Position: Senior manager overseeing the project management division at the New Iberia operations facility

Company: Bayou Companies

What They Do: Provide a complete line of pipeline anti-corrosion coating and insulation application as well as concrete weight coating, high-temperature thermal insulation, anode installation and engineered services to meet the growing needs of energy customers throughout the U.S., Gulf of Mexico and internationally.

Career: Kimball is a graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He joined Bayou Companies’ family of businesses in 2003 as a commercial estimator and has seen the company grow from a third-generation, family-owned business with revenues of $20 million to a privately held corporation with revenues approaching $100 million.

The Challenge

In late 2012, a major oil producer approached Bayou Companies with a need to extract extremely high-temperature crude oil from deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico and get it through frigid water temperatures to a planned floating platform.

The problem: No existing insulation systems for pipelines could survive operating temperatures in excess of 350 degrees—especially mixed with hydrostatic compression exerted on the pipe in 7,400 feet of water.

The Resolution

Bayou regularly partners with its customers to help them solve problems. The company’s management sought out key advisors and experts to form a team to address the specific needs of this project.

Those included identifying a material that could withstand the extreme heat of the oil flowing through the pipeline, the extreme cold and pressure at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and the sheer weight of the pipe and materials hanging from the platform and reaching down to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Our engineering and research and development team identified an opportunity to partner with a forward-thinking materials science company that might have a solution,” says manager Korey Kimball says.

Testing of the new materials began in March of 2013. Some tests even had to be designed from scratch to ensure that the extreme conditions at the bottom of the Gulf could be simulated to mimic the challenges of the required service life of the pipeline.

While materials testing was progressing, Bayou also had to design an application method to apply this new material on the scale required to meet the customer’s timeline for installation of the project. 

Construction on a new facility began in 2015 at the New Iberia campus. Dubbed Advanced Coating Systems, this new, state-of-the-art coating facility went into production in October of 2016. The project required multiple subcontractors, vendors and partners throughout Louisiana and Texas to meet the timeline required.

Through strategic coordination,  the project was ultimately completed in September of 2018 ahead of schedule and under budget.

“We are still the only company in the world who can do this type of coating at this high of temperature and at those pressures,” Kimball says. “Our clients keep drilling deeper and finding more and more oil deposits, so it looks like a good long-term opportunity.”

The Takeaway

Anything is possible when a company has the right team in place, the right customer-focused mindset and the desire to take on technically and operationally complex challenges.

“The Bayou team came together and showed the industry that it is not about being the biggest, but about being the best,” Kimball says. “We are always willing to work a little harder to find the right solution to meet customer needs. Bayou has been doing that since the 1940s and will continue to improve and drive our industry forward.”