Operating in Big Lake, Texas, Laredo Petroleum had been using two common flexible pipeline products for its oil and gas gathering lines. One product featured a glass-fiber reinforced epoxy matrix; the other, a flexible steel reinforcement around what was supposed to be a corrosion-resistant liner.
Not only were both products quite costly, both were experiencing system-wide permeation issues to the point where lines were frequently popping. As a result, operations had to be constantly shut down while lines were repaired, racking up serious non-productive time, adding costs to what was already expensive. These problems also left the company open to considerable HSE risk.
Laredo needed a cost-effective solution that would address permeation issues, one that could be quickly implemented.
The operator at Laredo had heard about Thermoflex, a spoolable RTP pipe manufactured by Midland-based Polyflow. The product features concentric layers of proprietary reinforcement that can be modified to suit the application parameters.
At the center, there is an inert liner composed of either nylon or Polyphenylene Sulfide, providing low-permeation hydrocarbon corrosion resistance. Next, there’s a center layer, designed to accommodate temperatures of up to 180°F. Around that, an Aramid fiber weave reinforces the pipe and provides the strength and high-tensile load capabilities, accommodating pressures of up to 2,000 psi. Finally, there is an abrasion-resistant HDPE outer jacket wrapping everything up and protecting the pipe from the environment.
Polyflow engineers recommended the Nylon-lined Thermoflex and decided to try this solution out on a per-project basis. Laredo used certified contractors to install the pipe. Initially, they installed 2-3/8-inch pipeline rated to 275 psi. But as the wells came on stronger, the company upgraded to 4-inch, 4.5-inch, and 6-inch pipe.
For Laredo, the best part was that Thermoflex was able to meet all of the application requirements, accommodating higher pressures and temperatures without deration, permeation, or reduction in capacity.
“We were extremely impressed with the knowledge of the field technicians and the results of the initial installation,” said Diane Visser for Laredo. “The cost and operational advantages were so obvious, we wished we’d used Thermoflex all along. At any rate, we immediately made Polyflow our exclusive provider for all of our RTP.”
As the exclusive RTP provider, Polyflow has since installed more than 100 miles of pipeline without a single issue, compounding the savings and performance advantages across an increasingly successful operation.