Corrosion and scaling isn’t an inconvenient problem in the oil and gas industry. It’s a major, avoidable money drain. The estimated cost of corrosion and scaling to the oil and gas industry in the U.S. in 1975 was $70 billion. In 2007, it was $400 billion. The industry must learn to stop scaling and corrosion before they start.
Oil, gas, water, steel, and rock are not always chemically inert under oil/gas production conditions. Their interaction, plus changes in pressure and temperature, can result in major problems. They cause organic and inorganic solids to accumulate in the production system and the deterioration of metals—aka corrosion and scaling. This corrosion and scaling causes problems in pipes, the well bore, tanks, and pretty much everything containing metal in the production system. Damage from corrosion and scaling sets the industry back billions of dollars every year.
Scaling is any hard deposit on equipment, where water is present. Some scales can be removed by acidizing, including oxide, sulfide, and carbonate scales. Others aren’t soluble in acid and have to be removed mechanically, including sulfate, phosphate and ferricyanide scales. These scales damage the health of your system.
Scales don’t only form; they build up. They coat casing, tubing, valves, pumps, downhole completion equipment, and perforations. The scale buildup will reduce the flow of fluid through your pipes, and increase wear and tear on your equipment as well as pumping time. It makes your metal more susceptible to corrosion. It will increase your power bills because it takes more electricity to push your fluids through the scale-restricted area. This scale buildup can cost you money in lost production and equipment damage.
Corrosion is the number one cause of damage to metals in wells and production facilities. It’s also a major cause of drill pipe failures.
Susceptibility of Metals to Corrosion
Trends in the industry have led to more susceptibility of metals to corrosion, including deeper wells, use of lower pH drilling fluids, and the presence of higher stresses. Not only is it costly to perform repairs, the repairs themselves take the equipment out of production during the fix costing companies even more. (Higher strength steel does not lead to more susceptibility to corrosion, please clarify).
There are several types of corrosion attacks: sweet corrosion, sour corrosion, oxygen corrosion, and electrochemical corrosion. These types of corrosion can appear as specific forms, including pitting, metal wastage, crevice corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, blistering, sulfide stress cracking, corrosion fatigue, intergranular corrosion, and embrittlement. No matter the form, corrosion eventually takes its toll on equipment.
Identify Problem Solvers
Losing billions every year to corrosion and scaling repairs and equipment replacement isn’t a given. You can stop scaling and corrosion before they start. The scale and corrosion experts at ATS ChemFlo will identify what’s causing your problems, test solutions, and come up with a custom scale or corrosion inhibitor. We’ll partner with you to keep your pipes flowing and equipment fully functional, while also saving you money and time on expensive repairs and removal treatments. Call ChemFlo today to get started inhibiting equipment-destroying scales and corrosion.