Rising operating temperatures and the shift towards ever-more remote locations are forcing rapid innovation in the pipeline sector. Adam Wynne Hughes, managing director at Pipeline Induction Heat, discusses the latest developments in coating solutions and the role of automation in improving product quality.
Adam Wynne Hughes: Pipeline Induction Heat, a wholly owned subsidiary of CRC-Evans Pipeline International, is a truly global field joint coating (FJC) subcontractor offering a full range of coating solutions to onshore and offshore pipeline contractors. We have been a major force in the sector since our formation in 1982.
In 2011, CRC-Evans was the first acquisition of Stanley Black and Decker in its formation of the Stanley Oil and Gas division. This brought significant investment in equipment, facilities and personnel, as well as allowing us to benefit from the infrastructure of a $12-billion-a-year global organisation, without affecting the way we serve our customers.
Over recent years, in the offshore market, we have seen a trend for much higher pipeline operating temperatures due to the depths that operators need to explore to access oil reserves.
The general market is responding with the implementation of more sophisticated equipment and processes. End users and contractors are also demanding much more stringent testing regimes with smaller tolerances for error as a result of the harsher environments they have to work in.
Pipeline Induction Heat has risen to the challenge by constantly reviewing and improving its core processes. With the aid of investment from Stanley Oil and Gas, we have expanded our in-house engineering and R&D teams, who are constantly looking at new products and refining our current coating systems.
This has resulted in a drive to build on our experience in the use of automation for the application of various field joint coating systems to ensure repeatable quality, achieving optimum cycle times and maintaining our exemplary safety records.
We have also developed new product lines, such as injection-moulded polypropylene (IMPP) and Neptune. We work closely with industry-leading equipment and material suppliers to ensure our activities meet the demanding environments of offshore projects and remote onshore locations.
We offer a full range of surface preparation, anticorrosion, thermal insulation and infill services including fusion bonded epoxy and liquid coatings, fused field joint, heat shrink sleeves, foam infill, injection-moulded polyurethane and IMPP for field joints and pipeline bends and fittings. We carry out FJC service at spool bases, on offshore vessels and on overland pipelines as well as having a custom coating facility in Malaysia.
Our most recent success story is the development of our IMPP fleet; although we are relatively new to IMPP FJC, our system already has a strong track record. Having completed projects with Mobile and Vigra Spool bases and also offshore in Angola, as well as recruiting a new IMPP head with a wealth of expertise, we believe we will be the FJC contractor of choice for future IMPP projects.
Our track record of repeat business with major construction contractors demonstrates the efficacy of the service we offer. With over 30 years' experience in the industry, we understand the importance of reacting to contractors' requirements immediately, ensuring they receive the Pipeline Induction Heat service they rely on.
Over the years, we have built a reputation for ensuring any issues we face offshore do not impact the barge time or project schedule. This has been the key to our success. Contractors have the confidence that, in the face of adversity, Pipeline Induction Heat will react without hesitation to avoid delaying anything; we are able to do this through the team of experienced experts who support all of our operational projects from our UK headquarters.
We are currently working on many new projects and product lines that will offer improvements over existing coating systems and also ensure clients' increasing expectations are met.
We can't divulge too much information on new developments, but we appreciate that, as coating specifications become more stringent, there is an increasing requirement to automate field joint coating equipment. This will minimise the effects of operator fatigue and human error, ensuring repeatable quality.