Around the World in 8 Blog Posts: Saudi Arabia
As a global enterprise, Belzona’s operations stretch across the world, yet sometimes it can be difficult to keep abreast of Belzona’s activities on the other side of the planet. Following in the footsteps of the intrepid adventurer Phileas Fogg, we will be travelling around the world over the course of eight blog posts. Starting in Saudi Arabia, we will look at the industries that act as the lifeblood of that country and how Belzona works alongside them to repair, protect and improve their machinery, equipment, buildings and structures.
First stop: Saudi Arabia
Oil and Gas is one of Belzona’s strongest industries, providing countless application opportunities each year; none more so than in Saudi Arabia. Located on the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia is one of the most prolific oil-producing states on the planet, ranking among the wealthiest countries in the Middle East. The greater part of this wealth is hidden underground, as the arid desert landscapes are home to roughly 20% of the world’s total proven petroleum reserves. The oil trade is a cornerstone of its economy, with Saudi Arabia producing an estimated 11.6 million barrels of oil per day.
Rich in oil and opportunities
Oil may be the biggest business in Saudi Arabia, but that business supports an entire economy. All kinds of companies, from catering firms to courier services, are needed to support the oil industry. In turn, any failure or disruptions in the oil and gas operations would adversely affect all the companies involved in this network. In such a fast-paced environment, prevention is just as important as the cure, and Belzona is experienced at delivering both.
Belzona has been active in Saudi Arabia for decades through Hatcon, our sole Authorized Distributor in the country since 1981. For the last four decades, Hatcon has been active across the country in a variety of industries. Significantly, Belzona solutions delivered by Hatcon have been helping to keep the oil flowing and ensure the economy of Saudi Arabia functions smoothly by providing cost-efficient and effective maintenance and long-term results.
Keeping it all flowing
As previously mentioned, a large part of Saudi Arabia’s economy is intrinsically linked with the oil and gas industry, and distribution is a crucial part of that network. At one Saudi Aramco airport, constant traffic was causing severe deterioration of concrete floors and expansion joints. With the equivalent of 400 metric tonnes (450 US tons) of aluminium, steel and carbon fibre repeatedly driving across the floor areas up to 270 times a day, the resulting damage to taxiways and ramps was leaving them in a dangerously poor condition. As well as posing a safety risk, this damage also threatened the effective daily operations of the airport, which in turn endangered the fiscal and operational viability of the facility.
Hatcon representatives visited the site to evaluate the situation, in order to offer Saudi Aramco a turnkey solution package that would repair the damaged areas and prevent the problem from reoccurring.
Fixing the problem
Cracks and spalls, caused by the failure of previous expansion joint sealant installed by a third party, had developed in 40 separate affected locations throughout the airport, as the constant passage of airplanes and facility vehicles placed compressive stress and other pressure on the joints. After consultation, the airport operator decided to use a Belzona concrete and expansion joints repair system comprising of Belzona 4111 (Magma Quartz) and Belzona 2221 (MP Fluid Elastomer) to repair the damage.
The problem areas were prepared with Belzona 4911 (Magma TX Conditioner), which created ideal surface conditions to promote adhesion strength and bonding of the polymeric concrete repair material. Belzona 4111 was then applied by hand using a trowel to rebuild and restore damaged concrete. Timbers wrapped in polyethylene sheets were used to help shape the repair material around difficult spots, such as edges and nosings. Belzona 2221 was then poured at a nominal thickness of 10mm (0.4”) before being left to cure, providing a flexible joint material which moves with the subtle expansions and contractions of the surrounding substrate and responds naturally to the stresses and pressures of daily operation.
Thanks to the rapid curing properties of the Belzona materials, which take only 2-3 days to cure in comparison to concrete’s standard drying rate of roughly 28 days, the airport was able to continue regular operations with no downtime by working around the problem areas. The curing process of the Belzona applications meant that it was possible to shift the working hours to a night-time pattern, which was necessary for health and safety concerns due to the extreme daytime temperatures at the location, and also helped to minimise the impact on the airport’s regular operations.
The repairs took place over the course of 126 days, scheduled to fit around the airport’s daily activities, with all repairs completed successfully. Not only were the damages repaired and adverse effects avoided, but this Saudi Aramco airport is now protected for the foreseeable future thanks to the high quality and durable Belzona solutions. Inspection of the concrete substrate, two years on from the project handover date, revealed that all repaired areas were in perfect condition and have resulted in more efficient and safer airport operations.
This application is just one example of the many Belzona repairs in the golden sands of Saudi Arabia. Belzona solutions can be applied the world over, therefore our next blog post will see a sharp drop in temperature as we head to Canada, the ‘Great White North’. Canada is the second-largest country on the planet, and its oil riggers and diamond mine workers brave the frozen winters to pull natural wealth from beneath its sprawling forests and towering mountains.