I love hearing stories about international projects because while being in an industry that can seem so small, it signifies that the polyurea protective coatings community is everywhere! Sometimes we forget that the high-quality coating material is one that is utilized universally due to its impeccable features and life-time. Recently, a contractor from Bogotá, Colombia contacted us about a project inside a production oil field that holds the storage tanks of the internal process of Colombia Energy Development CO (CEDCO), that pumps crude oil to the pipe lines to the national Oil Company.
The oil field is located in Palo Blanco Station, which is produced and operated by CEDCO, in the state of Casanare near a town named Mani. The oil field is 67 miles away from Yopal, Casanare’s capital.
The tank is used to store crude oil, but after a while, it started to leak some of the internal fluid through the joints of the steel sheets that held the tank together. Hence, CEDCO had to find a solution to fix the tank in order to continue oil production and maintain their storage capacity. In order to solve the problem, they had two options: Either build a brand-new tank or fix the existing one. After evaluating the pros and cons, the customer decided to keep the current structure. Repairing the tank would ultimately result in big savings compared to the cost of completely replacing it.
One of CEDCO’s engineers had some knowledge about the polyurea technologies and the different applications to it, and contacted polyurea coatings contractor Química Industrial y Comercial Ltda. (QICL) looking for a solution to repair the storage tank. The QICL team presented the option to make an internal lining with polyurea in order to fix the internal corrosion and erosion of the tank that was due to a chemical attack. Polyurea would provide a technical and economical solution compared to conventional solutions such as changing the steel sheets, which could present even more damage to the tank.
“Due to CEDCO’s interest in the polyurea solution, we went on a trip with them to Rockwell, Texas, where the facilities of Specialty Products Inc. (SPI) is located,” explains Andres Gomez, commercial advisor for QICL. “As one of the best raw material suppliers in the industry who has high technology development, we were able to show the customer more about the polyurea technology and show some similar projects done with this kind of coating. They were sold on the product then and there.”
Once the QICL team returned to Colombia, the eight-man crew went straight to work on the tank. In order to prep the steel surfaces, the substrate was sand blasted using a Clemco Classic Sandblast Pot, Kaeser 250 cfm compressor, and 40 tons of sand in total. Working on the interior of the tank first, the team applied SPI’s EA-4, a self-primer additive that enhances adhesion, to the polyurea. Then, the QICL team applied 100 mils of SPI’s 2.5mm PTU polyurea with a Graco Reactor 2 E-XP 2 and a Fusion AP gun with a mix chamber 29/29. Moving onto the tank’s exterior, the crew applied six mils of PPG Protective & Marine Coatings’ Sigmafast 278 primer, following the primer, they applied three mils of PPG Protective & Marine Coatings’ Sigmadur 550 polyurethane with a Titan Impact 1140 electric airless sprayer as the final layer to finish off the job.
Although the project was planned to be completed in a span of four weeks, due to the rainy summer season, it took the QICL crew two more weeks than expected, yet they were able to achieve a result that the customers were proud of.
“Thanks to the technical support that we received from SPI, it was possible to achieve the best results for the project. The internal lining and external layer will protect the tank against future corrosion and erosion, provide waterproof qualities, and offers a high chemical resistance which will save the customer costs in the long-run,” says Andres.
Andres expressed that CEDCO was so thrilled by the final result of the project that they have been asked to return to apply the same internal lining to multiple crude oil storage tanks to ensure that leaks will no longer be a problem for the company.
For more information on Química Industrial y Comercial Ltda, go to www.quimicaindustrialycomercial.com. •