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POSCO's High Manganese Steel Applied to Oil Sand Slurry Pipes for the First Time

Mar. 22, 2017
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  • - POSCO's high manganese steel co-developed with ExxonMobil is five times better in abrasion resistance compared to other products.
    - POSCO's high manganese steel is expected to save operating costs for users by extending pipe replacement cycles

    POSCO paved the way to expand the market of its high-manganese steel by supplying the product to ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company as a material for oil sand slurry pipes.


    On March 22, POSCO agreed to mass-produce and supply "manganese steel for slurry pipes" jointly developed with ExxonMobil and both sides promised to cooperate with each other.


    ▶ POSCO agreed to supply high manganese steel for slurry pipes to ExxonMobil on March 22. Prior to the event, POSCO CEO Ohjoon Kwon and Tom Schuessler, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, had a meeting together and pledged close cooperation between the two companies.


    ExxonMobil, known for applying the most stringent standards in the industry when adopting materials, has decided to use high manganese steel as a material for slurry pipes, thus enabling POSCO to accelerate the sales of high manganese steel for slurry pipes in the oil sand industry in the future.


    POSCO and ExxonMobil have been verifying the quality of high manganese steel for slurry pipes over the past five years by manufacturing slurry pipes jointly and installing them at the latter's worksites. Last year, a slurry pipe of about 1.2km in length, produced with POSCO's high manganese steel through the use of its welding technology, was installed in the Kearl Oil Sands Project of ExxonMobil for about one year as a test. The test found that slurry pipes based on POSCO's high manganese steel dwarfed other slurry pipes in terms of wear performance.


    POSCO's high manganese steel that was applied this time is more than five times stronger than current materials. As the steel becomes stronger as wear progresses, the steel is expected to considerably extend the life of slurry pipes.


    Oil sand slurry passing through slurry pipes consists of a mixture of sand, water and oil, which causes rapid wear, giving rise to maintenance and repair costs. However, POSCO's high manganese steel will greatly slash overall operating costs and shorten maintenance and repair periods due to pipe replacement, which will ramp up oil production and enhance plant operation efficiency.


    "Through close teamwork between ExxonMobil and POSCO, we were able to commercialize new high manganese steel technology being used to dig oil sand fields and produce oil out of oil sands," said Tom Schuessler, president of ExxonMobile Upstream Research Company, who attended the ceremony.


    In response to president Schuessler, "Let's further beef up our cooperation to utilize high manganese steel to achieve the best possible synergy effect not only in the slurry pipe sector but also in various aspects of the oil sands industry," CEO Kwon suggested.


    ▶ POSCO and ExxonMobil employees can be seen posing for a commemorative photo shoot after inking a high manganese steel supply contract at the POSCO Center.


    On the other hand, POSCO's high manganese steel is an innovative steel product that can enhance various properties such as abrasion resistance, a non-magnetic property, high strength, high formability, and resistance to extremely low temperatures depending on manganese content. The company is planning to expand its application to heavy construction equipment and bulletproof military equipment as well as steel pipes and facilities to move various minerals including oil sand slurry.

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