings consist of high-performance fusion bonded epoxies enhanced with copolymer adhesives and an outer layer of polypropylene. Thus, these coating systems are able to offer excellent pipeline protection under extreme conditions, including high temperatures.
- Fusion Bonded Epoxy (FBE) Powder Coatings – Using specialty additives that enhance their cathodic disbondment resistance, these coatings are available as multi-layer or stand-alone products that can be used to coat different surfaces, including the exterior and interior of pipelines.
As these pipeline coatings have been subjected to extensive testing, their performance in service along with pipeline safety can be accurately predicted when all the environmental factors are carefully considered. It’s worth noting as well that these coating systems can be customized to meet the unique specifications and performance requirements of different oil and gas pipeline projects.
In addition to selecting the right coatings for each application, proper surface preparation and application of coatings in compliance with the regulations, guidelines and standards set forth by the EPA, OSHA and PHMSA are vital to ensuring coating and pipeline integrity, while preventing environmental pollution and protecting the health and safety of everyone on site.
As pipeline coatings play a critical role in controlling pipeline safety, our industrial painting contractors are ready to help you choose the right coating products and implement a comprehensive maintenance program. Ongoing monitoring and maintenance can enhance coatings’ ability to withstand the environmental factors that usually affect pipeline integrity during operations.
At Performance Painting Contractors, we’re also committed to complying with our customers’ requirements and improving our overall effectiveness by continually upgrading our equipment, processes and techniques.
If you’re looking for a team of professional industrial painting contractors for a pipeline coating project anywhere in the continental US, please contact us today for a free painting estimate.