Wide-ranging testing of new corrosion inhibitors has been initiated on high-pressure water and oil gathering pipelines throughout Gazprom Neft enterprises. The objective of this half-yearly programme is to test new forms of oilfield chemicals under the conditions of the Russian Far North, in order to investigate the possibility of extending the range of corrosion inhibitors used. The use of corrosion inhibitors can significantly reduce the risk of depressurisation in pipeline systems.
The testing of new corrosion inhibitors is just one in a number of steps directed at improving pipeline reliability. Anti-corrosion monitoring is regularly undertaken at all Gazprom Neft facilities, as well as diagnostics, reconstruction, and repairs of the pipeline system. Cutting-edge surveillance and monitoring techniques are used to ensure pipeline reliability, including monitoring with unmanned aerial vehicles (“drones”). Regular surveillance of pipeline routes using drones means pipelines can be monitored against design objectives, and any technical damage (such as illegal tapping or any attempt to break into or breach the pipeline) identified. Drones can remain aloft for up to four hours, and can fly at speeds of 65–120 kilometres per hour. On returning to base, all collected data is analysed, allowing a thorough evaluation of the external condition of the pipelines.
A new centre of excellence for pipeline maintenance and operation has been established within Gazprom Neft, operating out of Gazpromneft-Murvalenko. This centre brings together all experience in the implementation of innovations in pipeline transportation, allowing this to be further disseminated throughout other divisions within Gazprom Neft. Gazpromneft-Murvalenko has become the main enterprise for the testing of new steel alloys, pipeline connectors, equipment and technology.
A new pipeline at the Ety-Purovsk field was constructed in 2014 using a new steel, HGB-05, with improved anti-corrosion properties coupled with no loss of functionality. The same year saw three pipeline sections commissioned at the Gazpromneft-Murvalenko Zapadno-Sutorminskoye and Sugmutskoye fields, made of a special material — fibre glass (i.e., a fibre-glass pipe made from glass-reinforced epoxy resin). This material has the strength and durability of metal, coupled with the biological stability of a polymer (i.e., it does not rot and does not become brittle). The weight of such pipes is a quarter of the weight of steel, and their useful life twice as long.
Spring 2015 also saw preparations for pilot testing in pipeline rehabilitation. This allows the technical repair and reconstruction process to be speeded up, while minimising the environmental impact of repair works. This method essentially involves the placement of a polyethylene pipe within the cavity of a worn steel pipe, extending the life of the restored pipe by a factor of 2.5.