Texas LDC Installs High-Pressure Plastic Gas Distribution Pipe

June 2010 Vol. 237 No. 6

Georg Fischer Central Plastics of Shawnee, OK reported that the Mid-Tex Division of Atmos Energy Corporation recently completed a 6,000-foot installation of 4-inch, DR-11, Hyperplast™ Polyamide-11 pipe near Corsicana, TX. The total installed cost of this project is said to be comparable to that of steel pipe and, unlike steel, the Hyperplast™ system requires no corrosion protection now or in the future.

Through amendment to US DOT CFR Title 49, Part 192, governing gas distribution pipe, this new plastic pipe is allowed by the DOT for use at pressures up to 200 psi. After years of research, study, and application testing, the pipe resin, Rilsan® PA-11 produced by Arkema, has proven to be reliable and safe in pressure pipe applications for natural gas.

Atmos Energy is one of the nation’s largest natural gas distributors. Since completing the 6,000-foot installation, it committed to a much larger installation of 4-inch Hyperplast™ pipe (56,000 feet).

GFCP, a leader in joining solutions for plastic piping systems, estimates that the installation time for this product is roughly one-third that of the steel. While the material cost in 4-inch currently favors steel, the significant savings realized on installation cost makes the total installed cost less than that of steel. Since the pipe needs no cathodic maintenance, the lifetime ownership costs of Hyperplast™ are far less than steel.

“We are pleased to make this complete system of pipe and fittings available to the industry,” said Greg Russell, vice president of Sales and Marketing at GF Central Plastics. “We know that system integrity is a real focus in the gas industry, and we believe the Hyperplast™ system will provide both cost-savings and peace of mind to our gas utility customers. Its pipe and fittings can be joined by electrofusion or butt fusion, offering a leak-free, non-corrosive plastic piping system operating at higher pressures than polyethylene.”

Mike Hawkins, Gas Distribution Sales Manager at GF Central Plastics, adds, “There are other great advantages to Hyperplast™. Since it is made from castor oil rather than petroleum, it is completely renewable. In addition, GF Central Plastics has calculated that the CO2 footprint of Hyperplast™ is less than one tenth that of steel, and significantly less than HDPE or any other polyamide product. We believe Hyperplast™ is the ’greenest’ gas distribution pipe on the planet. This, when combined with its other advantages, makes it the piping solution of choice when it comes to sustainability.”

Hawkins said, “The industry is also excited to see the latest resin improvements by Arkema, which have significantly increased the HDB rating of this piping system. Once formally recognized by DOT, the new MAOP of the current piping system will increase to 250 psi.” Rilsan®-based Hyperplast™ piping systems include 1-inch, 2-inch, and 4-inch IPS pipe, as well as butt fittings, electrofusion couplings, electrofusion saddles, ball valves, transition fittings, and meter risers. More Hyperplast™ piping products are on the horizon, including the addition of a 6-inch piping system.

According to Aurelien Paumier, business director at Arkema, Inc., “We are extremely pleased that the past 14 years of research has yielded such impressive results. Our research continues to push back boundaries, and we expect our next resins to operate at even higher pressures and temperatures.”