Abakan Addresses Crucial Need for Next-Gen Surface Engineering in Critical Infrastructure

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Abakan Addresses Crucial Need for Next-Gen Surface Engineering in Critical Infrastructure

WHITEFISH, MT / May 27th, 2014/ Abakan, Inc. (OTC: ABKI) has positioned itself to quickly become a top player in the growing $150B global market for advanced metal coatings and formulations by putting together an impressive portfolio of next-gen tech firms like MesoCoat, Inc., which is focused on advanced wear and corrosion solutions primarily for the oil and gas and energy industries; Powdermet, Inc., which manufactures high-strength light-weight metal composites and advanced nanopowder manufacturing; and Terves, Inc., which manufactures metal tools and components that dissolve, disintegrate, swell, change shape, store and release energy to make oil and gas production safer and more efficient.

The company stands ready to address the mounting public and private demand for advanced surface engineering, especially in critical infrastructure markets, with a host of proprietary technologies that directly offset the staggering (yet underreported) impact of material degradation. Oft-cited NACE Corrosion Costs Study data from 1998 indicates that the direct costs of corrosion amounted to a whopping 3.1% of U.S. GDP, but when including indirect costs estimates climb above $1T for 2013 alone, or 6.2% of GDP.

Concerns Over the Keystone XL Pipeline

Critics of Keystone XL, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, have raised the alarm over the potential environmental impact of pipeline failures due to corrosion, and have argued that the product to be moved through the pipeline has higher than normal corrosion risk due to its origin in the Alberta tar sands. The argument that higher grit content and increased acidity in such bitumen, which is diluted with light hydrocarbons to get it to flow (or dillbit), has been a major point of contention for the Keystone XL project.  This highly corrosive product is referred to in the industry as "sour" oil and gas.

Clad pipes have proven to be the most economically viable option for production and transportation of sour oil and gas. Clad pipe is typically produced by cladding (coating) a low-cost carbon steel pipe with a thin layer of expensive corrosion-resistant stainless steel or nickel alloys; which costs a fraction of using a more expensive solid stainless steel or nickel alloy pipe (8-40 times higher cost).

While cladding carbon steel pipes is cheaper than using solid alloy pipe, the conventional technologies used to produce clad pipe have several limitations. Clad pipes manufactured using the CermaClad technology are easier to inspect, bend, reel, and install unlike the mechanically lined pipes; as well the process provides a seamless cladding unlike the roll bonded plate to pipe alternative.

2.6 Million Miles of Pipelines, with Spills Everyday

The corrosion failure concerns for our continuously expanding 2.6M-mile network of pipelines are amply characterized by the numerous incidents (1.6 per day between 2010 and 2013) documented by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Beyond such pipeline-related metal corrosion concerns lies the broader, more daunting problem of corrosion in bridges, power plants, ships, and trains.  Clearly, the time for nanocomposite material science, as well as advanced cladding processes like MesoCoat's high-speed large-area fusion cladding technology, CermaClad(TM), has come.

The CermaClad process (view video) is ideal for protecting large-areas of metal subject to considerable corrosion or wear and the advent of this processing technology allows the cladding process to keep pace with the line speed of steel mills (15 to 100 times faster than conventional weld/laser cladding). Such a high-speed, economical fusion cladding process represents a paradigm shift away from cladding carbon steel pipes with stainless steel or nickel alloys and offers improved metallurgical/mechanical benefits, as well being completely seamless, further enchaining the overall safety and workability profile of the pipe. To put it simply, pipes coated using CermaClad technology should be able to withstand the assault of corrosive fluids throughout the life of the project, which will lead to less corrosion related spills and leaks to worry about.

Further enhancing ABKI's competitiveness and environmental-safe profile is the company's PComP(TM) series of nanocomposite core, cermet coatings, which are able to extend the life of components by as much as twenty times while being cheaper and lighter, as well as safer and free of toxic chemicals.

MesoCoat’s PComP technology is a platform technology that enables combining different materials that do not usually combine well together, and by doing that PComP products achieve properties and performance that are very difficult to achieve. For example, MesoCoat’s PComP coatings are both hard and tough, a feat considered impossible to achieve since hardness and toughness are inversely proportional and before PComP’s it was only possible to get either high hardness or high toughness, but not both.

These unique properties and benefits of PComP coatings have been verified by several oilfield companies, and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) published a paper that highlights that MesoCoat’s PComP carbide coating provided 80 times longer life in sliding wear environment. The math behind the benefits of PComP is very simple, the oilfield components that are coated using PComP cost anywhere between $10,000 to $200,000, but every single time that you have to stop production to repair and replace those components due to coating failure costs millions of dollars per day in downtime costs; so if PComP coatings can make the components last longer, then they are saving millions of dollars every year.

Given that International Energy Agency data indicates roughly 70% of remaining oilfields on the planet contain highly corrosive components, CermaClad has a very bright future on the global energy stage. Concerns over the TransCanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP) Keystone XL pipeline typify the situation and throw a much-needed spotlight on vastly overlooked preventative technologies like those offered by ABKI, which can substantially address the underlying risks.

Worldwide Issues with Corrosion

The concerns are valid, as there has recently been an issue in Kazakhstan at the massive Kashagan offshore oilfield.  Even though this is the biggest oilfield find in 35 years, with as much as 13B bbls in reserves estimated, production may fail to restart at all this year due to prevailing concerns over microcracks in the 112 mile pipeline network of this $50B project.

Kazakh authorities are livid as outputs have been further delayed pending arduous/complicated inspection of the network. With the North Caspian Operating Company consortium, headed up by sector majors like Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A), Total (NYSE: TOT), and Eni (NYSE: ENI), as well as Kazakhstan's state-run oil and gas firm KazMunaiGas, already being sued for some $737M due to ecological damage, there are serious questions now about who will pay for the complex inspection and possible overhauls. As the old adage goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and with Abakan’s CermaClad pipe coating technology oil and gas companies can exponentially minimize the risk of pipeline leaks and failures.

There is huge demand for thick-walled clad pipes in the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil, and a massive requirement for large-diameter clad pipes in the Asia-Pacific and MENA regions – the mechanically lined pipe and roll bonded plate to pipe alternatives are not ideal for thick-walled and large-diameter clad pipes due to several quality and mechanical limitations. Given the huge need for clad pipes in Brazil, it comes as no surprise that South American oil and gas major, Petrobras S.A (NYSE: PBR) has invested in development and qualification of Abakan’s CermaClad clad pipe product.

Abakan Growing to Meet Demand

To meet the growing demand for high-quality pipe coatings that can withstand the assault of corrosive oil and gas; Abakan intends to build an 8-line corrosion-resistant clad pipe manufacturing facility in Batam, Indonesia. The high productivity of the CermaClad pipe cladding technology will enable Abakan to build the facility at a miniscule investment compared to its competition; a $36M investment in the 8-line clad pipe manufacturing facility would lead to more than $250M in annual revenues, a very healthy ROI.

Abakan is currently in talks with a number of oil and gas companies, which are evaluating the capacity and availability of clad pipes for their projects. Several large projects have been delayed by major oil and gas players due to lack of quality corrosion-resistant clad pipes, which is a testament to the growing requirement for the product.

The market for clad pipe is growing, the supply is limited, and Abakan’s CermaClad has both the promise and the potential to make its mark and dominate the multi-billion dollar clad pipe market.


To Learn More on Abakan, please visit their website at Abakaninc.com.



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SOURCE: Emerging Growth LLC