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Vallourec: how steel pipes meet the carbon challenge

02/12/2019 - Environment

The annual EVOLEN Days were held in Paris last October. During this major event, 600 professionals gathered to discuss and explore the topic of oil, gas and renewable energy. The theme this year was “Carbon Challenge: technologies for the energy transition”. The event served as an opportunity for Sylvie Dubois-Decool, Innovation Director, to exhibit Vallourec’s low-carbon strategy.
Vallourec forest

Our steel production is nearly carbon neutral...

The production of steel (and pipes) inherently emits high levels of CO2. This is not the case at Vallourec, which is virtually neutral in carbon emissions, positioning the Group as the best placed producer in this field. 
Indeed, of the 60% of steel produced internally, 73% comes from our electric steel mills in Jeceaba, Brazil, and in Youngstown, United States, which use scrap metal made from recycled elements. Another part of the steel is manufactured in Brazil using charcoal produced on 110,000 hectares of eucalyptus forests harvested by Florestal, a subsidiary of Vallourec. The eucalyptus trees absorb CO2, mainly from roots, and form a giant carbon sink.
Eucalyptus
Sylvie Dubois-Decool

Thanks to our technical expertise, our innovations and our 100,000 hectares of eucalyptus forests in Brazil, our steel production is nearly carbon neutral.

Sylvie Dubois-Decool Innovation Director
Our steel mills and all of the Group's plants are working to reduce their energy consumption and thus their emissions. 40% of Vallourec's global production complies with the standard ISO 5001*, and the Group's goal is to have 90% of its plants certified by 2022.

These efforts have been recognized. EcoVadis has recently assigned the score of 90/100 to Vallourec for its CSR policy, and the company has joined the top 1% for its score on the Environment aspect. 

Cleaner production, energy-efficient processes... Vallourec has led an active policy to reduce its CO2 emissions for over 10 years. The Group is now looking to go further. In 2018, it subscribed to Science Based Targets** (SBT) certifications. SBT helps companies to set and validate targets for reducing their carbon footprint in line with the Paris Agreement – COP21. For this reason, Vallourec has made it its goal to have its carbon trajectory validated by the SBT, as of 2020.
 
 

… and optimum support for our customers

Digital solutions, new coatings, new materials, such as 3D printing (which helps ensure just the right quantity of raw material is used), and new technologies for tubes and smart connections are all solutions that help to reduce our customers' carbon footprint. For example, CLEANWELL®, a non-polluting coating applied in the factory on the threaded connections, replaces highly toxic storage and screwing lubricants. Waterproof VAM® connections detect and prevent leaks of hydrocarbons and greenhouse gases. They are perfectly design for switching from oil to gas as recommended by the OGCI (Oil and Gas Climate Initiative). Lastly, the "green" tubes manufactured in Brazil offer low-carbon tubular solutions. 
Man with tablet in Nigeria
This support is accompanied by innovations relating to recycling, like for threading protectors, and to the circular economy. The Group’s internal innovation challenge recently rewarded the AssetUpTM project, the aim of which is to give a second lease of life to stocks of tubes not used by operators
Green
Sylvie Dubois-Decool

"Green" tubes manufactured in Brazil, CLEANWELL®, VAM® connections and our Top Winnovator 2019, AssetUpTM, are perfect examples of our "responsible" products.

Sylvie Dubois-Decool Innovation Director

Opportunities for Vallourec

Vallourec is working alongside many partners in the fields of solar, wind and hydrogen. The geothermal and CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage) subsidiaries are particularly interesting because they require large wells with specific corrosion and sealing constraints, which are at the heart of the Group's expertise and solutions.

In Brazil, the Group is committed to preserving natural resources by prohibiting the use of charcoal from natural forests. 70,000 of the 230,000 hectares of our forest area are protected and host a rich biodiversity. Vallourec also has residual charcoal production capacities and is working on various solutions to continue to exploit all of its forests.

Finally, the company continues to invest in its research laboratories in Indonesia, Brazil, Europe and the United States in order to develop its technical expertise and work towards meeting the carbon challenge. 
Man in Jeceaba