Instead of trucking light crude oil on a hundred miles of dirt roads in a remote area of Australia, it is now being conveyed underground using a thermoplastic, flexible composite pipe. This undertaking was recently awarded the Project of the Year by the Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI) for its Energy Piping Systems Division (EPSD).
Although plastic pipe has been actively used in the natural gas industry since the late 1950s, it is still considered by some to be the “the new kid on the block.” Perhaps one of the key reasons for this reputation is the fact that the plastics industry continues to push the envelope in creating higher performance materials that inspire new compositions and installation techniques. And the main benefactors are gas utilities, exploration and production companies and ultimately their customers.
Global demand for polyethylene resins – HDPE, LLDPE and LDPE – will rise 4% per year to 99.6 million metric tons in 2018, valued at $164 billion. Gains will match overall world economic growth, fueled by an acceleration in consumer spending and manufacturing activity.
Hard work is said to result in living the American dream. This ethos is one of the reasons McElroy has been a viable company for 60 years, but it’s just one part of the equation that made McElroy the world’s leading manufacturer of butt fusion machines for thermoplastic pipe.
Improvements in long-term performance of polyethylene (PE) piping compounds have created interest in the use of higher operating pressures for gas distribution piping systems.
In Canada, this has culminated in the approval of PE 100 pipe with an operating pressure of 145 pounds per square inch gage (psig) for SDR 11 pipe, and the approval of PE 2708 PLUS and PE 4710 PLUS compounds that qualify for a 0.45 design factor for gas applications.
This article reviews several applications for the Rate Process Method (RPM) such as validation of the PE material hydrostatic design basis per ASTM D 2837 and service life forecast of older-generation PE pipe still in service and correlation with actual field failures.