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NIC Expands Testing Capabilities

Tue, 13 April, 2021

The Non-metallic Innovation Centre (NIC), a partnership between TWI Ltd, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Saudi Aramco Technologies Company (SATC) which is based at TWI’s headquarters building in Cambridge UK, is working collaboratively with Canadian oilfield services company, Shawcor Ltd to expand the in-house testing capabilities as part of a new project.

Oil and gas industry companies are increasingly looking to non-metallic flow lines and wellbore products to reduce the costs that arise from the corrosion of steel grades in sour environments. The temperature and pressure envelopes of composite and multi-layered pipes are intrinsic to the wider adoption of non-metallic materials, which require the independent assessment/validation of barrier properties and chemo-mechanical stability prior to being deployed by industry.

The work, which has already completed the feasibility and design stages and is now entering the build phase, involves the creation of a medium-scale permeation rig for non-metallic pipes and joints for in use in the oil and gas industry.  Though initially developed with Shawcor non-metallic pipes in mind, the rig is modular, allowing adaptation to meet the requirements of different pipe specifications.

This new larger-scale permeation rig will allow for the testing of different pipes for evidence of sour natural gas permeation as well as confirming leakage-free performance of the joints and service end fittings for the pipes under test.

The work is already gaining interest from gas industry operators who are ready to test their own pipe parameters on the universal rig.

The NIC laboratory is co-located within TWI’s 10,000m2 sour gases engineering hall. With a global reputation for barrier property testing and ageing of non metallic materials, TWI has carried out material performance assessments for Industrial Member companies since 2012.  TWI scientists and engineers, Dr Bernadette Craster, Dr Chris Worrall, Dr Ewen Kellar and Dr Farshad Salamat-Zadeh have many years’ expertise and experience in the area of permeation and material assessment, and can provide technical support to NIC client projects.

Speaking on the new test rig, NIC Programme Manager, Nick Verge said, “The NIC is working at the forefront of non-metallic testing, and we are excited to be working with Shawcor to continue to push the boundaries of permeation testing.  This collaborative development ensures that the world-class facilities at the NIC will provide value for the NIC sponsors, TWI Industrial Members and the clients in the wider oil and gas market.”

"In Shawcor Composite Production Systems, although we use state-of-the-art technologies and processes to critically assess the performance of our composite pipe products and, in turn,  define the respective application envelopes, we continuously strive to seek and collaborate with reputable R&D partners, like NIC, to secure cost effective independent qualifications of our products,” says Dr. Ahmed Hammami, Principal Polymer Scientist, Composites. “We are very excited and believe this collaborative opportunity will lend further credibility to the robustness of our products for the intended field applications.”


(Image courtesy of Shawcor Ltd)