International Protective Coatings’ Chartek® fireproofing material is making an invaluable contribution to the success of Europe’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal being built in harsh climate conditions off the coast of northern Norway by providing it with the best possible protection against fire and corrosion.
The massive new Snøhvit LNG terminal—which will go on stream in 2007—going up on the island of Melkøya will exploit three gas fields out in the Barent Sea, about 140 km northwest of Hammerfest in Norway.
From the undersea production platform, gas and condensate will then be pumped through nearly 150km of pipeline to the terminal on the island where it will be processed.
With winter temperatures approaching minus 50 centigrade and few hours of daylight, the technical demands on the EUR 6.3 billion Snøhvit project are immense. Over the 30-year life of the project, the 33,000 ton processing plant will have to withstand the harshest conditions as it processes an estimated 190 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 113 million barrels of condensate.
A major concern in any project involving the liquefaction of natural gas is the risk of fires or explosions. Gas can quickly build up in confined spaces so it’s essential that any calamity can be contained.
with this requirement, German construction firm, Linde AG and Norwegian state oil company, Statoil, which is leading the project, agreed that International Protective Coatings’ Chartek® 7 would provide the best protection.
International Protective Coatings’ originally developed Chartek—a so-called passive fire protection or PFP—for the Apollo space program and for the offshore oil industry to protect steel rigs and structures against volatile hydrocarbon–induced fires, explosions, and jet fires, which can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees centigrade.
It works by expanding to six times its application thickness and turning into a carbon char when a fire breaks out. Besides its excellent fireproofing properties, it also has a low toxicity and is extremely durable, makes it ideally suited to the job it will be called on to do on Melkøya.
But it’s not just Chartek 7 that International Protective Coatings is supplying for the Melkøya terminal. Many of pre-assembled components were coated using an Interfine® acrylic polysiloxane system, which can provide up to four times the aesthetic durability of traditional polyurethane products.
This is a real advantage in a project such as Snøhvit, where extreme climate conditions make maintenance difficult and expensive.