AkzoNobel reported that it has seen generally positive market developments, which is reflected in the performance of its marine and protective coatings reporting unit, which includes the oil and gas industry. The company reported that marine and protective coatings revenue was up 15 percent in the second quarter, to €418 million.
“This was due to favorable currencies and positive volume development within marine coatings, partially offset by weaker demand in protective coatings due to lower capital spending and delayed projects in the global oil and gas industries. In the first half of the year overall, revenues were up by 13 percent, to €771 million. Marine volumes have driven by strong demand from projects in Europe and Asia, tempered by continued weakness in the Chinese shipbuilding industry,” a spokesperson for AkzoNobel stated.
“2015 has so far been a reasonably good year when it comes to demand for marine coatings,” said Geir Boe, vice president, marine coatings, Jotun. “Deliveries of new buildings show a slight increase, while low levels of new orders make the outlook less promising. We have also seen an increased number of dockings as quite some owners will dock their vessels before January 1, 2016 where the requirement for ballast water treatment will demand investments in new equipment.”
Growth in the marine coatings market can be attributed to a number of factors. “The basic factor is increase in world GDP, which implies more trade and higher demand for transport by sea and tonnage,” said Boe. “Still high growth in China is fundamental. Demand for more tonnage will create cyclical demands for new buildings and a steady increase in coatings for repair and maintenance as the merchant fleet grows.”
Asia Pacific Region Drives Growth
The Asia-Pacific region by far represents the most important market for marine coatings due to new shipbuilding industry and dry-dockings.
According to AkzoNobel, demand for marine coatings is highest in areas of new construction of ships and offshore structures, notably Korea and China, although the market in China has softened recently.
“Asia has increasingly become more important for marine coatings,” said Boe. “Korea, China and Japan are dominating when it comes to new buildings. China is also by far the country where most dry dockings take place. The main reasons for the growth are lower cost and acceptable technology level and workmanship. We also see that Singapore is growing as a hub for ship owners. We believe that the importance of Asia for marine coatings will continue to increase where also new countries like India might enter the arena more strongly.”
Environmental regulations are becoming increasingly stricter in the coming years. “This is very evident in Europe,” said Boe. “The regulations will set the agenda for the R&D for the coating manufacturers and limit the scope of development. Costs related to testing and approval for new raw materials and products will increase dramatically. We also see that regulations in China and Korea become stricter year by year – in China often with short notice time for implementation.”
Both the EU Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) and REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) will have a significant impact on the marine coatings industry.
“At the heart of these regulations is the requirement to demonstrate the safety of our products for our customers and the environment,” said Gareth Prowse, Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs manager, Performance Coatings at AkzoNobel. “This approach is at the core of our product development ambitions and our own Product Stewardship initiatives such us the Priority Substance program, an industry leading approach to managing hazardous substances in our products. As such we are well prepared to manage any possible restriction on individual substances.”
The BPR will affect the availability of biocides for use in the antifouling coatings industry. “We expect that the core biocides used in these products will still be available after the BPR evaluation period (for example, Econea, Zineb, DCOIT and Copper Pyrithione have all been approved for use),” said Prowse. “However, the cost and risk involved with registering a genuinely new biocide not used in another sector – such as pesticides or pharmaceuticals – is unlikely. To that end the BPR is stifling innovation which means that the industry may lose out in the long run as we miss the opportunity to use potentially undiscovered environmentally benign substances with excellent performance.”
“There is also significant uncertainty about how each country will manage the authorization of individual products,” he continued. “The ambitious protection goals of individual Governments may ultimately create a patchwork of regulation in which products are restricted from use in some countries but approved in others. If antifouling products aren’t regulated in an appropriate and consistent way across the EU then there is a very real threat that the construction and maintenance industries will be pushed outside of the EU. Meanwhile, certain markets outside of the EU are currently facing an increase regulatory activity. South Korea is starting its ‘Korean REACH’ program, similar to EU REACH, which will affect how products are classified and managed. China has also tightened up on its local chemical Inventory systems, whilst Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam all have regulation in place to control the use of chemicals in their respective countries.”
As yet no specific regulatory framework for managing biocides has been implemented in these countries, instead merely listing biocides as prioritized hazardous substances requiring scrutiny early in the work plan for the regulations.
