Coatings are one of the main methods to protect pipelines primarily from corrosion and wear. There exist several coating technology systems and the desired properties of a good coating will change from one application to another. It is estimated that the value of the protective coatings market is around $3-4 billion dollars in Canada. Therefore, analyzing the protective coating sector for potential opportunities becomes significant.
In this review paper, we investigate the pipeline coatings sector in order to determine gaps in currently available coating technologies. The objective is to determine future research directions and innovation opportunities. The scope of this work is protective coatings for transmission crude oil and natural gas pipelines. The main methodologies used here are stakeholder engagement (pipeline operators, coating applicators, and coating manufacturers and suppliers) and literature review.
Here, we explore the physical limitations and technological gaps on current commercially available coatings. The cycle of innovation and development, as well as the process of accepting new coatings is also reviewed. Finally, the regulations pertaining to coating selection and testing are discussed, with special emphasis on the newly introduced Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z245.30-14 standard1 and its associated impacts on Canadian coatings applicators and the coating supply chain in general.
Protective coatings are one of the main defensive mechanisms for pipelines against corrosion. External coats are applied to the surface of a steel pipeline to insulate it from the atmosphere and hence from corrosion agents. Coatings and/or liners are sometimes applied to the inside of pipeline walls to protect them from internal corrosion. The requirement of a good coating will vary from one application to another, and is highly dependable on the environment (hot/cold temperatures, wet/dry conditions, soil, etc.) among other factors. In general, some of the main desired properties of a successful coating are2: