5 Advantages Of Oil Plastics For Offshore Operations

As the oil and gas industry continues to expand, rigs must be built in harsher and harsher climates. There are rigs in deserts, in the arctic regions and out in the ocean. To ensure that these rigs can stand up to the extreme conditions inside and out, petrochemical plastics are being used in everything from pistons to bearings. These applications are especially important in offshore operations, where heat and cold are combined with the forces of the ocean. While it might be difficult to believe that plastic is better suited to these conditions than metal, oil plastics outperform traditional materials in a number of ways.

Corrosion Resistant

The most common oil plastics used in oil rig parts, including ABS plastic sheet and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), are resistant to many different forms of corrosion. These plastics can stand up to corrosive forces ranging from saltwater to chemicals from sweet and sour gas. As such, plastic bushings and bearings as well as valve and gland seals, are now frequently used to help avoid damage or failure in the most critical parts of the oil rig, including subsea equipment and downholes.

Temperature And Flame Resistant

Oil plastics can withstand a wide variety of extreme temperatures, from the harsh heat found within downhole piping to frigid subsea systems. For example, certain polymeric materials can remain operational in temperatures as low as -320 °F and as high as 930 °F. Oil plastics are also flame retardant and are naturally thermally and electrically insulating.


Many petrochemical plastics are lighter weight than traditional oil rig parts. Every plastic bearing or pipe used in an oil rig helps it to be more buoyant and puts less strain on the support beams holding the structure in place.

Easier To Design And Install

Oil plastics can be molded in a variety of shapes and sizes, making it easier to create custom oil rig parts. This helps make the replacement process easier as well — as old parts begin to wear down, a new identical plastic part can be created. Additionally, when applications such as piston plastic are installed, the rate at which they must be replaced is greatly reduced thanks to plastic's lower friction coefficient and corrosion resistance.


The longer lifetimes of plastic parts reduces the frequency of replacement and even maintenance. This saves money not only in replacement parts, but also in the time and effort it would take to remove old equipment to install the new parts (not to mention shipping the parts out to the rig). For example, using petrochemical plastics in labyrinth seals can save oil operations thousands of dollars by reducing downtime for repairs and keeping all systems running smoothly.

To Sum Up The Advantages Of Oil Plastics:

  • They are resistant to chemical and saltwater corrosion.
  • They can operate in a broad spectrum of temperatures, on top of being flame retardant and natural insulators.
  • They are lighter weight than traditional materials, and sometimes buoyant.
  • They are easy to mold to any purpose, making installation a breeze.
  • They save time and money since they don't need to be replaced or repaired as often as traditional materials.

Find Plastics For The Oil & Gas Industry At A&C Plastics

Whether you need ABS, HDPE or another high-performance plastic, A&C Plastics has the solution for you. Ensure the longevity and safety of your oil rig when you choose from our wide selection.