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Providing a new lease of life for oil and gas equipment in stormy times

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Oilfield Technology,

Andrew Courtney, Operations Director for specialist coatings company Surface Technology, discusses how companies in the oil and gas sector should be looking to introduce new approaches to repair and refurbish their equipment to increase efficiencies throughout the current sector downturn.

Six Months ago the situation we faced as a supplier to the Oil and Gas sector was somewhat concerning, but no one anticipated the oil price per barrel to drop to US$28 at the start of this year. The speed and depth of the impact on the supply chain within the sector has been surprising and many companies are now faced with a sink or swim dilemma.

At Surface Technology we have always endeavoured to work in partnership with oil and gas customers and are always looking at ways in which they can significantly reduce costs, waste and environmental impact through effective repair and refurbishment of offshore equipment. We also practice this approach internally – as a part of Norman Hay plc and alongside our sister company SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts (ASC).

Despite such a wide array of surface solutions available to repair and refurbish critical components, many oil and gas companies are not utilising these to their full affect and may be missing valuable cost saving opportunities.

Drilling down to what’s possible

Here I will outline a range of critical oilfield equipment that can be repaired and refurbished and how coatings can extend their operational life. The range of processes available include thermal spray, selective plating processes such as the SIFCO Process®, painting to marine specification from spot repairs to full asset re-coating, machining and grinding, NDT inspection and pressure testing.

Valve applications. Typically valve bodies and seats can suffer from corrosion and abrasive wear in use when particles are introduced between two moving surfaces. Thermal spray can refurbish them to their original condition using high velocity oxy fuel (HVOF) coatings eliminating the need to purchase new parts.

Drilling equipment

Issues with the manufacturing process can also lead to a need for component salvage. For example, we received the sealing bore of an outer connector sleeve – a critical part of the drilling system – which had been scored during the manufacturing process. A HVOF thermal coating was recommended due to its wear, corrosion and oxidation-resistant characteristics. Once coated, the surface profile of the sealing bore was re-machined to meet the manufacturer’s original specification and then comprehensive inspection and non-destructive testing (NDT) to ensure the part had no microscopic cracks or inherent weaknesses.

Christmas Trees. Pipelines and Christmas Trees, which are used in subsea oil drilling operations, are subject to harsh undersea conditions, but this equipment can be cost-effectively refurbished by working with an oil and gas coating specialist. We use a bristle blasting method as it enables rapid spot repair to small and medium sized areas.

Subsea/marine risers. Larger components with threaded connections such as risers and tethers for tension leg platforms present a coating challenge to the surface finishing industry due to their size and complex handling and resultant health & safety issues. Surface Technology has a facility in Renfrew, Scotland specifically for handling larger and more complex work pieces.


A blowout preventer (BOP) is a large high pressure valve used to prevent the uncontrolled flow of liquids and gases during drilling operations. A common industry problem is mechanical damage caused to the internal sealing diameter of the valve. The most common method of repair is to weld clad with Inconel. However, a more dynamic method of repair would be an HVOF thermal coating due to the moderate transfer of heat to the powder particles and to the work piece.

In-situ repairs

Some repairs can also be carried out in-situ without significant disassembly using the SIFCO Process® and our oilfield equipment preservation service.The SIFCO Process® is the leading method of electroplating localised areas on components without the use of an immersion tank. There are many benefits to choosing selective plating, including the ability to focus the plating onto specific areas of a component, enabling parts to be plated in-situ, helping to minimise downtime and production delays.

In contrast to tank plating, the SIFCO Process® does not require extensive masking or special fixtures to plate the component. SIFCO Process® deposits can be plated at rates that are 30 to 60 times faster than conventional tank plating.

The effective impact of a one stop shop

The benefit of having a complete approach to coating solutions is that customers can be assured that the correct solution will be specified through dedicated technical expertise.

In summary, approaching and considering the selection of an appropriate coating for repair or refurbishment can be a somewhat daunting and complex task. Having more than 50 years’ experience serving the global oil and gas industry, Surface Technology is well placed to help oil and gas customers select coatings to repair and refurbish to the highest standard, increasing asset service life, reducing capital costs and improving profitability.

For more information on Surface Technology’s repair and refurbish offering to the oil and gas industry, you can visit:

For more information on the SIFCO Process®, you can visit:

Adapted from a press release by Louise Mulhall

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