According to AkzoNobel, one of the key trends in the marine market are the current and impending environmental regulations such as the new Emission Control Areas (ECAs) where operators must invest in more costly distillate fuels or scrubbers to ensure compliance with the new 0.1 percent sulphur limits and the need to increase operational and cost efficiencies, combined with the pressure to improve sustainability.
“AkzoNobel is at the forefront of bringing new innovations to meet those needs, particularly in hull coatings, which are the most widely used eco efficiency technology,” said Jim Brown, market development manager, Marine Coatings at AkzoNobel. “We have seen a significant increase in demand for products such as our multi-award winning biocide-free anti-fouling product Intersleek1100SR, part of the International range of marine coatings. We also appreciate that not every owner and operator may want to use a premium product, but still want to improve the operational efficiencies of their fleets. Herefore, we continue our commitment to providing a comprehensive choice of products that guide customers through the sustainability value chain.”
“For example, we have seen an uptake in our Intercept 8000 LPP, a biocidal linear polishing polymer antifouling featuring patented ‘Lubyon’ technology that delivers predictable long-term performance for in-service periods of up to 90 months,” he noted. “Although it is priced below Intersleek 1100SR, it still provides an average five percent fuel and efficiency savings.”
AkzoNobel also noted in the offshore market, there is a notable shift in demand, with a decline in floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units being replaced by significant investment in Norwegian oil and gas assets.
“The floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) segment is also gathering pace, and there is increasing demand in the floating storage and regasification (FSRU) market as countries look to regasify larger volumes of LNG offshore instead of onshore,” said Toby Stein, market manager Upstream Oil and Gas, Protective Coatings, AkzoNobel. “With offshore margins tighter, there is continued demand for fire protection coatings with lower applied weight and which will give high levels of performance and protection against hydrocarbon fires. This reflects the increased focus on improving productivity and reducing cost of application.”
“For corrosion protection, pure epoxy universal primers continue to be the solution of choice to provide long-term asset protection, and customers are seeking to reduce coatings complexity and provide long-term performance across a wide range of operating conditioned,” Stein added. “The contraction in capital investment in the offshore market has resulted in a more careful analysis operational expenditure. There is an increasing requirement for coatings companies to provide a holistic approach to managing assets using state-of-the-art IT technology to link corrosion surveys to enable operational budget planning.”
Jotun has been instrumental in developing an ISO standard for measuring hull performance. This standard is expected to be finally approved within a years time. This method of measuring hull performance makes it possible to measure the performance of the antifoulings throughout the vessel’s sailing period and is a good basis for a ship operator to select the right hull coatings solution for each vessel. Jotun has launched a solution which comply fully with this standard including an antifouling – SeaQuantum X200 – with guaranteed maximum speed loss over a vessels sailing period.
PPG Industries’ protective and marine coatings business offers PITT-CHAR XP coating, a dual-performance cryogenic spill protection (CSP) coating that guards substrates against extremely high and low temperatures in marine and industrial environments. Designed as a flexible epoxy-based intumescent passive fire protection (PFP) coating, PITT-CHAR XP coating can prevent steel structures from heating up rapidly in the event of a fire by providing insulative protection against high temperatures.
“With growing interest in LNG (liquefied natural gas) projects balanced with budget cuts widespread across the oil and gas industry, owners and engineers need to minimize fabrication and construction spend wherever possible,” Donald Le, PPG global offshore segment manager said. He added that when it comes to PFP and CSP, using PITT-CHAR XP coating’s patented flexible resin system can dramatically enhance production schedules while reducing costs against traditional duplex systems and avoiding cracking and damage during transportation and erection. PPG’s comprehensive protective coatings range features tank linings, zinc-rich primers, general-purpose epoxy primers, splash zone and subsea coatings, and durable finishes, combined with its hydrocarbon PFP/CSP offering.
AkzoNobel’s latest offerings are Intersleek 1100SR, Intercept 8000 LPP and Chartek 8E Intersleek 1100SR. Intersleek1100SR is the shipping industry’s first biocide free, fluoropolymer technology that tackles slime. “Every year it costs the shipping industry an estimated 44 million extra tons of bunker fuel and an extra 134 million tonnes of CO2 emissions,” said Brown. “Development of the fluoropolymer included a three-year research program involving a multi-discipline team of marine biologists, hydrodynamicists and polymer scientists. The team was supported by world renowned independent academic institutes, four years of laboratory testing and in-service and full vessel performance data from some of the world’s leading ship owners and operators.”
