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Factory or Field?

A properly specified and applied pipeline anti-corrosion coating is critical to ensure that the chosen coating is capable of delivering the required performance over the lifetime of a buried or submerged pipeline. Given that the factory applied (mainline) pipe coating must be cut back from the pipe's edges in order to allow for the steel pipe to be welded to the next pipe in the field during pipelay, the field-applied coating that is applied over this welded area forms an integral part of a pipeline's continuous corrosion protection coating system. A high-quality effective end-to-end coating is of paramount importance to the life of a steel pipeline, and if performance and compatibility are sacrificed at the joint area, overall pipeline integrity can be significantly reduced.

This article summarises the performance of some of the leading factory-grade joint coating systems for multi-layer polyolefin-coated pipelines, as well as some of the best practices that have been employed on key pipeline projects that have utilised these advanced coating systems in recent years. The article is also intended to dispel the belief among some that field-applied joint-cutting performance requirements must be significantly reduced frorm those of the factory-applied coating. It is based on a presentation that was given at the recent Middle East Pipelines / NACE UAE Conference held in Abu Dhabi.

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