Major Oil & Gas Company Installs 65+ Miles of FlexSteel Pipe in Brazil’s Amazon Jungle
Located in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, the Solimões Basin holds the country’s largest natural gas reserves and its second largest oil and condensate onshore production area. With operations in the basin’s natural gas-rich Urucu Fields, a customer needed to find a pipeline solution for a new 65 mile pipeline construction project that could be installed with minimal impact to the land. The Urucu Natural Gas Fields are located deep within the environmentally sensitive Amazon Jungle, and it was critical that to find a way to limit deforestation during construction. Over the last two decades, Brazil has been focused on reducing the rapid pace of deforestation throughout their portions of the Amazon. And as with any pipeline construction project in the Jungle, the pipe had to be durable enough to withstand direct installation in the rough terrain. Because of the constant hot and rainy conditions, they also needed a solution that would be corrosion resistant. These gathering and flow pipelines would operate under cyclic conditions, transporting water and natural gas for well sites throughout the region.
The customer selected 4 and 6-inch 1,500 and 2,250 psi FlexSteel pipe for the project because it could rapidly be deployed from reels, and would require significantly smaller installation crews and less equipment than steel pipe. By reducing the number of installers and the amount of equipment, they were able to reduce the size of the right of ways required to complete the installation – dramatically decreasing the amount of deforestation on the project as a whole. The client also wanted to let vegetation grow back over the pipeline right of ways once construction was complete. To be able to do this, they needed a pipe that required little to no long-term maintenance. FlexSteel proved to be the right solution. FlexSteel pipe is extremely durable, able to withstand direct installation in harsh corrosive environments, and is strong enough to operate under cyclic conditions without needing to be derated over time. Each reel of pipe was connected with stainless steel fittings by FlexSteel’s innovative swaging units. The extremely corrosion resistant polyethylene (PE) exterior shield and interior lining of the pipe could easily withstand the corrosive operating environment and fluids that the pipes would transport. To make the pipe easier to locate in the dense jungle vegetation, FlexSteel used a white exterior PE shield for the pipe.
More than 65 miles (105km) of FlexSteel pipe was installed on the project. FlexSteel’s expert technicians trained a total of 24 of the client’s employees, who made up 3 installation crews - significantly fewer installers than would have been required for steel pipeline construction. The smaller crews were able to complete the installation in just 4 months, less than a third of the time that it would have taken to install steel pipelines. By utilizing smaller crews, minimal equipment and completing the installation quickly, the customer was able to generate significant project savings. And as planned, they minimized deforestation during pipeline construction by creating smaller right of ways. Upon completion of the project they were also able to allow the jungle vegetation to grow over the pipe without fear of having maintenance issues. Pleased with the success of the project, The customer is currently placing orders for additional FlexSteel pipe for new projects in the region.