Tatarstan oil companies interested in SIBUR’s polymer solutions for pipelines

Delving into the Tatarstan “oil” economy, SIBUR had its own proposals for its development. The holding and Tatarstan announced the readiness to work together on introducing innovative pipes that are to replace traditional metal ones at the republic’s oilfields. According to oil companies, the key requirements for hard-to-recover oil fields are for greater corrosion resistance because unexpected pipe leaks underground wreck havoc on the economy and the environment. Realnoe Vremya’s experts believe that polymer pipes can provide long-term airtightness and reliability.

“Plastic” know-how for oil summit

Tatarstan oil companies are interested in the possibility of providing oilfields with polyethylene pipes made of SIBUR’s feedstock. It is planned to prepare an exposition with the offered solutions to use innovative pipes in oil production at the next oil summit of Tatarstan, said the press service of the republic’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“At a meeting with small oil companies of Tatarstan, SIBUR presented polymer solutions for oil and gas production in the form of polyethylene reinforced pipes. The proposal elicited response from representatives of the sector. President of the republic Rustam Minnikhanov ordered to organise an exposition with the offered solutions at the next oil summit of Tatarstan,” the ministry said.

According to SIBUR’s manager of sectoral sales Yulia Rumyantseva, polyethylene pipes have great potential for being used in oil production thanks to its advantages: resistance in aggressive environments, easy to assemble, lower transportation costs. SIBUR enterprises, including those located in Tatarstan, constantly modernise their brands for the sector’s needs.

Special purpose polymer brands

“The product portfolio of both Kazanorgsintez and ZapSibNeftekhim has a series of polyethylene brands that are of interest for creators of engineering pipeline systems that are used both in gas and water supply systems and start to be introduced in oil and gas production. These materials have prospects for being introduced in this segment. We bet on them and constantly improve the already existing formulas and develop new ones, both at Kazanorgsintez and in SIBUR’s companies in general,” said Yulia Rumyantseva.

As Director General of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding JSC Rafinat Yarullin specified, oil companies are interested in switching to polymer pipes thanks to their advantages.

“This issue has been brewing for a long time. The advantage of polymer pipes over metal ones isn’t even discussed. Metal becomes rusty, rots. Any pipe replacement is road words, street closures and so on. This is why any normal manager will be interested in replacing metal pipes for polymer. Another thing is that oil production needs pipes withstanding 25-40 psi, not 10 that mainly on the market now,” Yarullin noted.

The company noted that the developed technical solutions already meet the main requirements of the segment of oil pipelines, including when it comes to the necessary pressure.

Metal pipe leaks underground are key damage

Vice Rector of Research of Kazan Federal University, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences Danis Nurgaliyev is sure that the replacement of obsolete metal pipes for polymer pipes at oilfields will expand because the new materials are corrosion resistant. “The main drawback of metal pipes is instantaneous corrosion from the inside. Their service term is short, certainly shorter than that of plastic ones,” he says.

The head of the Institute of Oil and Gas Technologies of KFU reminds us that Tatneft made the first steps in switching to plastic several years ago. Last year, Tatneft announced the readiness to transfer all oilfields to fibreglass pipes because plastic pipes for the oil industry weren’t made. “It is important to consider that there is a lot of underground water in oil production, moreover, it is salty, then Tatneft was the first to replace metal pipes for fibreglass. The first steps were made as early as the early 2000s. These weren’t local segments but entire oil production locations. The whole pipeline system was replaced, separators prepare water and pump it back. As a result, hundreds of kilometres were replaced underground. If the pipe is rusty, water gets through the horizon. The transfer to plastic pipes will provide clean oil and water pump.”

But over this time, not all oilfields have had the time to replace metal oil pipelines to plastic, says Nurgaliyev.

According to him, the difference between plastic and fibreglass pipes is that the latter are more expensive, though it isn’t a guarantee they will be more solid than plastic. But it is good because oil companies have choice when choosing pipes for oil fields with different oil production rate. “Polymer solutions for oilfields with different production conditions are especially topical. I know that hundreds of kilometres of pipes are used at oilfields in Western Siberia,” he added.

“A transfer to polyethylene reinforced pipes will potentially be interested for oil companies. This will allow cutting costs, simplifying assembly and service. If SIBUR can prove the advantages of the pipes for oil and gas companies, the demand will be significant — up to several million tonnes every year. Demand for pipes of a big diameter is expected to grow during the next years because of the plans for reorienting the export of resources to China and other Asian countries. Polyethylene pipes have been used in low-pressure pipelines the oil and gas sector for a long time,” financial analyst, author of automatic investing strategies at Finam Dmitry Markov is convinced.

Luiza Ignatyeva

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