Importance of Coating Inspection in Oil and Gas Industry 

The oil and gas industry plays an important role in the global economy by supplying a significant proportion of the world’s need for energy. However, maintaining the infrastructure of this industry can be quite challenging. Pipelines, different equipment, and offshore drilling platforms in the oil and gas sector remain exposed to several unfavourable conditions such as corrosive elements, high temperatures and pressures, and extreme weather conditions. Naturally, the integrity of the materials and infrastructure used in this sector are severely impacted by these harsh conditions.  

Coating inspection is one of the most effective alternatives for the oil and gas sector to protect its assets from the factors discussed above. The primary objective of this inspection is to increase the service life of the infrastructure and equipment while ensuring the safety of the workers. Inspection of protective coatings also saves the industry millions of dollars by minimizing the cost of repairs resulting from corrosion.   

Corrosion Issues in the Oil and Gas Industry 

Out of all the adverse factors faced by the oil and gas industry, corrosion is the biggest concern as it is potentially hazardous for production as well as transportation facilities. Oil and natural gas contain three inherently corrosive substances, hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), and free water. Continuous extraction of these substances leads to corrosion of internal surfaces of equipment, causing loss of materials, thickness reduction, and eventually complete equipment failure.   

Some of the most common corrosion issues faced by oil and gas industries include 

  • CO2 Corrosion: Though dry CO2 gas is not corrosive, it forms carbonic acid in the aqueous phase, which is highly corrosive.   
  • H2S Corrosion: Just like CO2, H2S is not corrosive, but becomes corrosive when dissolved in water. The deterioration of metal because of H2S corrosion causes a lot of damage to drill pipes.  
  • Oxygen Corrosion: A strong oxidant, oxygen is a major contributor to drill pipe corrosion when it is dissolved in drilling fluids.  
  • Galvanic Corrosion: This type of corrosion takes place when two metals with different electrochemical potentials come in contact and get exposed to an electrolyte.  
  • Crevice Corrosion: This type of localised corrosion takes place in crevices or narrow clearances in the metal, and is caused by stagnant fluid within the gap.  
  • Stress Corrosion Cracking: This is also a form of localised corrosion caused by a corrodent and tensile stress, creating cracks in the metal.    

Coatings Used in the Oil and Gas Industry      

The oil and gas industry uses many different types of protective coatings including polyethylene, polyurethane, and epoxy. Some advantages of these coatings include protection from corrosion and extreme hardness, chemical resistance, abrasion resistance, temperature resistance, and more. However, it is important to remember that these coatings can fail over time because of harsh operating conditions. Therefore, regular inspection is essential for maintaining them.     

Coating Inspection for Sustainable Operations 

Apart from the longevity and safety of the infrastructure, regular coating inspection also helps maintain efficient oil and gas operations. Damaged coating can very easily lead to operational hazards in the form of leaks and other issues. Oil and gas companies also need to inspect their protective coatings regularly to ensure regulatory compliance.  

At Coating Management Solutions, we provide specialised support for all your coatings and corrosion control and inspection. Please contact us today to protect your industrial assets with the help of our certified NACE CIP coating inspectors.