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It is critical to choose the right coating for your pipeline, as it can affect both its lifespan and operational efficiency.

External coating primarily acts as a barrier between the pipe and its surrounding environment. It is one of the main methods used to protect pipelines from corrosion – often used in conjunction with cathodic protection – and can also provide thermal insulation. A specific type of external coating called a field joint coating is applied to freshly welded joints to protect the delicate surface from corrosion.

Examples of pipe coating include single-layer fusion-bonded epoxy (FBE), dual-layer FBE and three-layer polyolefin (3LPO). Single-layer FBE has been used since 1960 as an effective corrosion-resistant coating, and has proven performance in both onshore underground and offshore subsea environments. Dual-layer FBE was introduced in 1991 and provides additional damage resistance at low cost. 3LPO – which is comprised of a primary FBE coating, a polyolefin-adhesive or tie-layer, and a polyolefin topcoat – was introduced in Europe in the 1980s and provides superior protection in harsh environments.

An internal coating can be applied to reduce friction within a pipeline and enable smoother product transmission, resulting in increased product throughput, reduced operational costs, faster commissioning, and corrosion protection in storage. Internally coating a pipeline also causes less wear to pigs during runs.

Concrete weight coating can be used on offshore pipelines to provide negative buoyancy and to counteract the effects of currents. It usually involves a wire wrap being incorporated into a mixture of different ratios of iron ore and cement, depending on the coating thickness required. It can be applied in conjunction with other types of coatings and provides protection as well as weight.
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ShawCor’s pipe coating division Bredero Shaw has been awarded a contract with a value of approximately $US50 million from Marubeni Sumitomo Consortium for coating services for Line 2 of the South Stream Offshore Pipeline.
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