What Causes Oil and Gas Pipeline Corrosion?

Corrosion is a common problem when it comes to piping systems. In fact, a study released by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration estimated that the direct cost of corrosion in the U.S. was $276 billion every year. That’s about 3% of the nation’s GDP.

But what exactly causes oil and gas pipeline corrosion in the first place? How do you prevent piping systems from corroding in the first place? In piping systems, internal corrosion is caused by the oxidation of the metal materials inside the system. It can be prevented through proper material selection, protective coatings, product quality control, line cleaning, and corrosion inhibitor additives.

Why is internal corrosion a problem with oil and gas pipelines?

Metal materials don’t need water to corrode. Corrosion is a natural deterioration that results from the metal’s electrochemical reaction with its surroundings. If left untreated for a long period of time, the corrosion from one part of the piping system can spread. This causes the system to lose its strength and operating pressure.

In oil and gas pipelines, internal corrosion occurs when the contaminants that are naturally contained in the system react with the materials of the pipeline. These contaminants include carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other chemicals. To prevent internal corrosion, these contaminants need to be controlled or reduced.

Internal pipeline coatings are applied to control contaminants. Corrosion inhibitors may also be injected. Effective methods of keeping these contaminants at bay will keep steel pipelines and forged steel fittings lasting longer.

What are the risks involved in internal corrosion?

Without proper contaminant removal, internal corrosion can result in metal loss on the interior of the pipeline. Over time, this metal loss can cause reduced thickness of the pipe and other equipment such as interior pipe fittings.

Pipeline corrosion can either be generalized or localized. General corrosion refers to metal loss that’s evenly distributed across the interior of the piping system. Localized corrosion, also called pitting, is when there are isolated areas of metal loss on the inside of the pipeline.

Metal loss can cause leakage, cracks, splits, or a pipeline rupture. It’s important to have corroded equipment and pipeline sections replaced to reduce the risk of these issues. Corroded piping systems are susceptible to external stress, overpressure events, and earth movement.

Lynco Flange and Fitting is the fitting distributor you need for replacement stainless steel flange fittings and other equipment to keep pipeline corrosion under control. For more information about our flanges and fittings, contact Lynco Flange and Fitting today.

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