Petroleum products like gas and oil come from reserves located below the surface of the Earth. These reserves are tapped into by various means (mining, fracking, etc.), after which raw materials are harvested and refined to make the gas and oil products that we use in our homes, automobiles, and so on.
In order to get these products from inside the Earth and into the hands of consumers, so to speak, a vast transportation network is used. In some cases, products are transported by tanks that are moved around on all types of vehicles.
More often, however, gas and oil are transported by pipes, including pipelines that transport mass quantities across the globe, as well as those that transport smaller amounts to homes and businesses. As you can imagine, this requires miles of piping, pipe supports, and so on.
Corrosion, both inside and outside of pipes, is a major cause for concern. Piping may be located below or above ground, and both scenarios entail challenges where potential corrosion and other types of deterioration are concerned. How does pipe corrosion impact the gas and oil industry?
Threats from Inside
Natural resources and refined gas and oil products alike can carry impurities that are corrosive, including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and even water. These agents can react with the internal metal of pipes and begin to eat away at them until enough breakdown occurs for leaks to form.
The velocity of materials being transported through pipes could play a role in how slowly or quickly corrosion occurs, as could temperature and other factors like the integrity of the metal. Corrosion can eventually compromise any surface if not addressed.
The elements tend to account for the greatest threat to the exterior of piping where corrosion is concerned. Certain environmental factors like temperature are also pertinent. Again, the quality of metal used and the use of peripheral products like pipe wear pads could also make a difference.
The gas and oil industry naturally prefers to prevent corrosion as much as possible in order to save money and ensure the flow of product to customers. There are various methods of preventing corrosion, and many are under constant development in order to improve existing techniques and products.
For example, most pipes are coated internally to prevent known types of corrosion. In addition, traditional metal alloys for pipes are being replaced by corrosion-resistant alloys. Using matching metals for pipes, pipe fittings, pipe saddles, and so on is also common. Corrosion can be a very expensive problem in the gas and oil industry, which is why so much effort is made to prevent it.