Polyurethane is a natural choice for many projects in the oil and gas industry, as few materials can match it in terms of durability and cost effectiveness. Wear and tear is the rule in the field, as everything from crude extraction, to gas compression, to refining is punishing on components and tools. It’s only a matter of time before things have to be replaced or refurbished, and when they do, the best choice is replacing or refurbishing with polyurethane. Why should polyurethane be the frontline choice for oil and gas operations? There are a lot of reasons.
It’s no secret what oil and gas companies need from their equipment and tools. They need durability, reliability and the ability to handle some of the toughest environments imaginable. Polyurethane ticks all the boxes, but let’s go into detail a little more, and see what makes polyurethane the champion of rugged materials.
1. Polyurethane offers excellent, across the board durability – Whether fracking, compressing, transporting or refining, oil and gas companies need more than one or two types of resistance. They need broad spectrum resistance to a variety of hazards. Polyurethane is a perfect middle ground between plastics and metals, capable of withstanding formidable levels of corrosiveness, pressure, abrasion, impact and heat. Polyurethane is trusted to maintain stability in extreme down hole environments, or as a coating inside pipelines responsible for moving sour gases and other corrosive substances.
Consider an application that truly defines polyurethane durability. A constant problem for offshore extraction operations is dealing with strong current forces. To counter this ever-present threat, crews place vortex-induced vibration strakes. Also known as VIV strakes, these helical components stand in the way of current forces and disperse them away from the pipeline. VIV strakes are subjected to extreme pressures, when they are installed and when they are in operation, so they can only be made from polyurethane.
2. Polyurethane can be fabricated to any specifications – Polyurethane is a thermosetting polymer, and as such, it can be made with a variety of substances, additives and catalysts. This allows polyurethane fabricators to make components that meet any standards, whether they need to handle extra pressure, higher abrasive forces or highly corrosive substances. With polyurethane, clients can put together their perfect arsenal.
3. Polyurethane lead times are short, and retrofit solutions are plentiful – Oil and gas companies can’t delay extraction or transport operations if a component gives out and a replacement is needed. When facing heavy maintenance, polyurethane provides a number of possible solutions, and all of them can be executed quickly. If needed, polyurethane elastomers can be fabricated to meet current component specifications, if a replacement is required. Another option is a polyurethane coating, which can be applied to most components in a refurbishment approach. Polyurethane coatings are especially useful when a tool begins to show wear, as nearly anything can be covered in the material. And once coated, treated tools and equipment will display the same level of durability.
Polyurethane components can usually be retrofitted into existing operations if a replacement is required right away. Flexible or rigid pipes, spacers, tanks, seals-–polyurethane components can be developed and installed in a fraction of the time other material solutions would require.
4. Polyurethane can be molded into standardized or custom components – Clients can bring in an existing component to model an entire run of parts from, or a client can work with Marine Urethane’s engineers to custom design the ideal component. During the design process, Marine Urethane’s team will take the client’s specifications and draw up a design in a modeling program. After reviewing the design drawings and getting approval, Marine Urethane will move forward with a prototype and test it to ensure it meets the client’s standards. And material data sheets will be provided to the client for reference.
5. Polyurethane’s versatility is second to none – No other material can be molded from as many substances, or into as many components as polyurethane. Rollers, tubes, bushings, rings, nozzles, scrapers, clamps, seals, gears, liners, pads-–polyurethane can be molded into any of them, with custom additions if needed. As a spray coating, a foam, a flexible elastomer or a rigid component as tough as steel, polyurethane covers all the bases.
The oil and gas industry demands a lot from its equipment and tools, and it cannot tolerate lapses in reliability or availability when in the middle of operations. Polyurethane is the ultimate workhorse and safety net in this regard, capable of taking any punishment that is thrown at it, and capable of quick fabrication when a client’s needs change or evolve.