New Technology Developed in Russia to Prevent Leaks in Oil Pipelines

New, innovative technology from Russia’s National University of Science and Technology (NUST) looks to change the way such pipes are manufactured – increasing efficiency for companies and reducing not only operating costs and necessary repairs but also a risk to the environment, Metalurg Prom reports.

Oil extraction in Russia presents a challenging environment for engineers. Pipes are constantly exposed to corrosion by a mixture of oil and concentrated salt, meaning that operation periods are cut short and accidents become increasingly likely. These can be particularly problematic, with surrounding areas becoming subject to dangerous levels of pollution in the result of leaks.

At the center of the new technology is a new steel grade – Severcor. The addition of chromium, copper, and nickel during the steel’s manufacture means that the composition of the pipes can be carefully regulated, thus boosting their anti-corrosive properties. This could, researchers hope, “at least double” the lifecycle of the pipes, which in certain oilfield conditions can be as little as two years.

“The new technology provides increased corrosion and cold resistance,” explains Alexander Komissarov, one of the steel’s developers and research associate from NUST. “The development of new alloying schemes (adding impurities to the composition of the materials to improve the properties of the base material) and providing the necessary structural and phase steel composition to the production of rolled and sheet metal has become our main task.” According to NUST, this advanced steel grade will lower operating costs and reduce the environmental impacts of oil production.

The project has also developed several other steel concepts that researchers describe as “promising”. The NUST team says one set of melting and smelting experiments “passed the corrosion tests with flying colors.” Full-scale pilot tests for the new alloy are now being launched in oil fields by Lukoil and Gazprom Neft in West Siberia.