In keeping with the oil and gas companies’ ever-increasing requirements related to the quality of well construction material, the United Metallurgical Company (AO OMK) made a decision to proceed with a large-scale investment program to upgrade and revamp existing and to build new facilities to manufacture oil and gas line pipe at Vyksa Steel Works (AO VSW).

The program includes upgrades to all the existing OMK facilities that manufacture electrically welded OCTG tubulars, improvements to the product offering as well as the quality of the oil and gas production pipe, and commissioning of facilities to make a product the Company has never made before, such as oil production tubing.

Pipe Finishing Centre

Let us look at some more detail of one of the projects included in the facility upgrade program, namely the pipe finishing centre project. Up until recently, VSW manufactured casing of diameters 146 through 245 mm. The finishing centre is designed to process enhanced tubulars with ODs ranging from 139.7 to 426 mm and wall gages ranging from 6.2 to 14 mm for the oil and gas industry, including pipe of grades K55 through P110 designed for well construction with coupled connections of any type, including premium and semi-premium connections for complex production. The finishing centre’s design capacity is 100,000 tons of product per year.

The finishing centre has state-of-the-art in-process controls which help supply customers with a high-quality product that meets all the requirements levied against it. Incoming inspection assures full verification of the unfinished pipe. If found to be rejects, joints are colour-coded to point to the various defects. The pipe geometry monitoring system helps read information off every joint highlighting any non-compliances.

The pipes must undergo ultrasonic non-destructive testing both of the pipe body and the ends. In the event defects are identified, the relevant joints are automatically sent to a prove-up and rework station that is equipped with a cut-off saw. If the residual joint length is such that it can be processed further, the joint is returned into the line.

Joints that meet all the requirements are transported to the threading area where their quality is checked by visual inspection and measurement. Subsequently, the product is transported to the magnetic particle inspection (MPI) of pipe threaded ends which identifies longitudinal and transverse OD and ID defects as per the standard. After MPI, prime pipe is fed into the buck-on/torque-down machine.

The finishing centre makes threaded connections to the following standards:

  • API; SC, LC, BC standards
  • in-house connections: VMZ.

Upon customer request, the pipes may be made to undergo hydrostatic testing. The maximum test pressure is 75 MPa.

Once they have cleared all the production areas, the pipes are delivered to the length measurement and weighing station and have markings applied to them. Following the weighing and the length measurement, the pipes are sent to the automation and tracking system which checks that the size fits within the range and the requirements specified in API/ISO.

The principal difference between this new production system and similar ones elsewhere is the system that tracks every pipe which helps improve product quality significantly. Another centre advantage is that the line is designed with space for ancillary equipment required to manufacture next-generation threaded connections. To use of a protective phosphate coating, for instance, and dry dopes that improve product performance and environmental properties.

Taking Care of Communities

OMK emphasises steps to minimise the negative impact its activities may have on the environment. The finishing centre uses energy-efficient ventilation and heating systems while the facility’s barriers are made of advanced heat and sound insulating material. The line has a fully closed water circuit.

All areas use local air filter systems, and the foundations are treated with special substances that completely protect ground water from contaminant infiltration which minimizes environmental impacts.

New Product

The finishing centre has already acquired the capability for a new product type: casing of OD 324 mm with OTTM and Buttress threaded connections. The finished product was able to meet all the quality standards and has already been shipped to customers. Also, the finishing centre commissioned the line automation system at the end of 2018.

At this time, the centre is working hard to set up production and is expected to ramp up to design capacity in the second quarter of 2019.

An in-house facility to manufacture casing with complex threads at the finishing centre will reduce the oil and gas industry’s dependence on imports and will help develop unique threads, including premium ones.