Natural Gas Midstream
In-Situ Pipeline Coatings for Methane Emissions Mitigation and Quantification from Natural Gas Pipelines Last Reviewed
February 2018

DE-FE0029069

Goal
The objective of the proposed research is to demonstrate the protection capabilities of Oceanit’s EverPel coating, applied in-situ on natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines, against corrosion, deposition, plugging and methane gas emissions via pipeline leaking. EverPel is a chemically resistant, water-and-oil repellent multi-layer coating system that can be readily applied to a wide variety of materials with a minimum of surface preparation, making it an ideal candidate for in-place retrofitting and refurbishment of existing pipelines without the need for expensive extraction and replacement. Application of EverPel in-situ has the potential to significantly reduce methane emissions via leakage, and can be integrated into a long term pipeline health monitoring solution.

Performer
Oceanit Laboratories, Inc., Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Background
The vast, interconnected inter- and intra-state pipeline network is vital to transportation of water, hazardous liquids, raw materials, and energy in the form of natural gas and liquid petroleum products. Although pipeline transport is safer and cheaper than ground transportation, they still pose a risk of major disaster due to infrastructure aging and failure. Disruptions to flow through corrosion and scale deposit can also significantly decrease transport efficiency, adding cost through additional pumping energy requirements, lost product, and unplanned emergency shutdowns.

While methods currently exist to monitor the health of a pipeline system as a whole, pinpoint inspection and location tools to identify and repair specific areas are not commercially available. Replacement of entire pipelines is non-viable due to the expensive cost and extended amounts of inoperability, and determining which areas are in need of replacement proves to be a significant challenge. As the pipeline network continues to age, the cost of maintenance and monitoring of all these systems will continue to increase, while becoming exponentially more difficult to address. Thus, there is an imminent need for a new approach that combines both a method to provide economically-efficient retrofitting of existing pipelines in-place, and simultaneous sensing technology that can provide feedback on the structural health of the pipelines to determine which areas require attention.

Impact
The United States has over 1.2 million miles of natural gas transport pipelines laid, more than any other country in the world, with the majority of these lines buried underground. This makes replacement or refurbishment of damaged pipelines cost prohibitive, and substantially limits the capability for widespread effective detection of pipeline health, deposit formation, and overall performance. The proposed research allows for a novel, cost-effective method of finding, repairing, and mitigating damage in pipeline interiors, while being minimally disruptive to normal pipeline operation. The coating can significantly improve the economics of energy transport through providing flow assurance, limiting catastrophic blowouts, and minimizing product loss from small but sustained leaks.

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)

  • Draft Manuscript for OTC 2018 was accepted and submitted on January 29, 2018. This conference paper and corresponding talk will present the idea of an omniphobic coating as a potential way to promote flow assurance between April 30 and May 3, 2018.
  • Oceanit conducted additional (second) field trials in order to test an updated version of the RIVEAL system.
  • Improvements to the design have been implemented and include the internalization of the light and camera assembly, which allows for better durability, especially around bends in the pipeline. The internal housing for the battery and camera was also redesigned in order to provide better impact resistance.
  • The pigging system was tested in Houston on a system consisting of both coated and uncoated pipe sections created in previous coating runs.
  • Quality control tool was further developed. Oceanit’s approach for this tool involves the utilization of a new, proprietary method of color analysis that can closely discern varying colors, especially in low light conditions.
  • Oceanit shall present the research at the NACE Corrosion Conference to be held April 15 to 19, 2018, in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Successful transition from Phase I/Budget Period I to Phase II/Budget Period II as of August 15, 2017.
  • Briefed the DOE NETL Office of Fossil Energy on successful pilot field demonstration on July 27, 2017.
  • Development and demonstration of in-line inspection tool to locate areas of corrosion and deposits.
  • Proof of concept quality control processing module for field evaluation of applied coating.
  • Developed data analysis method to assess coating coverage, health, and application quality.
  • Completed mechanical characterization of applied coating, demonstrating substantial reductions in surface roughness, NACE-acceptable adhesion of the coating to the pipeline interior, and increases in hydrophobicity.
  • Oceanit highlighted the work at a private technology showcase at the Offshore Technology Conference 2017 with over 100 oil and gas industry leaders attending on May 4, 2017.
  • Successfully coated the interior of 180’, 6” test pipeline at facility established in Houston, TX using the in-situ pigging technique.
  • Showed chemical compatibility with typical petroleum and natural gas products, as well as remaining inert to extreme pH (acidic and basic) solutions.
  • Optimization of coating formulations for application via in-situ pigging.
  • Material formulation and sourcing secured, processes scaled up for application to pipelines.
  • Kickoff meeting with NETL held October 28, 2016.

Current Status (February 2018)
Oceanit has conducted two simulated, pilot scale field trials where the EverPel™ coating has been applied directly onto a severely corroded pipeline. Optimization of the EverPel™ formulation has resulted in imparting roughly a 100-fold decrease in surface roughness, coating adhesion, and durability enabling compatibility with existing pigging cleaning procedures. Furthermore, EverPel™ was shown to significantly arrest the formation of in-line corrosion for over 6+ months after coating. Oceanit has also developed and successfully deployed a custom-built, in-line inspection tool capable of discerning between coated and non-coated areas in pipelines as small as 6” in diameter. Oceanit is now in the process of making further refinement to this inspection tool in order to use it not only as a quality control system, but as a method for determining pipeline health and integrity by finding and highlighting areas of corrosion, structural weakness, black powder deposition, and scale formation.

Project Start: October 1, 2016
Project End: September 30, 2019

DOE Contribution: $1,200,000
Performer Contribution: $300,000

Contact Information
NETL – William Fincham (william.fincham@netl.doe.gov or 304-285-4268)
Oceanit – Vinod Veedu (vveedu@oceanit.com or 713-357-9622)