Pipeline operators and field experience teams face tough battles with the intricacies of pipework and tools. One of the most common challenges is preventing corrosion from occurring. While it’s often unavoidable, and may not be stopped, a corrosion-resistant coating can be very beneficial to product lifespan. Below, we discuss the various forms of corrosion operators run into and how coatings can help.
A Closer Look at Pipeline Corrosion
Unfortunately, pipelines can experience corrosion internally and externally. A number of corrosive elements and compounds come into contact with all parts of a pipeline and negatively react to the environment. While these compounds are typical, normalizing the presence of corrosion can lead to costly damage and repairs. Pipelines often experience the most significant risk of corrosion through negligent operations or a lack of maintenance.
In addition to corrosion of the existing pipework, refineries and internal tubing experience corrosive behaviors. Corrosion is a serious threat to these sectors due to the necessity of their optimal functions and how corrosion can critically damage the processes. Leaks are common results of corrosion left untreated.
Other potential issues that result from corrosive behaviors and presence are unplanned, lengthy shutdowns and threats to production and asset reliability. It’s vital for operators to coat all tools, follow industry standards, and avoid negligence.
The Different Types of Corrosion
Several types of corrosion occur in pipelines. Some are more common than others, but regardless of cause, they are almost always avoidable through adequate care and upkeep. We’ll discuss some common forms of corrosion and potential treatment plans. It’s essential to note that corrosion can occur on metal and non-metal pipework, including carbon fiber and plastics.
Galvanic corrosion occurs when two metal formations come into proximity and interact with the same conductor. Water is a common conductor that advances corrosion, and the motion of the water will further promote corrosion. The metal with the lowest voltage will experience more corrosion than the metal with the highest voltage.
Crevice corrosion occurs along cracks or fractures on pipework. Compared to other forms of surface corrosion, crevice corrosion relies on an existing crack to fuel the corrosive behaviors. When a conductor comes into contact with the surface, and a voltage or motion reaches the crack or fracture, corrosion develops because it’s the most vulnerable.
The oxide zone of a steel pipeline experiencing damage is at risk of pitting corrosion. Another potential cause of pitting corrosion is if metal fragments infiltrate the pipeline and small pits form in the metal. This type of corrosion is not easily detectable and can lead to a disaster if not properly investigated or treated.
The best course of treatment for eliminating and preventing corrosion is chemical washing and pumping. After operators thoroughly wash away the corrosive particles and compounds, pumping a corrosion-resistant coating through the pipeline can deter future issues. It’s also advantageous to treat all servicing tools that encounter the pipeline to prevent the passing of conductors onto metals while inside the wellbore.
Silver Fox is a leading distributor of quality servicing tools and applicable coatings. Partner with a member of our team today to learn more about the different types of pipeline corrosion and the best treatment plans.