Engineered Pipe for LNG Facilities

Despite the current low price on the world market for natural gas, British Columbia is moving ahead with ambitious plans to extract, process and export significant amounts of natural gas in liquified form (LNG) starting from Haisla Nation lands in Northeast BC and ending up at export terminals near Vancouver and up the coast by Kitimat and Prince Rupert. Under the Province’s original LNG strategy, plans called for up to 18 processing facilities at the export terminals, with three slated for completion by 2020.

These projects, representing the largest private sector investment proposals in British Columbia’s history, will support the province’s Canada Starts Here job plan to boost employment and the province’s economy by developing its natural gas resources for new markets. Due to the recent price shocks affecting energy, some of these projects will not be built or will be put on hold, but at least two – Shell LNG and Chevron LNG – will likely go forward at Kitimat, with LNG tankers leaving for Asian markets by the early 2020’s. Ultimately, of course, the price of natural gas will rise again and British Columbia’s LNG strategy – with its investments in pipeline, port and processing facilities – will yield big dividends for the people of British Columbia.

British Columbia has an estimated 2,933 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and converting that gas into a liquid form for transport involves chilling the gas down to -160° C. Once chilled, the natural gas becomes a liquid, condensing to 1/600th of its original volume. Converting the gas at the processing facilities involves construction of specialized piping systems requiring engineered pipe supports that can handle thermal and other dynamic load conditions at very low temperatures.

New extreme low temperature pipe support will be of interest to EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) firms and installing contractors in B.C. as work gears up in designing and building the processing facilities. New pipe support lines like the Anvil XLT (extreme low temperature) provide an ideal solution to cold temperature piping applications, as they have been specifically engineered to support the specific loads and temperature requirements for the production, transportation and distribution of LNG.

For extreme low temperature processing, engineered pipe supports are designed to meet standard specifications and international standards. A critical component in a low temperature pipe support is its PIR (Polyisocyanurate) insulation material, which is manufactured to the diameters of ASTM C 585 under carefully controlled conditions to ensure proper density, dimensional uniformity and stability. PIR materials are available in single and multilayer systems and have clean, sharp edges which are critical to ensure tight fit up.

Multilayered insulation features a ship lapped design that has stepped radial and offset longitudinal joints. These features guarantee perfect fit up with the pipe run insulation and prevent formation of a direct vapour path from the environment to the process pipe.

Also of importance is a pre-bonded vapour barrier consisting of a nearly impermeable fire retardant membrane that covers all exposed surfaces of the insulation and prevents moisture ingress. Such a vapour barrier can be sealed with pre-applied adhesive on overlapping segments of the vapour barrier. To cover the foil and provide additional protection and support to the PIR insulation assembly, a galvanized metal jacket can be added.

The standard pipe shoe base is manufactured from ASTM A-36 or A-515/516 Gr. 65 or 70 carbon steel. Slides can also be made available in ASTM A-240 Type 304 or 316 stainless steel to handle higher loads or special conditions. Standard Slides are available in three finishes standard primer, carbon-zinc, or hot dipped galvanized finish for corrosive environments.

Jennifer Armitage is manager commercial operations for Anvil International EPS.

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