Transporting oil and gas via pipeline is much safer than using tanker trucks or railways. However, as pipelines age and sustain damage over time, the likelihood of a breakdown increases. The massive pipeline infrastructure has weaknesses that require special attention, and this maintenance is not easy. Here are three ways to take care of your piping systems.
1. Regularly Clean them
Oil and gas pipelines are prone to wear over time, making them vulnerable to chemical and moisture attacks. Unchecked oxidative processes can lead to the buildup of deposits and corrosion within the pipeline channels. As a result, the pipelines’ structural integrity may be compromised, and the transported items could get contaminated. Regular pipeline cleaning will detect problematic areas, remove channel buildup, suppress harmful oxidative reactions, and extend the life of the pipeline. Perhaps you should include regular pipeline cleaning in your industrial safety checklist.
2. Use Coatings
Use pipeline coatings such as epoxies and paints to protect your piping systems from chemical corrosion. The application can be done on-site or at the factory. Fusion-bonded epoxies (FBE) are a common choice for underground steel pipes. These often have a light green hue. Since FBE is a soft coating, it must be reinforced by additional coatings or wraps during backfilling or boring.
FBE also needs extra coatings when used above-ground as it’s vulnerable to UV damage. Special coatings with UV protection are the preferred choice for exposed piping systems. Nicks or abrasions that occur during the coating process are known as holidays. If not addressed, they create a concentrated channel for corrosion. An abrasion-resistant overcoat (ARO), typically black, can be layered over FBE at the factory to promote resistance to abrasions. Additional coatings can further insulate piping systems and protect against moisture that oxidizes metal and causes rust.
3. Employ Cathodic Protection
By replacing lost electrons with an electrical current, cathodic protection prevents electrochemical corrosion. Using sacrificial anodes, this current can be generated naturally, or it can be assisted by an impressed current from a rectifier. Without cathodic protection, corrosion is drastically accelerated if a failure, like a holiday, occurs in the primary coating.
Whether your piping systems are new or old, you need to keep up with maintenance practices. According to NRDC, you’d be surprised to know that newer pipelines with less than 10 years in service tend to cause more incidents than older ones. For help with the maintenance of your piping systems, give Lynco Flange & Fitting a call today.