In 1990, pipeline corrosion was found to be the number one factor in pipeline failure within the Gulf of Mexico. Over ten years later, studies found that corrosion was the largest culprit in pipeline failures involving hazardous liquids and natural gas.
Pipeline failure is something no business owner wants to experience. The damage can be catastrophic and incredibly expensive. As a business owner, you want to be sure you are protected.
Keep reading to learn why corrosion is the most common cause of pipeline failure and all about pipeline corrosion prevention.
Pipelines are defined as structures transporting liquid or gas, including the pipes, valves, and all accessories (pump stations, regulator stations, compressors, etc.) attached to these components.
Pipelines are used in many industries, including the transport of
- oil and gas
- compressed air
Causes of Pipeline Failure and Corrosion
There are several factors that influence pipeline failure. These include things like poorly-executed excavation projects, natural forces, machine failure, and failure occurring in the materials and welding.
However, these causes are not the number one cause of pipeline failure, because they’re rare. What does cause pipeline failure is the everyday wear and tear on pipelines. This is most evident in pipeline corrosion, as impurities and other factors chip away at the protective coating on pipes.
As this coating wears away, it leaves the pipe open to corrosion and eventual failure.
There are many causes of pipeline corrosion, some of which are specific to the material being transported. In the case of water pipes, here are some potential causes of external corrosion:
- Water pH: acidic water or low pH levels harm pipeline coating and cause corrosion.
- Chemicals and impurities: certain minerals and impurities can promote corrosion.
- Poor installation: pipelines that were installed improperly will be more exposed to dirt, debris, and other factors that can cause corrosion.
Pipeline Corrosion Prevention
Externally, corroded pipelines may look like clusters of mineral deposits, especially around connection points on the pipeline. These deposits are thick, uneven, and bulky, and the first sign that you have a corrosion problem.
This first stage of corrosion may turn rust-colored as the problem progresses.
As with many projects and investments, prevention is key when it comes to properly maintaining pipes. Here are some ways to minimize external pipeline corrosion.
- Adding a layer of external protection to the pipes, such as using corrosion inhibitor solutions
- Investing in pipe wear pads, which do not interfere with cathodic corrosion protection and help prevent pipeline failures due to friction, expansion, or contraction
- Investing in coated pipes and connectors for future projects and repairs
Protect Your Business
As a business owner, it’s incredibly important to know the location of your pipelines and to have a plan should a failure occur.
Thankfully, pipeline corrosion and eventual pipeline failure are preventable, and there are several ways to implement pipeline corrosion prevention in your business model. For more resources on protecting your pipes, visit our blog today.