Mr Saad Qahtani, Saudi Aramco Manager of Specialty & Intermediate Chemicals, visited NSIRC and TWI on Tuesday 17 July. The visit marks another important milestone within the establishment of the multi-stakeholder NIC (Non-Metallic Innovation Centre), as the world-renowned oil and gas company Saudi Aramco Technologies Company (AramcoTech) progresses with the agreements signed in the charter with TWI Ltd.
Mr Qahtani’s visit follows that of Saudi Aramco Senior Vice President of Technical Services, Mr Ahmad A. Al-Sa’adi in April of this year. On his visit to TWI, Mr Al-Sa’adi was welcomed by TWI Chief Executive Dr Christoph Wiesner OBE, who led the tour of TWI’s extensive Granta Park research facilities, with particular focus on composite and polymer activities, which span TWI’s joining, characterisation, testing and inspection laboratories.
Christoph Wiesner OBE: “Together with Aramco, we have established a comprehensive programme of eight research projects, designed to address Aramco’s specific objectives, through the Non-Metallic Innovation Centre (NIC). We are extremely proud of TWI’s world leading research and innovation capability and very pleased with this opportunity to develop our growing portfolio of non-metallic technologies with Aramco. This opportunity to work with such a renowned company has the potential to create high quality, cost effective industrial solutions and world-leading research capability.”
Aramco Technologies came together with TWI form a Private Technology Innovation Partnership (PTIP). By fostering home-grown innovation and working closely with customers to address their technology priorities, PTIPs can work with private technology organisations towards the commercialisation of technology with sponsors and supply chains. The collaboration is set to connect Aramco with composite materials manufacturers, top level academic institutions and influential industrial partners.
In preparation for developing ready to deploy non-metallic technologies for immediate field application, Aramco Technologies coordinated a preliminary examination that demonstrated how time consuming adoption rate of non-metallic pipes within the oil and gas industry is principally related to the limitations of current products. These technical constraints occur in relation to temperature and pressure, chemical compatibility, and an inadequacy to address new field challenges (increasing temperature cut and H2S/CO2 levels).
Other contributing factors include a lack of reliable inspection and fitness for service assessment of currently in-service composite pipes. Another issue is the lack of confidence in the long term performance of non-metallic pipes and their potential degradation with ageing.
Through their initial research, Aramco Technologies have identified opportunities to expand the demand for polymers, with research and development activities being focused on expanding the operating envelope of polymer composites pipes, development of advanced polymer liners, improved monitoring and inspection of non-metallic composite structures, and the fitness for service, lifetime prediction and rehabilitation of said structures.