How protective coatings fit into an improving corrosion control market
Beirbal Bhandari, regional manager of technical sales support for performance coatings at Jotun, talks about the market for protective coatings
Have there been many changes in the protective coatings segment?
Corrosion control by protective coatings has not undergone any significant changes in recent past as basic technologies and mechanism of corrosion protection remains same. A coating product offers corrosion protection to steel structure either by one or more principles – barrier protection, inhibition and cathodic protection.
However, as manufacturer we continuously strive to make products better in terms of performance or add some flexibility to products to make it suitable for wider range of environments or substrates. In oil & gas industry corrosion control is primarily achieved by means of protective coatings and cathodic protection and this may not change soon.
However, there has been some changes in standard requirements for protective coatings used in oil & gas industry. In recent studies it has been observed that standard coatings systems used for corrosion protection in different corrosivity categories (C1-C5) actually requires lower dry film thickness (DFT) than had been specified for several years. Therefore in latest revision of ISO 12944-5 :2018, required thickness for different systems have been reduced by 20-40 microns thereby reducing the total system cost.
Similarly, coating system durability (expected service life to first major maintenance) has been redefined and now same system is expected to provide corrosion protection for longer period. So, in a way it’s a positive change in which performance expectation on coating systems have been upgraded.
The new ISO12944 :2018 also brought changes in offshore environments, which is categorised as “ CX- Extreme Corrosivity” and coating systems and testing requirements are covered under ISO 12944-9:2018 which was earlier ISO 20340 and now stands discontinued.
Have you noticed any trends in this segment of the market?
In view of fewer new construction projects, facility owners in oil & gas fields have been focusing on maintenance coatings program and one major trend observed was review of conventional approach and preference for cost effective smarter solutions.
Just a few years ago, a typical corrosion protection system in onshore and offshore facility required 3-4 coats for high durability (15 years) in C5 (very high corrosivity) environment and same was required for maintenance coating work. It is a challenge to install 3-4 coats of paint system in a running plant, and the cost is typically much higher than originally expected.
Therefore, corrosion engineers or asset integrity managers are looking for systems that can be applied in minimum coats (possibly as low as one or two) but with the same performance level.
Another focus is on low life cycle cost (LCC), which means minimum or no maintenance at regular intervals. There has been a significant shift in understanding the value of premium solutions which can offer quick turn-around and low LCC. This is a paradigm shift in corrosion control and can create a win-win situation for owners and manufacturers once the specifications are modified to suit such solutions.
In the field of maintenance coatings, Jotun R&D has been working relentlessly to develop corrosion protection solution for easy painting of offshore and onshore facilities and last year launched smart pack systems. These consist of 3-coat system that can be applied by brush and roller on a hand/power tool cleaned surface with par-excellence finish and performance (NORSOK M 501 Compliant system). This was not possible with the previous system.
One product worth mentioning is the barrier smart pack, which is a 2-pack zinc-rich epoxy primer that can be applied by brush on hand or power tool cleaned surface. Conventional zinc primers are not recommended on such surfaces and hence it was always a dream to have such product available and achieve best performance in maintenance coating. So I can say that Jotun smart pack systems are a game changer in the industry.
Corrosion under insulation (CUI) is another area of extensive research work for Jotun as its one of the most challenging situation in oil & gas facilities. In recent years we have offered a new solution in the form of “Jotatemp 1000 Ceramic” which can protect steel under CUI while providing heat resistance up to 1000 C wherever substrate allows.
Do regional oil and gas companies give corrosion the attention it deserves?
Most oil and gas companies have their team of corrosion engineers under the asset integrity management department and Jotun’s coating specialist and technical teams work closely with them to keep both sides updated. However, there are considerable bottlenecks which can hinder the use of state-of-the-art products/solutions due to running of decades-old specifications which stop corrosion engineers from using a new solution unless it is revised. There is room to improve specifications and increase flexibility to use innovation solutions from coating manufacturers.
Some companies insist on a five year track record apart from stringent testing requirements before a product can be approved. That becomes a challenge for innovative products, regardless of its superior performance compared to older systems.
What are the key measures to keep corrosion under control?
Corrosion is a natural, but controllable, process. The selection of the most appropriate coating system for a specific environment is a key to a successful coating solution, and that can be achieved by involving all concerned stakeholders. The successful application of coatings after the required surface preparation is critical for coating performance. Even the best coating system may fail prematurely if applied on ill-prepared surface.
Thereafter, periodic inspection and an on-board maintenance plan can keep corrosion at bay. At Jotun, we have the Jotun asset management program and the condition survey program, which involves a coating survey and a recommendation of the most appropriate maintenance solution.