Non-metallic Innovation Centre and SoluForce to collaborate on novel RTP

Like-minded players in the research field of the use of non-metallic materials in the oil and gas industry – TWI Ltd and Saudi Aramco Technologies Company (SATC), within the framework of the Non-metallic Innovation Centre (NIC) in which they are partners with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), have signed an Agreement with Netherland's based, flexible composite pipes solutions provider SoluForce® – which will see them joining forces to undertake collaborative research and development (R&D) aimed at expanding the operational capabilities of plastic pipe systems in service.

R&D activities will focus on increasing the operating temperature and pressure that reinforced thermo-plastic (RTP) pipes are able to withstand when transporting hydrocarbons. The overall aim is to create a new, more affordable, spoolable composite pipe product which will combine high performance and cost competitiveness, thereby supporting much wider adoption of the use of non-metallic pipes across the oil and gas industry. The long term strategy is to reduce manufacturing costs whilst optimising the cost benefit of developed products, in order to promote the adoption of sustainable, non-metallic solutions.

The application of plastic pipelines offers a number of benefits to operators over using metal pipes including:

  • Resistance to corrosion
  • Light weight and consequently much cheaper to transport and easier to install
  • Flexibility and durability
  • Reduced carbon footprint compared to metallic alternatives.

The NIC and SoluForce® will combine their expertise on the project to develop an affordable RTP solution. R&D activities will take place at the NIC's Cambridge base in TWI's headquarters and the prototype product will be manufactured by SoluForce®. The NIC will carry out materials selection processes, investigate the potential use of recently developed and commercially available options, and evaluate the new pipe.

Robert-Jan Berg, Managing Director, SoluForce® said "We are honoured to have been selected to take part in this prestigious Non-metallic Innovation Centre Agreement. I believe that an important part of innovation is combining the right partners and their underlying knowledge, and I am confident that we will be able to do just that in this development. We are very excited and looking forward to a fruitful, pleasant and successful collaboration."

Dr. Ihsan Taie, the Chief Technologist from Aramco's Non-Metallics R&D team, said "Seeing how the NIC made significant progress since its establishment in late 2018, we've recorded 100% growth in terms of funding, members and project portfolio. This success is attributed to its unique effective model for technology development". He continued "The model is designed to create a practical, efficient and effective platform for innovation and business at the same time, and we have just put in place a new plan for expansion to include affiliate members which is expected to be approved by early April 2020."

Mihalis Kazilas, NIC Programme Director at TWI, continued "This collaboration strengthens the commercial impact of the NIC projects portfolio, with Soluforce® adding the necessary link between the disruptive research delivered by TWI and the operators' challenges as defined by SATC and ADNOC within the NIC."

The signing took place during the 2nd Non-metallic Symposium in Lyon, France which was organised by Saudi Aramco who, together with TWI, signed the Agreement with SoluForce on behalf of the NIC.

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