Wet insulation systems are used on subsea pipelines globally to maintain a certain temperature in the flow of oil and gas. Improving the insulation system will give a range of benefits both economically and environmentally. When minimizing the k-value by reducing the density of the insulation material, we can apply less kg of material. This reduction will minimize the environmental footprint of every pipeline in which this is applied.
Shawcor initially qualified use of styrenic based ULTRA wet insulation back in 2009. Compared to the widely used polypropylene insulation systems, this improved the insulation effect by roughly 20-25 % assuming the same insulation coating thickness, allowing for U-values below 3 W/m2K. Shawcor is currently improving the ULTRA portfolio with concepts that, by bringing the material density from 830 kg/m3 down to 650 kg/m3, will theoretically be able to reach U-values as low as 1.3 W/m2K.
Such a reduced density system enables the use of wet insulation at far lower U-value requirements than previously. It also significantly reduces insulation thickness which could in some cases reduce number of trips required for a reeling vessel. The reduced material usage and vessel time will contribute in the ongoing effort to move the industry in a more environmentally friendly direction.
We will present test results and methodology for this development program.