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Avoiding Corrosion in Offshore Applications

by Jan 11, 2017News

Extreme operating environments, paired with the presence of highly corrosive elements mean that corrosion is a major concern in offshore operations. Carbon dioxide, brine, hydrogen sulphide and a range of hazardous chemicals, paired with extreme temperatures and barometric pressures make offshore one of the most formidable environments on earth. Additionally, increasing demand from both consumers and businesses, paired with complex processes that must comply with tough regulations, make this area even more challenging.

Choosing the wrong materials can add to your struggles, either through unscheduled maintenance and downtime, lost production or even catastrophic failure that results in economic loss, environmental damage or even loss of human life. The cost of corrosion, both direct and overlooked indirect costs, can be enormous.

Types of Corrosion

Engineers are dedicated to finding the materials that are best able to stand up against the rigors of the offshore environment. They need to deal with corrosion issues that include:

  • Galvanic corrosion, which can result when two different materials make contact in a corrosive conducting environment. This can cause the least resistant of the two materials to degrade rapidly.
  • Pitting corrosion, which is characterized by deep and narrow holes. These holes leave the surface apparently intact while they dig deeply into the material. It can take just a few days for a component to become perforated. Stainless steel is especially vulnerable to this sort of corrosion.
  • Uniform corrosion, which causes a uniform thinning of the metal over time.
  • Crevice corrosion, a type of electromechanical oxidation. This happens when a corrosive solution, such as chlorine ions, are trapped in corners, beneath shields or up inside pockets. This sort of corrosion is considered far more dangerous than uniform corrosion because it acts so quickly.

A number of items that include fittings, manifolds, flanged products and valves are vulnerable to corrosion and can lead to equipment becoming expensively compromised. While corrosion resistant materials, such as duplex stainless steel, can be more expensive, they will cost companies less in the end through long-term, problem-free operation. For instance, while a business will spend far less at first using 316 stainless steel fittings and tubing, these materials will cost more over time once maintenance and labor costs have been factored in. One study found that corrosion resistant parts, while they had a higher upfront cost, wound up being 40% less expensive over a 10 year period.

We are dedicated to ensuring that our customers get the best possible value out of the materials that we sell. If you are having equipment made for challenging offshore applications, we want you to get the items that will work better and last longer in this rigorous environment. Get in touch with us today to discuss the best steel for your equipment.