In this post you'll learn
Pipe corrosion is a costly problem everyone in our industry deals with. The World Corrosion Organization estimated in 2019 that corrosion worldwide costs $2.5 trillion US dollars annually or 3 to 4% of the GDP of industrialized countries.
Why Pipes Corrode
A corroded pipe is more than a nuisance. It is dangerous at best, and catastrophic at worse.
Pipes are everywhere in a refinery or an offshore platform. While the workforce is busy manufacturing, extracting oil, or doing maintenance tasks, little by little all these steel pipes eventually corrode.
This is understandable as pipes are usually located near large masses of water such as oceans, lakes, and rivers, which are the ideal environment for corrosion to seep in.
Some of the most common causes of external pipe corrosion are:
- High humidity environment
- High concentration of salt in the air
- Hot sparks falling on the pipe
Pipes will corrode only if an external agent causes the chemical reaction that oxidizes the iron in the pipe. This oxidation causes metal loss, and if left untreated, the pipe can collapse.
This is why it’s so important to understand the importance of protecting the surface of the pipes by cleaning and painting.
Types of Pipe Corrosion
There are three types of external corrosion:
- General corrosion – Where a large surface area is corroded
- Localized corrosion or pitting – Isolated corroded spots
- Crevice corrosion – Corrosion around welds, flanges, and seams. This type of corrosion is a common consequence of poor welding jobs.
Left untreated, external corrosion can weaken the pipe where the corrosion occurs, and make the pipe more susceptible to overpressure events, earth movement, and other external stresses. Thus, external corrosion can sometimes also increase the risk of other types of pipeline failures.
How to prevent pipe corrosion
Preventing pipe corrosion is both a security and a financial problem. According to Offshore Magazine, Lasse Isaksen, Global Concept Director, Offshore, for Jotun at the 2019 INTSOK in Houston, claims that
5 metric tons (5.5 tons) of steel degenerates every second, and 40% of all steel produced in the world is used to replace steel damaged by corrosion.Offshore Magazine – October 2019
There are a few ways to prevent pipe corrosion. From cathodic protection, to abrasive blasting, the effectiveness of each method depends on the application and the industry.
In all cases, the pipe’s surface needs preparation. Whether it is to apply protective paint or corrosion inhibitors, the right surface preparation process will make the difference.
Coatings to prevent pipe corrosion
Deciding the right coating for a pipe in an explosive environment is no easy task. There are many factors involved, from price to quality to application and even aesthetic, the maintenance engineers have basically these three options:
- Alkyd Enamels
- Epoxy coatings
- Acrylic coatings
However, a very effective way to repair and further prevent pipe corrosion is by performing composite repair.
In short, composite repair is an exterior laminate that adds an extra layer of protection to traditional anti-corrosion surfaces. In this case, the composite repair restores pipeline integrity and prevents corrosion from environmental hazards.
Tools for Preparing the Surface of a Pipe
Preventing corrosion should be at the top of any corrosion management strategy for oil and gas companies.
The first step to protect the surface of a pipe is by preparing the surface for coating.
In explosive environments, such as Classified Environments Class 1 Div 1&2, our tools are ideal for surface preparation. The presence of flammable gases such as methane, natural gas, and hydrocarbons in general, makes choosing the right certified cold work tool for this job, a crucial decision.
Among the specialized tools we carry some of them are designed for corrosion removal and surface preparation.
While our tools remove corrosion they can achieve the equivalent to common blast standards referred to in SSPC-SPC 10 (SA 2 ½ near white) Nace No. 2 and Power tool cleaning to bare metal superior Standard SSPC-11 with a roughness profile of 2.5 mils.
Additionally, our TFT Safety Tools catalog is ideal for any surface preparation job in an explosive environment.
Prevent Pipe Corrosion from the Start
We would love to speak with you about ways to ensure your worksite is safe from pipe corrosion. Contact us to learn more about the tools we provide for our clients.