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RR320 - Elastomers for fluid containment in offshore oil and gas production: Guidelines and review

A set of guidelines has been generated and an associated detailed review developed to cover technical aspects associated with the use of elastomers for fluid containment in offshore Oil & Gas production. Information is provided for management systems associated with selecting appropriate material-types and designs and of acceptable operating strategies to reduce risks. The opportunity is also given to learn more about background features of elastomers and their behaviour when exposed to fluids. Elastomeric components (seals, hoses and many others) are employed extensively for such fluid containment, often in critical locations. Many applications are long-established, with elastomeric components able to function for many years in fluid containment, eg up to 20 years or more. However, some deterioration is always taking place. The ever-present point of issue is whether deterioration will lead to failure before the design life is achieved. In some cases, deterioration can follow predictable routes eg with chemical ageing, timedependent properties such as creep or stress relaxation, or fluid-related kinetic factors such as permeation or diffusion. Hence, estimations can be made as to whether or not an elastomeric component so-exposed can function to completion of design life. Other forms of deterioration sometimes seen at high service pressures, such as "explosive" (rapid gas) decompression or seal-housing extrusion damage, are less predictable; here, prior testing of materials under realistic laboratory simulations of operating conditions is necessary to demonstrate the material's resistance to such failure-modes.

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Updated 2009-05-05