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Increased Equipment Life in Oil & Gas Industry - Corrosion Inhibitors

Corrosion is a routine can of worms related to metals, especially in Oil and Gas industry. Resulting from the elongated exposure of equipment, pipeline and/or vessel’s to water. This can be from extraction, formation, condensation or Injection for specific purposes. Observations have been made that the pipelines and vessels used in this process experience high corrosion. It has been observed that while oxygen in water causes corrosion by oxidation, the acidic gases-a byproduct of the process, can add to the property of decay too.

What can be done?

As deduced from the above discussion, corrosion reduces product quality and equipment life. Thus corrosion management is a quintessential part of plant maintenance in Oil and Gas industry and contributes to the proper functioning, efficiency, and life of the production equipment. It also contributes to increase or decrease of output quality. Protecting the surfaces (Inner and outer) of equipment, vessels etc from exposure to water and other corrosive elements is a task of great importance. This is achieved by coating or blanketing surface of corrosive metals with inhibitors and anti-corrosives.

Protection from Decay: Corrosion Inhibitors

Corrosion Inhibitor

In the Oil and Gas industry, corrosion leads to high losses in product quality and decreased equipment life. Corrosion inhibitors are developed to stop galvanic corrosion of the metal surface, by the method of reaction to form a layer of protective film. By blocking the corrosive electrolyte from touching the metal surface, it prevents the corrosive effect on metal surfaces. This minimizes downtime and increases efficiency. They also help in controlling pH, preventing faster decay due to unstable pH of the surface. Suitable inhibitors that are soluble in oil, water or both are used, as per the field application and surface condition. The commonly used products in this segment are a complex and unique combo of:

  • Surfactants
  • Film enhancers
  • Demulsifies
  • Oxygen Scavengers

Using these specialized substances requires them to be suitable to environmental and surface conditions, and economic expectations. Thus ensuring reduced to zero or negligible side effects on the environment while these are applied. The application of corrosion inhibitor on equipment is done after consideration of factors such as thermal stability, environmental effects, solubility in field conditions and many more factors to ensure optimum resistance and minimized offshoots. Being devoid of Toxic materials or heavy metals, these environmentally safe reagents are also known as “ Green Inhibitors” They are biodegradable in nature. Tamarind, tea leaves, Eucalyptus oil, Pomegranate peels and juice, neutral amino acids, etc. are prominently used as “ Natural” or “ Green” corrosion inhibitors for steel and Carbon steel used in Oil and Gas industry.  In general, equipment in the Oil and Gas Industry are secured from rusting by using a mixture of organic and non-ionic coatings. This preserves surfaces and prevents corrosion in all soil conditions. One of the most economical ways of corrosion control is using cathodic inhibitors, which ensures longevity and adequate maintenance.