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Popular Plastic Products Used On Oil Rigs

Because the fossil fuels market is continually expanding and seeking new areas to develop, oil rigs are increasingly being built and operated under more demanding and sometimes hostile environmental conditions. There are drilling platforms in the arctic, the desert, and far out into the ocean.

Petrochemical plastics are used in everything from pistons to bearings to guarantee that these rigs can withstand harsh conditions inside and out. In fact, specially selected plastics play a crucial role in offshore operations when the forces of heat, cold, and water are combined. While it may be hard to imagine that plastic would perform better under these circumstances than metal, thermoplastics have proven they can serve better than many conventional materials.

Why Plastics Are So Useful On Oil Rigs

Plastics can stand in for metal and other traditional materials thanks to their impressive durability and impact resistance. But there are many more features plastics bring.


Traditional oil rig elements are heavier than petrochemical polymers. In addition, plastic bearings and pipes found on oil rigs make them more buoyant and reduce stress on support beams.

Temperature and Flame Resistant

Most thermoplastics can withstand heat and freezing conditions, are flame retardant, and offer insulating features. Certain polymeric materials can operate between -320 and 930 °F.

Corrosion Resistant

ABS plastic sheet, HDPE, and UHMW polyethylene are common oil rig plastics that resist corrosion. These plastics can withstand seawater and most chemicals. Plastic bushings, bearings, valves, and gland seals are utilized to prevent damage or failure in undersea equipment.

Simple To Use

Thermoplastics can be easily molded to produce custom components for oil rigs. As old parts wear out, new identical plastic parts can replace them. Similarly, their light weight makes them easier to transport, handle, and install.


Plastic’s notable lifespan lowers the need for constant replacement and maintenance. This saves money, time, and effort needed to remove obsolete equipment. Using petrochemical polymers in labyrinth seals can save oil operations millions of dollars by minimizing repair downtime. Also, plastic’s low friction coefficient and corrosion resistance lessen the rate of piston replacement.

Popular Plastics for Oil and Gas Applications

Piedmont Plastics offers a wide range of plastics perfect for oil rigs and other oil and gas operations. Here’s a rundown of some of the most commonly used plastics in petroleum acquisition and processing.

  • PTFE is stable across a wide temperature range, has excellent chemical resistance, a low coefficient of friction, and excellent electrical characteristics. Applications for PTFE include valve seats, thrust washers, bearings and bushings, downhole drilling equipment, seals, and gaskets.
  • Transparent plastic polycarbonate has excellent dielectric, impact, toughness, minimal moisture absorption, and flame retardance qualities. Over 200 times stronger than glass, polycarbonate is 30 times stronger than acrylic. Additionally, it is much lighter than glass, weighing six times less. Applications for polycarbonate include glazing for large equipment and safety walls.
  • Exceptional strength, dimensional stability, and abrasion resistance are all characteristics of the high-performance material PEEK. PEEK can function in various high-temperature ranges and is resistant to wet conditions like steam and salt water. PEEK can maintain its physical qualities even at the high pressures and sweltering temperatures found in oil and gas environments. Some typical uses for PEEK include valve seats and downhole drilling equipment.
  • Cast Nylon provides outstanding toughness, durability, and tensile strength. It has a low coefficient of friction, is lightweight, and is thermally and chemically resistant. Cast nylon is simple to manufacture and build and offers virtually endless production options. Additionally, it is incredibly economical. Application areas for nylon include valve seats, seals and gaskets, thrust washers, and bearings and bushings.
  • Phenolic Materials are hard, dense materials that apply heat and pressure to varying weighted layers of paper, cotton, or a glass fabric mix impregnated with a synthetic resin. Phenolics weigh about half as much aluminum and have a physical toughness that protects against impact, abrasion, friction, and material fatigue. Additionally, phenolics have exceptional electrical characteristics over a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels, have low water absorption and dissipation coefficients, and are corrosion-resistant to several substances. A few typical phenolic applications are bushings, thrust washers, gaskets, spacers, rings, collars, and ballistic or violent storm protection.

Oil & Gas Plastics At Piedmont Plastics

Piedmont Plastics recognizes the value of material traceability and quality control. Therefore, we collaborate with the top producers of the best high-performance plastics manufacturers. To discuss our select line of plastics for your needs in oil and gas production, get in touch with the materials experts at Piedmont Plastics today.