Jørgen Gross-Petersen

Lately Jørgen Gross-Petersen has focussed on applying modern polymer techniques to developing a pipeline that reduces scaling and lowers costs.

Innovative researchers have no expiry date

Although Jørgen Gross-Petersen has retired three times, he still has his mind full of innovative ideas for the oil and gas industry

When Jørgen Gross-Petersen encounters a problem, he is inspired to develop a solution. By nature, he reacts like this, ever since he defended his PhD thesis 40 years ago and began a career with Maersk – at the beginning building ships, later working as an oil and gas facilities engineer. 

After a long career as Chief Engineer he has retired three times. The first time was when he turned 65 in 2008. However, he continued with Maersk Oil and Gas until he took retirement a second time in 2016 – then only to continue as an advisor to the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre. In December 2018, he retired for the third time, when he formally stopped at the centre. But this was not the end of his innovative ideas. 

Most recently, he and colleagues from Aarhus University completed the development of a new type of polymer pipeline to replace traditional welded carbon steel pipelines. 

But what are the problems with carbon steel pipelines? 

“Well, carbon steel pipelines have advantages, but there are certainly challenges as well. Especially, the risks of corrosion and scale entail costly repairs for the oil industry,” says Jørgen Gross-Petersen. 

Corrosion resistant pipelines 

For conventional carbon steel pipelines, a higher percentage of failures and incidents reported are related to corrosion. 

Jørgen Gross-Petersen explains: “Obviously, this is a big problem. Therefore, corrosion resistant pipelines less prone to scaling would be a significant advantage for the offshore oil and gas industry. Polymer pipelines have a smooth surface, increasing the flow in the pipelines, and due to the flexibility of the polymer material, only a low pipeline tension is required during laying, and smaller and lighter laying gear is feasible.” 

Since the polymer material is lighter than steel, its buoyancy presents a challenge, but this can be solved by adding a weight coat to the polymer pipeline. This will also prevent damage to the oil pipeline from fishing trawlers. 

“We have now completed the project and are considering submitting a patent application,” he says. 

The aim of DHRTC is to identify, develop and consolidate technologies that make it possible to increase the recovery of oil and gas. 

“I have always liked the idea of bringing different research areas together – even short projects can turn out to be quite successful,” Jørgen Gross-Petersen says. 

Even though the experienced specialist has formally retired, he will probably still be a regular visitor to the centre. 

”I am still getting ideas. For instance, I am currently working on a new way to connect satellite platforms merely used to receive oil or gas from production wells to existing platforms – cheaper and faster,” he says with a smile.

Jørgen Gross-Petersen

Lately Jørgen Gross-Petersen has focussed on applying modern polymer techniques to developing a pipeline that reduces scaling and lowers costs.

“I have always liked the idea of bringing different research areas together – even short projects can turn out to be quite successful,” Jørgen Gross-Petersen says.