How Spray Foam Is Used In The Oil And Gas Industry 

Oil Liners, Ditch Breaks, Oil Tanks, and more

In the oil and gas industry, the focus on hazard reduction for workers and the environment is paramount, as is reducing the size of crews by utilizing simpler application processes. One of the primary components of enhancing the safety and efficacy of most industrial processes is the application of spray foam. 

The most common practice utilized over the years has been laying sandbags. This practice is not only riddled with hazards, but it also requires significant manpower (as many as 10 people) to adequately operate. Replacing material with spray foam to achieve the same function, serves a multitude of beneficial purposes.  


Spray foam is composed of polyurethane and is the contemporary method of the most efficient and safe pipeline construction activities such as pipe pillow generation, rock shield building, and setting up trench breakers. Additionally, operating a spray gun and manning the rig requires as few two people, reducing the required crew size by 80%.  

Because the consequences of damaged piping, equipment, as well as spills or leaks are so dire, spray foam provides the necessary reinforcement and support needed to maintain a safer, sturdier work environment. Long-term pollution of groundwater and soil can be greatly reduced by regular, attentive maintenance to all the containment systems involved in the oil and gas delivery and operation process.  

This practice of secondary containment can create a leak-proof membrane by applying protective coatings that prevent the outside elements from getting into the transported product while keeping the oil, chemicals, and corrosive liquids sealed within. 

Oil Liners 

After far too many incidents that continued to prove that sandbagging or dirt reinforcement is simply not enough of a containment tool, other methods needed to be designed to more thoroughly keep the oil passing through pipes contained within. This is now after all, not only hazard prevention and environmental responsibility, it is also governed by oversight forces with standards and rules, the violation of which results in financially crippling penalties. It is therefore a moral and financial responsibility of companies in the oil and gas industry to secure their piping with prefabricated methods of containment. 

One of those methods is a weather/chemical-resistant, prebuilt inner pipeline coat known as oil liners. While polyethylene liners can be expensive to manufacture, the security they provide to the product and the operating environment makes it a worthwhile investment. In fact, incorporating them into the pipeline construction process pays off in the end as the money involved in less secure piping can incur serious damages.  

Oil liners are applied to piping, easily conforming to three-dimensional forms, and are strong enough to withstand the concrete that it coats, freezing temperatures, long exposures to sunlight, extensive exposure to moisture and humidity, as well as the product flowing within the piping. 

Ditch Breaks And Pile Pipe Support 

Water erosion has traditionally been controlled by sandbags. This labor-heavy approach would keep water problems down, but only slightly so. Using the spray foam solution provides the comfort of not having to excavate significant trenches as it can perform work on the ground level. If a trench is dug narrow, it does not need to be widened in order to set up ditch breaks.  

Spray foam provides great value for a few reasons. It saves time and effort of having to fill up bags with sand and dirt, it contains no ozone-depleting agents, CFCs, or formaldehyde, offers far more support than the sandbag method, allows a trench backfill to be done, offers easier methods of dealing with a downhill pipeline, and is a fully abrasive material, meaning that it will in no way serve to damage the piping that it covers. 

When pipes run underground, such as those that run through deep foundations, the soil topping these pipes does not often offer sufficient support. The process of pipe piling is therefore used to surround the actual operating piping and offer the extra reinforcement necessary from the pressing weight. Often, extra support is provided by spray foam which adds to their already substantial reinforcement. 

For both methods, foam spray can be dispersed in 4-foot wide, deep-set pads to allow pipelines to sit atop them, as well as be covered overhead. The foam can be also applied through the pipe, reinforcing it supplementally, as well as supporting additional protection against potential leaks.  

Petroleum And Oil Field Tanks 

One of the most prominent spray foam uses in the oil and gas industry is lining the insides of petroleum and oil field tanks, as well as propane, chemical, water, Frac, and anhydrous tanks.  

Materials kept in tanks are often required to be preserved at higher temperatures to retain maximum viscosity for when the contents are extracted from the tank, producing easier retrieval flow. Heating costs to keep the tanks perpetually hot or warm enough to preserve such a state of its contents can be an enormously expensive undertaking. Spray foam, however, allows for the tank to retain much of its heat energy. Conversely, spray foam also helps preserve the temperatures if they’re intended to be cold when the contents require it. 

Another obvious advantage of using spray foam in tanks is its expanding nature. That means that it takes up the space that it is sprayed into, meaning that it can conform to any tank shape, not just the standard round variety. The foam also helps to stop tank leakages and potential spills. When sprayed internally, the foam creeps into any open cracks or crevasses, creating a tightly sealed storage containment unit.