Tests of Xiom Corp.'s portable polymer powder coating technology at Tengiz, one of the world's richest oil fields, have shown positive results. Tengiz is being developed by TengizChevroil, a joint venture of Chevron Overseas Co., Exxon Mobil Kazakhstan Ventures Inc. and other major energy corporations. The value of Xiom's system in repairing and welding pipelines in the field has been recognized and attested to by DuPont Powder Coatings, manufacturers of Nap-Gard® Fusion Bonded Epoxy (FBE). This DuPont powder is used to coat and repair carbon steel pipeline in traditional baking ovens.
Tests suggest that Xiom's portable spray-gun powder-coating technology will alleviate the field-weld coating application problems associated with Tengiz's harsh winter weather as well as cut the cure time from days to minutes. Located in low-lying wetlands along the northeast shores of the Caspian Sea south of Russia, Tengiz's environment is extremely corrosive with soil that is sandy and soggy with salty sea water. Temperatures ranging from -40°F/C in winter to 104°F (40°C) in summer cause cyclical freezing and thawing. To provide optimum corrosion protection, the 39-ft carbon steel pipe lengths are factory coated with DuPont Nap-Gard FBE red primer and gold top coat. The pipe lengths are then shipped to the Tengiz site where they are welded together in the field.
"With the Xiom portable powder spray coating technology, it is now possible to take the entire system, the solutions and the savings right to the projects," said Andy Mazzone, Xiom CEO. "Working with DuPont's Nap-Gard coatings and Xiom's portable spray guns will greatly increase efficiency, yielding enormous savings in costs and time."
After researching alternative coating materials and applications for the girth welds and repairs, John Shields, NACE International Certified Coating Inspector and senior coating inspector with TCO, along with the coating contractor, decided to field test Xiom's portable polymer spray system. A series of recent field tests were conducted on 6-in carbon steel pipe with simulated weld and repair areas. The Xiom 5000 Scorpion gun was used to cover the larger girth welds and damaged areas with the same
DuPont thermoplastic powders used to coat the pipe lengths in the factory. The test spray coating overlapped the existing coating to form a monolithic bond.
"The process doesn't just 'melt' the FEB powders," explained Ian Lester of Xiom-Europe, which is supervising the tests. "The heat releases a catalyst and initiates a chemical reaction that cures the two-coat system. It changes the molecular structure of the thermoplastic material, and the molecules in the material are bonded together. The powder does not char or burn during application because the system wraps the polymer powder in a stream of cooling, protective air to prevent the particles from overheating."
"The trials carried out so far look very promising using the DuPont Nap-Gard dual FBE," said Shields. DuPont Powder Coatings Global Engineering Manager, Kuruvila Varughese, concurred: "Based on the test results obtained from those samples, we have no reservation on the suitability of Xiom's flame spray technique to process the Nap-GardR FBE systems listed above."
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