Chevron pioneering technology in Kazakhstan solves industry’s pipeline challenges

ASTANA – Pipeline corrosion is a major challenge faced by the global oil and gas industry, as a corroded pipeline presents a clear risk to the environment and for the companies responsible.

The main obstacle in preventing corrosion is that materials may wear down over time from oil or gas moving through the pipeline, and coating and inspecting metal pipelines are the primary corrosion prevention measures. Another approach is switching to alternative pipeline materials such as polyethylene.

While conventional polyethylene pipelines experience difficulties in adverse temperatures, Chevron’s polyethylene pipe plant in Atyrau has pioneered the production of Polyethylene with Raised Temperature Resistance (PE-RT) since 2003.

To support Tengizchevroil’s (TCO) Future Growth Project-Wellhead Pressure Management Project (FGP-WPMP), the Atyrau plant initiated a Europe-wide search for suppliers of a suitable raw material for a water injection system upgrade, necessary for meeting water injection requirements.

The plant was also tasked with the production of a 20 kilometre pipeline for water transportation. Given the water’s toxicity and high temperature, the search was on for technology which could meet the plant’s rigid requirements. After three years of rigorous assessment, the Dow Chemical Company’s PE-RT Type II technology was selected for implementation. This marked one of the first applications of the innovative material to industrial pipes in the oil and gas industry.

PE-RT pipeline technology use enabled the modernisation of TCO’s water injection system, improving the transportation of the highly corrosive water produced at Tengiz oil field in the Atyrau region.

“There are many added benefits to using PE-RT. Its service life of 50 years is approximately 10 times that of traditional pipeline materials. It is also less costly than metal pipelines, which require cathodic protection, inhibitors and more regular inspection,” said the plant’s Commercial Manager Yevgeniy Legin.

“Our use of this technology at TCO and FGP-WPMP is yet another example of how we are using innovation to safely and effectively unlock opportunities,” he added.