It is no longer a rarity for oil companies to tap resources at depths of up to 10,000 metres (33,000 feet) below sea level – a development which is of course having a major impact. And it’s also a dramatic change with consequences for the pipe and tube industry. An overview by Huned Contractor.Easily accessible offshore oil deposits are beginning to run out. So to obtain this valuable raw material from new sources, drilling now needs to go much deeper – and this is clearly a technical challenge. Quite often, therefore, fixed oil rigs are accompanied by floating ones. According to Evonik Industries, a specialty chemicals manufacturer, it means laying flexible pipelines instead of using rigid steel – lines that need to be protected against seawater corrosion on the outside and against oil, gas and water damage from within.
“Moreover,” says Evonik Industries, “the deeper you go, the more you need to reduce the weight.”Pipes which are suitable for this purpose have been unravelled and laid, for instance, some 12 km off the Scottish coast, where oil is now being extracted from the seabed via pipelines, using a floating rig.The deeper a company drills, the more it needs to pay attention to the weight of the pipeline. To enable oil extraction at extreme depths, i.e. below 2,500 metres, Evonik Industries has worked with the Dutch pipe manufacturer Airborne.They pump chemicals into the oil reservoir and serve as hydraulic control lines for safety valves.Schoeller Werk has identified a trend whereby the most important requirements on offshore pipes are dimensional stability and corrosion resistance.Industrial safety and environmental protection have always been central issues in the oil and gas industry and are therefore also crucial priorities for suppliers, including the steel pipe industry.Intense pressure can be felt by the oil and gas industry not just deep down below sea level, in their pipelines. All the relevant conditions are in place, as there are enormous oil and gas reserves just off the Norwegian coast.