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Sherwin-Williams Introduces Pipeclad Frac-Shun ERC Technology

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Picture of Anamika Talwaria

Anamika Talwaria

Editor & Head of Content for Tank Storage Magazine & StocExpo and Chair of Women in Tanks.

Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine has introduced a new, patent-pending, erosion-resistant coating (ERC) technology to protect pipe interiors from the inherent sandblasting action of grit moving rapidly through the pipes. The applied powder coating remains intact far longer than other options, protecting the steel pipes from the significant metal loss that otherwise leads to potential leaks and early pipe replacements in many operations.

The new Pipeclad Frac-Shun ERC establishes a new coatings category with a system that resists erosion inside pipes located near fracking wellheads, thereby reducing downtime maintenance costs and enhancing drilling productivity.

The inner walls of pipes, especially elbows, located near wellheads can be eroded by fracking sandflows within six to 18 months, or sooner. Such erosion also occurs inside storage vessels and tanks where gritty, multiphase fluid flows strike interior surfaces. To date, no other coating category – whether liquid or powder – has been able to successfully mitigate this erosion. Instead, well operators are accustomed to frequent unexpected maintenance shutdowns following pipe wall thickness inspections.

‘High velocity fluids containing sand, rocks and other debris moving through a coated fracking pipe create a sandblasting action that’s akin to removing coatings when preparing a surface for a new application,’ says Kristin Leonard, energy segment director at Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine. ‘Once those coatings are gone, the steel will begin to erode instead. The new erosion-resistant coating system is able to withstand the impact of multiphase flows striking it without eroding or chipping away like most coatings. The ERC essentially spits the bullet back out after it’s fired at the surface. With the coating intact, abrasive fluids have no chance at eroding the steel.’

With Pipeclad Frac-Shun ERC providing a longer performance window for coated pipes, well operators are much more likely to surpass the first 12 months of operation on a new wellhead before needing to replace pipes. Erosive exposures are especially present in that first year, as drilling content is particularly abrasive during early well operations.

Pipeclad Frac-Shun ERC is applied to the inside of steel pipes to deliver maximum erosion protection. The applied system forms a molecular-level composite that provides an ultra-high erosion-resistant barrier that extends the service life of pipeline and elbow sections; minimises lost production time by extending maintenance cycles; and reduces steel loss, damage and leaking during energy extraction.

Various lab testing and long-term field trials have confirmed the adhesion and chemical and erosion resistance characteristics of the new Pipeclad Frac-Shun ERC technology. Autoclave testing – which uses a blend of water and hydrocarbons at elevated temperatures and pressures representative of wellhead conditions – showed excellent resistance to operating stresses and chemical exposures.

In addition, ultrasonic testing performed on steel pipes coated with the Pipeclad Frac-Shun ERC system confirmed no loss of wall thickness after six months of operation at an active wellhead. Pipes used at the same wellhead that featured a control coating technology showed the expected wall thickness erosion. Pipeclad Frac-Shun ERC has therefore remained on the pipe’s surface at a sufficient thickness to maintain protection.

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