Special Report: Editor’s Letter: Corrosion erodes equipment – and profits

Timely intervention could save billions writes Jonathan Sheikh-Miller

Coatings, Corrosion, Gas, Oil, Products, Upstream, ANALYSIS, COMMENT, Industry Trends

Corrosion and the degradation of industrial equipment and assets really don’t get the headlines they deserve – and they deserve some pretty awful ones. Corrosion is a silent infestation that gets its claws into every industry, not just oil and gas, undermining the reliability of all kinds of key components from pipelines to valves and seals.

Poor efficiency costs money and when malfunctioning equipment isn’t maintained as a priority, it can then create the real prospect of safety issues, particularly at facilities serving hazardous industries. The oil and gas industry necessarily requires components to be exposed to challenging physical conditions involving extremes of heat and, at times, vast depths of corrosive, saline water.

If that wasn’t enough, the materials that the pipes and valves are attempting to safely transport are themselves highly damaging, containing varying amounts of hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide and chlorides.

NACE International has published some mind-boggling statistics for the financial impact of corrosion on all industries globally per annum – each year the cost equates to 70% of the entire GDP of Germany, the fourth largest economy in the world.

One on-going factor in the accumulation of such losses and expenses is that, in the oil and gas sector, the go-to material for the construction of so much equipment remains carbon steel. It is relatively affordable, easily available and quite durable – but it can and will rust.

Alternative steel alloys are still largely prohibitive in terms of cost – and so that is where prioritised and regular corrosion control can make the difference. As operators seek to maximise value across the board, including from their long-life assets, only firms that have incorporated the need to action regular maintenance and degradation prevention will be able to enjoy those additional margins.

Our Special Report this month features leading paint and industrial coatings firm Jotun as our Knowledge Partner and their piece looks at the need for corrosion control and maintenance at challenging offshore facilities – and offers some potential solutions.

TGT Oilfield Services have contributed a piece looking at well integrity. Meanwhile Asset Integrity Engineering explore how corrosion control should be a key part of a wider corporate strategy of operational excellence.

Finally, our cover image and this page’s boxed photograph come courtesy of Jotun and are credited to Morten Rakke.

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