Exxon Mobil Upstream Research, Nippon Steel Corp and Mitsui and Co have jointly developed a new steel which is 20-50% stronger than currently used pipeline steels. To this end, the three companies have signed a letter of intent to commercialise the alloy.
As part of the commercialisation agreement, it is possible Nippon Steel will have their pipe mill upgraded.
The alloy was first developed by Exxon Mobil, who then collaborated with Nippon Steel to make commercial production viable.
The new high strength pipe steel is suited to applications such as natural gas pipelines, which will allow them to be built over longer distances at lower cost. With natural gas usage growing, and resources being located remotely from usage centres, lower cost pipelines could help to make such ventures more economically viable.