To protect and seal

The history of STOPAQ dates back to the 1970s, when its founder Frans Nooren established the Frans Nooren Waterproofing Contracting Company, a business with a mission to solve many of the civil construction based water problems affecting the Netherlands.

Manufacturing its own, more reliable, products the company drew upon Frans’ practical experience to improve on the existing sealing technology used to fix water leaks at house-inlets. The products created in these early years helped prove vital to the success of a new generation of coatings and sealants, making the company an industry leader in anti-corrosion technology.

“Situated between the oil field of Schoonebeek and the Slochteren gas field, the STOPAQ name was adopted in 1988 and stands for Stop Aqua,” states Frits Doddema, CEO of STOPAQ. “Stopping water ingress at wall and pipe conduits has been the company’s main business since the beginning, but since 1996 it has also been active in the field of anti-corrosion, using its patented visco-elastic technology to permanently stop the possibility of external corrosion.”

STOPAQ is today active in a number of different markets from underground and offshore transmission pipelines to refineries, water and wastewater services, the utilities industry, petrol stations and the civil construction sector. Amongst the many clients the company can list within the oil and gas sector one will find Saudi Aramco, Gasunie, Fluxys, National Grid, Petrochina, GNPOC Sudan and Shell.

“STOPAQ provides solutions to the oil and gas industry that stop water and oxygen corrosive damage, stop dielectric and AC currents and offer strong insulation properties for valuable assets like pipelines, city pylons and power poles,” Frits continues. “This is achieved by the visco-elastic system that consists of a fully amorphous composition, stable from minus 60 degrees centigrade to 95 degrees centigrade. This composition remains stable for life and will not disband in any way. It can also be mechanically protected by a number of other materials, for example tapes, sleeves or liquid coatings.

“Today there is an ever increasing demand for what have been labelled, ‘green products’. This means having something that is non-toxic, produces minimal carbon dioxide emissions and results in a low carbon footprint. From a life cycle and cost perspective, and based on its estimated service life of more than 60 years, STOPAQ’s is undoubtedly the most cost-effective solution in the coating business on the market.”

Setting STOPAQ apart from its competitors is a number of unique selling points and strengths. Unlike most other companies carrying out similar operations STOPAQ does not require a hot work permit or a blasting profile to be conducted before it begins a project. Its products are guaranteed to stick to all manner of different materials and metals and are supported by self-healing systems that work to correct any minor damages. Boasting excellent dielectric strength they become absolutely impermeable once applied, with no osmosis or bacterial corrosion possible once set.

One of the most significant ways in which the company has established its patented products and solutions as some of the very the best in the field is through a lasting commitment to innovation: “STOPAQ represents the true definition of an innovative research and development company,” Frits enthuses. “It is constantly carrying out work to create new, sometimes revolutionary systems all designed to meet its clients demands in numerous different fields and under all sorts of conditions.”

Given the reputation the company holds amongst industry players and its peers there are a number of examples of recent projects that one can draw upon that highlight STOPAQ’s capabilities. One is the work being commissioned by VOPAK at the port of Rotterdam. Together with SMIT Subsea Europe, STOPAQ has been awarded the not inconsiderable task of protecting 400 steel jetty piles. Already being aware of the quality and application advantages of the STOPAQ system in comparison with the polyurethane system used previously, a system was chosen that protects the piles up to five metres below the low waterline. Above the waterline, objects are then shielded from harm by other STOPAQ solutions.

The ease of implementation of the STOPAQ Subsea Compound system is a trait that allows for the careful and timely planning of extensive projects such as the one being carried out in Rotterdam. It allows operations to be conducted independently of weather conditions and, thanks to practical wrapping tape, only requires two divers at a time present for application. Having applied the tape, a water durable polyurethane wrapping band is used as a mechanical protection for the soft corrosion prevention system beneath. As the system is not sensitive to the movements of the underlying substrate while it is sealed, it is able to offer long lasting corrosion protection for 30 years, at the very least.

As Frits enthusiastically highlights: “The growth of the company over the last five years has been nothing short of tremendous. Year after year the business is increasing in size and in order to cope with the rise in demand STOPAQ has acquired a new 30,000 square metre manufacturing site. This new facility will be invaluable as the company expects excellent growth to come in the subsea market.

“This established growth pattern is something STOPAQ wants to maintain for many years to come. The last five years have gone almost perfectly to plan and the company now has a very clear strategy for how to grow the business in the five years ahead. Wherever the future takes the company, one thing that will always remain the same is the fact that, for STOPAQ, ‘Seal for life’ is more than just a slogan, it is a mission, a vision and STOPAQ’s number one value.”

Products:Anti-corrosion and sealing materials