In an age of massive change, how would you say the global pipeline industry has been evolving and what steps has your company taken to adapt to that evolution?
The global pipeline industry has changed significantly in recent years, and today pipelines represent the safest and most environmentally sound method of transporting fuels. This follows years of advancements in integrity-focused technologies.
Recently, the industry has adopted widespread use of corrosion-resistant composite pipes, with a lower carbon footprint and more efficient installation process than previous products. Shawcor has been at the forefront of this revolutionary change with our industry-leading FlexPipe line of spoolable composite pipe technologies.
Tell us more about your company’s footprint in the Middle East’s pipeline industry, particularly in Egypt.
The Middle East is a very interesting region for us. Business tends to be driven by one client only, the local national oil company. We’ve been involved in converting some of these from metal to spoolable composite pipe. Currently, Middle Eastern operators – and in particular Aramco and ADNOC – have not only standardized the use of spoolable composite pipe for all their fields but are also sponsoring research and driving development of the technology on a global level.
Egypt, through its driving force (Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation) and its joint ventures with a number of international operators, has experienced first-hand the benefits of this technology. West Bakr is an example of a very happy user of our composite pipe, and they enumerate its many benefits, from quick and cost-effective installation to a product that mitigates the potential of leaks.
We believe Egypt is a very good market for spoolable composite pipe. It is a proven technology with great potential – both as a replacement for existing problematic pipelines and for new pipelines. Egypt has shown its commitment to the environment and is driving its energy transition. A study done by a major Middle East operator shows that our composite pipe has about 50% less carbon footprint than metal alternatives. That is a perfect example of how our product can help Egypt meet its commitment to a greener environment.
You had once used FlexPipe, which is a corrosion-resistant alternative to steel, to replace steel pipes in Egypt. Please give us a brief overview of the advantages of FlexPipe and how it would affect the wider Egyptian oil and gas market?
To start with, FlexPipe is corrosion-resistant, which allows for significantly longer design life in corrosive environments – whether that corrosion results from corrosive media being transported or from corrosion caused by the external environment.
FlexPipe offers many other advantages to oil and gas operators in Egypt and around the world. If I were to associate one word with FlexPipe, it would be ‘efficiency’. FlexPipe’s innovative spoolable design allows for extremely efficient installation.
One reel of FlexPipe holds several hundreds of meters of pipe. This results in a much lower frequency of connection in the field than steel pipe requires. For example, steel pipe joints are typically 12 meters long to allow for shipment of the pipes, whereas it can be up to 1600 meters before a connection for spoolable composite pipe is necessary.
Additionally, FlexPipe’s proprietary crimp connection is a simple design, so external contractors employed by the oil and gas operator can install the pipe easily and efficiently.
Finally, the flexibility of the product allows it to be spooled, which, in turn, provides additional efficiencies in handling, shipping and laying the pipe in the ground.
How would you say digitalization has contributed to the pipeline industry and would you say that pipeline digitalization in the Middle East is keeping up with the rest of the world?
Digital enablement has played an increasingly important role in moving the pipeline industry forward. The most important advancements have been in the areas of installation and operational cost efficiencies, as well as safety and integrity.
With many technologies allowing for real-time understanding of a pipeline installation or operation, operators can have an immediate understanding of what is happening in the field. This allows for better – and quicker – decision making, which ultimately allows for reduced costs and a safer pipeline operation.
In the Middle East, digitization is part of every strategy and all future planning. Companies in the region clearly see the high value of digitalization.
Many of the services that your company offers involve digitalization, data management, etc. What do these solutions contribute to the services that you offer and how has your company managed to stay ahead in that aspect?
Digital enablement of our leading products, services and data management has been a key focus for Shawcor. Through our iLINE suite of digital solutions, we are committed to advancing the industry by developing and leveraging digital technologies that provide safety, integrity, productivity and cost efficiencies for our valued customers in Egypt and around the world.
One of these key technologies is the iLINE Customer Portal, where customers can log in and view key data associated with their pipe orders, inventories and ongoing projects. The iLINE Mobile Integrity app – utilized by installation contractors on a phone or tablet – gives pipeline owners a real-time awareness of their FlexPipe installations, as well as a paperless installation and approval record. This is a massive step forward in the traceability, visibility and consistency of a pipeline installation.
Climate change is a matter of scientific consensus. What do your pipe coatings and other technologies do to protect assets from the environmental effects of climate change?
The efficient design of FlexPipe results in a much more environmentally friendly system than other options. FlexPipe has a lower carbon footprint than steel, both in terms of its highly engineered and efficient manufacturing process, and its simplified and quick installation process. The installation process also results in a much lower impact on the local environment where the pipeline is being installed. With spoolable composite pipe, there’s a highly reduced use of heavy equipment going in and out of the installation site.
And, as importantly, when properly installed, both our composite pipe and steel pipe coating technologies can significantly reduce the potential of spills, which ultimately is the greatest environmental protection of all when it comes to pipeline installations.
As companies are beginning to commit to The Paris Agreement, what changes have you made to achieve 2050 net-zero goals?
We have established ambitions related to Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gasses (GHG) emissions to achieve a 50% reduction from our 2019 baseline by 2030. We have made progress on these ambitions by streamlining our operations and undertaking energy-efficiency improvements, as well as by increasing the renewable content in the energy that we consume. We continue to remain focused on identifying and acting on opportunities for continuous improvement.
As COP 27 approaches, what are your expectations for the summit and how would that change the way things are done in your company and the pipeline industry overall?
We are expecting further clarity and standardization. We have seen a lot of qualitative discussions around climate adaptation, and we expect to see more concrete roadmaps unveiled in the summit. We continue to view oil and gas as an integral part of the energy mix – as is evidenced in the supply and demand imbalances that we see today. COP 27 may provide more clearly defined expectations on responsible extraction, production and transmission, and on use of these resources.