Intersleek1100SR delivers fuel-saving performance throughout the entire docking cycle of a vessel. Designed for all commercial vessels, even when slow or ultra-slow steaming, Intersleek1100SR delivers outstanding macro and micro fouling control with good static resistance, even in warm waters. “Intersleek technology has been proven to increase a vessel’s efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions and associated fuel costs by an average of nine percent,” Brown noted.
Intersleek1100SR is biocide-free and has higher volume solids and lower film thicknesses than antifouling systems. This typically results in a 40 percent reduction in paint volume and 60 percent reduction in VOC emissions for first time application. It has been adopted by the shipping industry since its launch in February 2013 with almost 500 vessels coated.
The benefits of Intersleek1100SR in reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions can also create additional bottom line benefits for ship owners and operators who enroll their vessels into AkzoNobel’s carbon credits program, the first methodology of its kind developed for the shipping industry in conjunction with The Gold Standard Foundation.
The methodology is based on ship owners converting existing vessels from a biocidal antifouling system to a premium, biocide-free advanced hull coating such as the Intersleek range of products. Based on the 100 eligible ships already converted from a biocidal antifouling to Intersleek technology, there is an estimated $2.8 million worth of carbon credits potentially available to ship owners and operators. The first claim, worth almost $500,000 for 17 vessels is being audited now – and we anticipate the first credits to be issued shortly.
Intercept 8000 LPP is AkzoNobel’s latest biocidal linear polishing polymer antifouling technology that delivers a consistent and predictable long-term performance for in-service periods of up to 90 months. This helps ship owners and operators to plan and budget effectively throughout the dry-docking cycle of a vessel.
“It can increase efficiencies and reduce fuel costs and associated emissions by five percent in comparison to controlled depletion polymer antifoulings,” said Brown. “This is because it is based on patented LUBYON polymer technology, which gives the coating a ‘superhydrophilic’ surface; when the coating is immersed this creates a lubricating effect, which results in less friction.”
LUBYON technology reacts with seawater via a constant surface active zone releasing only the optimum amount of biocide over the scheme life to control fouling settlement. Critically, this biocide release rate is largely unaffected by seawater temperature meaning Intercept 8000 LPP has total trading flexibility and can operate across global routes and through all seasons.
Chartek 8E is a high-performance two-component epoxy intumescent passive fire protection product aimed at the offshore oil and gas industry. “Chartek 8E provides a significant reduction in applied weight, addressing a key customer need, while meeting benchmark performance requirements,” said Aidan Mernin, R&D director, Protective Coatings, AkzoNobel. “Chartek 8E, based on a proven in-service technology is optimized to provide 60 minutes resistance to hydrocarbon pool fires without the use of mesh; a 60-minute resistance to jet fires can also be achieved through the use of mesh reinforcement. An intensive R&D program has enabled the optimization of char expansion technology with and without mesh reinforcement during jet and pool fire exposure.”
Axalta Coating Systems has formed a strategic relationship between Axalta and Hempel (USA) Inc. The relationship will enable the formulation/availability of a coating system that boasts external coatings with significant corrosion protection and internal coatings with advanced flow efficiency for natural gas transmission pipes in the North American oil and gas pipeline market. “We, at Axalta, are thrilled to partner with Hempel to offer a full product line of world class powder and liquid coatings for the North American market,” stated Ron Hull, Axalta North American sales manager. This new relationship combines the corrosion protection found in Axalta’s fusion-bonded-epoxy powder for external pipe for oil and gas pipelines with Hempel’s advanced, liquid, flow-efficiency epoxies for internal coating. The resulting product is a corrosion and abrasion-resistant internal and external coating designed to be suitable for even the harshest of environments. “By pairing Hempel and Axalta’s product offerings, we offer the gas-pipe industry an unparalleled technology and competitiveness platform,” explained Martin Miller, Hempel USA Downstream segment manager.