Nonmetallic pipelines are gaining popularity across the Oil and Gas value chain from upstream to downstream applications. Among the top benefits are mitigation of corrosion hazards, lowering the total cost of ownership, and reducing carbon footprint. While nonmetallic pipes are increasingly deployed onshore and offshore, a focus on downhole tubular development and qualification is essential as these are lacking in literature. In this paper, the authors attempt to provide an overview of the technology status quo as well as highlighting implementation challenges on downhole applications and proposed a way forward to tackle such challenges.

A detailed literature review on current technological advancements and market trends of non-metallic pipes is carried out with a particular focus on downhole R&D potentials and application progression towards more severe well conditions, while meeting the future Oil and Gas demands. A comparison of current market offerings of non-metallic pipes for onshore, offshore, and downhole applications is conducted, based on their design construction, material compositions, pipe dimensions, and operating envelope. In light of such comparison, there is a market gap of the intended target specs for downhole applications. Pipe design, material selection, and product qualification are also described in the process to highlight the effort needed for industrial standards to qualify the downhole tubulars. Manufacturing of pipe and connectors are briefly discussed as part of the challenges.

A gap analysis is also conducted to address the downhole system and infrastructure challenges related to utilization of non-metallic components in drilling, completion, logging, intervention, and production conditions, as the existing qualification standards are not capable of adequately addressing the various possibility and combination of non-metallic pipe configurations and their components for the intended service conditions. This study identified the areas where R&D work is required for non-metallic pipes to be designed, tested, and qualified for application in demanding and aggressive well conditions (e.g., high temperature and pressure) in order to replace steel tubulars for improved properties.

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