The Difference Between Seamless Pipe and ERW Pipe

oilfield api casing pipe l80_450

Casing pipe and Tubing pipe made to API specifications uses seamless or electric-weld processes. Seamless pipe is defined as a wrought steel tubular product made without a welded seam. It is manufactured by hot-working steel or, if necessary, by subsequently cold-finishing the hot-worked product to produce the desired shape, dimensions, and properties. Because of the nature of the manufacturing, the cross section of the tubing wall area may be slightly eccentric and the tubing slightly oval and not perfectly straight.

Electric-welded pipe has one longitudinal seam formed by electric-resistance or electric-induction welding without the addition of filler metal. The edges to be welded are pressed together mechanically, and the heat for welding is generated by the resistance to flow of electric current. The weld seam of electric welded pipe is heat-treated after welding to a minimum temperature of 1,000°F or processed so that no untempered martensite remains. See API Spec. 5CT for exceptions.

Both seamless and electric-weld processes are acceptable for most oil and gas services, but some prefer seamless tubulars for sour service because the electric-weld process may result in a slightly different grain structure near the weld. Such differences are usually eliminated if the electric-weld tubing is heat-treated by the quenched-and-tempered process, which is mandatory for API grades L80, C90, T95, and P110. Couplings usually are made of seamless tubular product of the same grade and type as the pipe.

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