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PEEK Polymer in Oil and Gas

As stated in the previous post Environmental Impact of PEEK in Oil & Gas in the Take a Peek series, the oil and gas industry of today is focusing on three main challenges:

  • minimizing environmental impact,
  • finding new sources for depleting oil and gas resources, and
  • maximizing efficiency.  

PEEK Polymer Components for Oil and Gas Industry
This second post in the series looks at how PEEK (polyether ether ketone) contributes to the search for new sources of oil and gas.

Other addtional informative posts on PEEK polymer components as excellent alternative source:

Chemically Aggressive Environments

As the quest for new sources of oil continues, so does the search for materials that can withstand the chemically aggressive media encountered, especially down hole.  In fact, some manufacturers have been working specifically on PEEK seals designed for the rigors of heavy oil extraction and enhanced recovery.

Some grades of PEEK meet requirements for exposure to severe sour gas environments, up to 10% H2S in a 100% gas phase at temperatures up to 392°F.  Sour gas is extremely corrosive, and care must be taken to ensure that whatever it comes in contact with is chemically compatible.

It is also resistant to oxidation and degradation due to exposure to UV light and ozone, and the use of PEEK in place of metal eliminates the issue of corrosion.

Ultra-high Pressure and Temperatures

Another challenge encountered in finding resources in new areas is extreme temperatures and pressures.  Unfilled PEEK can function at temperatures of up to 480°F without compromising its strength and stiffness properties, outperforming even PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene).  PEEK is also one of the few polymers that can be continuously exposed to hot water and steam.  In addition, it has excellent dimensional stability, even in the presence of temperature cycling. In dangerous environments where fire might be a problem, PEEK is known for low toxic gas and smoke emissions.  PEEK is also known for its strength and stiffness, making it an excellent choice for high pressure operations.


Polyetheretherketone Polymer Choice

Polyetheretherketone has been the polymer of choice in applications such as deepwater drilling, steam-assisted gravity drainage, and unconventional gas and oil operations.   The next time you are specifying a seal or bearing for petrochemical equipment that will be functioning in an aggressive environment, don’t forget to “Take a PEEK” as a potential polymer component material.



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