Without effective corrosion management there is no successful production process. Maintaining an effective corrosion management program is key to achieving safety and high reliability in oil and gas production and operations.
Companies today rely heavily on expensive and invasive maintenance and inspection practices that often fail to spot early signs of pipeline corrosion. For these purposes, it is essential to implement appropriate practices for corrosion management and preserve the pipelines.
According to the study, the average annual corrosion-related cost for monitoring, replacement and asset maintenance is estimated at $7 billion.
Pipelines play an important role in the transport of gases and liquids over long distances from their sources to the ultimate consumers. Although most companies have access to information and expertise on corrosion damage mechanisms and their prevention methods, the question is, why do pipelines leaks, why do breakdowns happen, and why accidents due to corrosion continue to occur?
The corrosion management system prevents catastrophic damage and maintains safe and reliable operation of your equipment and pipelines. This article will discuss corrosion, its consequences, methods and solutions for successful corrosion management.
What is corrosion?
Corrosion is a natural phenomenon. It is the process of wear and decomposition of materials under certain mechanical, chemical, or biological influences from the environment.
There are different types of gases in the oil and gas industry, and water and salts are an indispensable part of exploitation fluids, which is a very corrosive medium. Different types of corrosion occur depending on the material and the environment in which the pipeline is located. Equipment and pipelines are affected by water, oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, and microorganisms found in their impurities.
In order to enable adequate protection against corrosion, it is crucial to know the types of corrosion and the mechanisms by which the corrosion process occurs.
Corrosion occurs in all oil industry phases – in the primary and secondary production, refining, transport, storage, and distribution.
Consequences of damage caused by corrosion:
- Interruption of gas supply during damage repair – this directly affects the industry’s business and the households.
- Various ignitions and explosions.
- Damage to pipelines can lead to interruptions in the regular operation of refineries, cessation of tank operation, shortage of petroleum products, which leads to additional costs and very likely to environmental pollution.
Corrosion types on pipelines
Pipeline corrosion can occur on the inside and outside of the pipeline. There are numerous types of corrosion that can develop on pipelines. They range from galvanic, pitting, crevice, high-temperature corrosion, and microbial-influenced corrosion.
Galvanic Corrosion is the most common form of corrosion. This type of corrosion occurs when two different metals come into contact in the presence of electrolytes. Several factors affect the occurrence of galvanic corrosion, including types of metals, the relative size of anode, and environmental factors (humidity, salinity, temperature, etc.).
Crevice Corrosion is the name for the corrosion phenomenon that occurs in the narrow surface cracks (crevices). In these places impurities and water collect, the acidity of the solution increases, the pH decreases and the concentration of aggressive factors that contribute to the formation of corrosion increases.
Biocorrosion, or Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion, is pipeline corrosion caused by microbiological action. There are two bacteria strains and over five types of bacteria: aerobic, anaerobic, or bacterial, which reduce sulfur. Hydrocarbons serve as a “food source” for bacteria. Depending on the temperature and water presence, bacteria’s action leads to iron oxidation, and thus occurs corrosion inside and outside the pipeline.
Pitting Corrosion is the most destructive form of corrosion in the oil and gas industry, which often attacks pipelines. Pitting provokes very deep perforations in the material that can cause fractures of fundamental structural elements.
High-temperature Corrosion is a type of corrosion that leads to deterioration of a metal due to heating. This type of corrosion occurs when a metal is subjected to a hot atmosphere in oxygen, sulfur or other compounds capable of oxidizing the material.
Regardless of the type of corrosion, each of its forms can lead to structural damage, losses, costly repairs, destruction or contamination of products, risks to employees, damage to the environmen and can negatively affect the company’s reputation.
Methods of corrosion protection in the oil and gas industry
Corrosion protection methods play a significant role in the maintenance, productivity, and safety of the materials, people, and the environment. The vast majority of damage, caused by corrosion, could be prevented by applying appropriate corrosion protection methods.
Rust and other forms of corrosion can lead to safety problems, supply problems and destroy the integrity of the pipeline. Fortunately, there are various measures and methods you can take to minimize corrosion and its consequences.
The cheapest and simplest way to prevent corrosion is to use protective coatings such as paint, plastic or powder. All this creates a thin film that protects metal surfaces. The base layer of paint acts as an inhibitor, and the top layer provides protection from negative environmental factors. Prior to this procedure, it is necessary to prepare the surface (pipeline) – remove impurities by mechanical, chemical, electrochemical processes or degreasing.
The most significant disadvantage of coatings is that they often need to be removed and appropriately re-applied. Layers can also contain volatile organic compounds, which can make them susceptible to corrosion.
In practice, cathodic protection is used against galvanic corrosion, which has proven to be very effective. This method converts active sites on a metal surface to passive ones by adding electrons from another source, usually with galvanic anodes attached to or near the surface. The metals used in the manufacture of anodes are aluminum, zinc or magnesium..
The disadvantage of this method is the necessity of frequent checks of anodes, which increases the cost of maintenance.
This method of preventing corrosion involves the process of immersing the steel in molten zinc. This provides adequate corrosion protection for steel parts and assemblies. Hot-dip galvanizing method has been used for over 250 years. Thanks to the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of the procedure, it became one of the most widely used forms of corrosion protection.
Some pipelines may be too large to carry out this procedure, which is one of the main disadvantages. In case of improper performance of the procedure, zinc may be crushed or peeled, which will result in more maintenance inspections and additional costs.
Pipeline integrity management software
Aymo is state-of-the-art pipeline integrity management software for pipeline visualization, management and maintenance, asset integrity, and workflows in the oil and gas industry. The system provides an overview and status of each pipeline, plans repairs on time, and simulates future corrosion growth. Aymo uses advanced algorithms that allow users to predict corrosion growth over their pipelines, make timely decisions, and save time and reduce costs.
In addition to the available chemical treatment products, corrosion-resistant materials, protective coatings, and cathodic protection, it is essential to emphasize the importance of inspection, network monitoring, and corrosion consulting expertise.
Successful corrosion management solution
In the oil and gas industry, safety has become an integral part of an organization’s management system. Corrosion management ensures safer and longer-lasting protection of assets such as pipelines, increases return on investment (ROI), while reducing costs, risks and preserving the environment.
Corrosion protection is one of the most important prevention measures. All parts that are at risk of corrosion are protected with anti-corrosion protection (cathodic protection or coatings) in order to extend the service life and reduce possible damage and leakage..
Reducing the costs associated with corrosion requires much more than implementing technological measures. It is necessary to change the ways in which decisions on corrosion protection are made within the organization.
The Corrosion Management Program consists of the processes and documented procedures required to plan, execute, and continuously improve an organization’s ability to manage corrosion threats to existing and future assets and associated systems.
Lack of proper corrosion metrics, plans, and management can lead to improper budget allocation. To avoid these situations, consider implementing corrosion management elements in your system. An innovative solution that can help you is AYMO, a pipeline integrity management software that provides a complete corrosion detection and control service. AYMO offers a unique and modular solution for the oil and gas industry in the field of pipeline supervision.
At Feromihin, we help our clients to design modern ways of corrosion control by implementing a corrosion management program (CMP). Corrosion as a phenomenon will never completely disappear, but through the development and application of CMP, we can successfully control it.
Through extensive experience gained in the operation of the oil and gas industry, we can help you reduce risk, teach you how to successfully control the corrosion process and apply best practices in the oil and gas business.
We want to provide our customers with the best available method of corrosion protection management. Identify and prevent pipeline corrosion before it becomes a problem! To ensure your asset’s integrity and security and implement a Corrosion Management Plan, contact us today.