The oil and natural gas industries present very challenging environments for industrial wire and cable. Wire products must be exceptionally durable and perform reliably in hazardous and sometimes dangerous conditions. With safety as a prime consideration, engineers must carefully choose the appropriate wire insulation and jacketing to match environmental conditions.

The Petroleum Refinery – Challenging Even the Toughest Wire

Petroleum refineries harvest a wide range of petroleum products (e.g., diesel fuel, gasoline, motor oil, and asphalt) from crude oil. Solvents are used extensively in refining, and many gases are released during the process as well. Over time, these solvents and gases can degrade and break down the outer jacket of wire and cable deployed in the refinery.

Of the two most common industrial building wires, THHN and XHHW-2, the latter is typically used in refinery environments. XHHW-2 is a cross-linked polyethylene, high heat and water-resistant building wire that is thicker and more durable than THHN (thermoplastic high heat resistant nylon).

XHHW-2 also provides greater protection against moisture, chemicals, and abrasion than THHN, and is more flexible. XHHW-2 has a 90° C temperature rating in dry and wet locations, and offers a 1000 volt rating with CSA rating.

Tray Cable With XLP Insulation For Harsh Conditions

Tray cable, installed in cable trays or raceways, is another cable often deployed in refineries. An ‘all-around’ cable, tray cable is used for many applications, including control, instrumentation, lighting, and power.

Kris-Tech manufactures two types of tray cable.

VNTC (THHN inner, PVC outer jacket) is commonly specified for commercial or light industrial applications. Refineries and other demanding environments typically use XPTC tray cable (XLP insulation, PVC outer jacket). XPTC’s XLP insulation is more durable compared to VNTC.

All Kris-Tech tray cable is UL 1277 compliant, has a UL direct burial rating, carries an ER (exposed run) rating, and complies with NEC 9.2 and 9.3 standards.

Natural Gas Distribution – Protecting Workers and Infrastructure

Natural gas, delivered through underground pipes and conduits, is ubiquitous across most of the country. However, careless digging can damage natural gas pipes, resulting in outages, costly repairs, and serious injuries.

Tracer wire is a specialty product buried with non-conductive gas distribution pipes to help locate natural gas infrastructure before digging. Contractors and construction crews use a frequency generator to send a current through the wire, pinpointing pipe locations before excavation.

Different-colored tracer wire is used to identify different buried utilities: red for electrical, green for sewer, blue for water, and yellow for natural gas.

Kris-Tech manufactures two types of tracer wire — solid copper and copper clad steel (CCS). While solid copper tracer wire provides excellent signal fidelity and greater flexibility, CCS tracer wire has a higher breaking strength and is more rugged than solid copper. CCS is also lighter, typically less expensive, and, unlike solid copper wire, has limited resale value if stolen.

All Kris-Tech tracer wire is manufactured with a durable, high molecular weight polyethylene (HMWPE) insulation. Our solid copper and CCS tracer wire options are both electrical and corrosion-resistant and rated for direct burial in wet or dry locations. Kris-Tech makes PE30 and PE 45 Jacket thicknesses for the above products.

Safety Is Top of Mind

For the oil and natural gas industries, wire and cable products must perform at very high levels to ensure worker safety in hazardous conditions.

Industry certification is critical to maintaining product integrity and performance. All Kris-Tech products are UL tested and certified to meet or exceed industry specifications, ensuring our oil and gas customers’ safety.

Over and above quarterly and annual UL testing requirements, Kris-tech also conducts spark testing, elongation tests, and several types of flame testing per UL. As well, our wire and cable solutions are evaluated for all aspects of long-term performance.

At Kris-Tech, we take those extra steps as part of our commitment to continuous improvement. We’re always looking for ways to make our wire products perform better — and more safely. We know our oil and natural gas customers depend on it.

Learn more about our tracer wire and tray cable products.

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