Stainless usage in offshore applications
- Submerged components: pipelines and grills for oil, sewage and water, risers for oil platforms, heat exchangers for ships and coastal power plants, equipment attached to hulls of boats and ships.
- Platform structure components: pumps, winches, storage vessels, process vessels, blast gates, umbilical tubes, rebars, cable trays, stairs, tread plates, walkways, oil and gas coolers, gravity separators, etc.
- Deck components for boats and ships like deck eyes, brackets for anchor ropes, shackles, etc.
- Coastal (land-based) handrails, ladders, lamp posts, etc.
A study by the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Science, University of Manchester/UMSIT, titled ‘Developments in the Use of Stainless Steel for Offshore Pipework Systems’, shows how using a super duplex stainless steel deluge system in offshore projects helps reduce the weight and size of the setup as compared to 90/10 cupro-nickel (Cu-Ni) alloy. The deluge system requires minimum nozzle pressure and water flow. The super duplex stainless steel system uses fewer pipes to control water flow velocity, as compared to 90/10 Cu-Ni systems. Thus, the dry weight of a super duplex stainless steel deluge system is reduced by ~15%.
Moreover, it was found that due to the higher strength of super duplex stainless steel, the pipe requirements for the setup were reduced by ~38%. This also implies that applications such as sprinklers and firewater deluge systems, if developed using super duplex stainless steel, will further reduce weight by ~20%.
The reduced weight and pipe requirements in a standard super duplex stainless steel deluge system thus essentially translate into a cost-efficient alternative when compared with 90/10 Cu-Ni alloy. As per the study, the effective cost of super duplex stainless steel piping material used for developing a standard deluge system will be nearly half of that for using 90/10 Cu-Ni alloy.
Corrosion has posed a significant roadblock for the offshore oil and gas industry. Today a large number of corrosion-resistant stainless steel alloys have been developed, with duplex stainless steels having proven their worth for offshore applications.
With lower nickel content, these high-end duplex grades are perfect for the developing Indian offshore landscape. Considering the rising fuel requirement in India, the country needs to establish dynamic coastal Stainless steel valves and pipes in an offshore project. and marine infrastructure for offshore projects. This will include setting up offshore platforms with related logistics including supporting coastal infrastructure. Moreover, as a metal, stainless steel is quintessential for achieving sustainable and clean energy production. It is motivating to see the Indian industry is self-sufficient for developing such grades for a plethora of applications.
The Indian market
India is the third-largest consumer of oil and energy in the world. Oil and gas continue to be major import commodities for India. Fuelling growth across sectors, oil and gas play an important role in building robust infrastructural applications in the nation. With a committed effort from the government and the domestic stainless steel industry, harnessing stainless steel production to address energy access, energy efficiency, energy sustainability, and energy security in the nation is now possible.
India stands tall as the world’s second-largest producer and consumer of stainless steel. With an accelerated growth rate, stainless steel is at par with the global economies as the fastest growing metal in the country. Jindal Stainless continues to empower the domestic industry by producing the best quality stainless steel grades, imparting professional training to local producers, and mediating with policymakers to ensure a level-paying field for the domestic industry. With strong economic growth, the energy demand in India is also expected to grow exponentially. This will require the up-scaling of existing offshore infrastructure in the country. As Indian stainless steel manufacturers become increasingly specialised in developing higher grades, it is possible to accomplish an efficient infrastructure and a self-sustaining ecosystem for offshore drilling and processing through indigenous resources.