According to the latest market study released by Technavio, the global flexible pipes market for the oil and gas industry is expected to post a CAGR of nearly 4 percent by 2020.
The market will be driven by the growing deep and ultra-deepwater drilling activities in the coming five years. As the global population will increase to over 9 billion in 2040 from 7.2 billion in 2014, the global energy demand is going to increase. This will lead to more offshore oil and gas exploration and production activities during the forecast period. Technological advances, coupled with the growing demand for crude oil, are pushing the oil companies to drill offshore areas to cater to the needs of consumers.
Countries such as Brazil, Mexico (gulf part), Venezuela, Nigeria and other West African countries are projected to show the highest growth in the deepwater market, which is supported by the growing deepwater hydrocarbon discoveries and declining production from onshore and shallow water basins in these countries. The above factors will drive the market’s growth in the next five years.
The cost of repairing and replacing corroded pipes is subject to factors such as location, temperature, and materials. A large amount is spent annually across the globe in repairing and replacing piping systems, cracking transport pipeline, and others. Flexible pipes are widely used to reduce such expenses, as these pipes have high strength, durability, non-corrosiveness, and are lightweight. These properties make them a preferred alternative to steel and concrete pipes used in the oil and gas industry.
Technavio’s chemicals and materials analysts categorizes the global flexible pipes market for the oil and gas industry into four major segments by type. They are HDPE, PA, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and others
Global HDPE flexible pipes market for oil and gas industry
The HDPE flexible pipes dominated the market and accounted for a market share of over 76% in the global flexible pipes market for oil and gas industry in 2015. The HDPE flexible pipe material exhibits many advantages over traditional materials for pressure pipe applications, which are largely used in oil and gas exploration and production activities. These pipes are easy to process, easy to install, light, flexible, corrosion-free, and can be easily welded by butt fusion or electrofusion couplers to confirm a total leak proof network.
“HDPE pipes are cost-effective solutions for oil and gas, municipal, industrial, marine, mining, landfill, and agricultural applications. HDPE pipes can be helpful in carrying potable water, wastewater, slurries, chemicals, hazardous wastes, and compressed gases,” says Chandrakumar Badala Jaganathan, one of the lead plastics, polymers, and elastomers research analyst from Technavio. “These pipes have the lowest repair frequency per mile of pipe per year compared with all other pressure pipe materials used for urban gas distribution.”
Global PA flexible pipes market for oil and gas industry
The PA flexible pipes segment was the second largest segment in the market in 2015 with a market share of around 15 percent and will reach a value of $132.8 million (USD) in 2020. Polyamides are homopolymers of an amino acid. They are also copolymers of a diamine and a diacid. Polyamides have high strength, abrasion, toughness, chemical resistance, and thermal resistance compared with conventional polymers. Polyamide 12 is a part of polyamides. PA 11 and PA 12 are more flexible, good at low temperature, and are also less sensitive to moisture. These are more expensive than HDPE, which is why they are not in great demand. The demand is also low because they are mostly used in high-risk applications such as exploration of sour gas (CO2 and H2S) up to a temperature of 176 F.
Global PVDF flexible pipes market for oil and gas industry
The global PVDF flexible pipes market for oil and gas industry was valued at $45.44 (USD) million in 2015 and will reach a value of $53 million (USD) in 2020, growing at a CAGR of over 3 percent. PVDF is a non-reactive and pure thermoplastic fluoropolymer manufactured by the polymerization of vinylidene difluoride. PVDF is a specialty plastic material in the fluoropolymer family, widely used in applications such as chemical processing, oil and gas, new energies, construction, and others.
“The market is expected to grow a steady pace during the forecast period owing to the recent increase in the demand for crude oil and the resultant increase in the number of offshore drilling activities,” Chandrakumar says. “The population in developing economies is rising at a rapid pace and the total disposable income is also growing, which are driving the market for oil production.”
Global other flexible pipes market for oil and gas industry
The other flexible pipes accounted for a market share of over 3 percent in the global flexible pipes market for the oil and gas industry in 2015. Other flexible pipes include polypropylene (PP) pipes and polyether ether ketone (PEEK) pipes. These are used to transfer oil and gas from exploration and production stages. However, these flexible pipes are less prevalent in oil and gas activities due to their high cost and low availability. Also, manufacturing these pipes involves a number of processes, which further increase the cost.
The key properties of flexible pipes made of PP and PEEK are:
- High heat resistance
- Lightweight and weldable
- Excellent chemical resistance
- Naturally white in color with good clarity
- High dielectric strength
- Continuous service temperature of 500 F
- Low smoke and toxic gas emissions
- Very low moisture absorption
- Excellent fatigue, stress-crack, hydrolysis, and chemical resistance
- Superior creep resistance
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