Monitoring the impact of corrosion on subsea pipelines and offshore structures is a critical aspect of ensuring pipeline integrity. A key way of minimising corrosion is to employ the most appropriate technologies and prevention techniques.

Owners of high-value infrastructure assets such as pipelines and production platforms must understand the cost implications of ignoring the effects of corrosion. There are many advantages of planning for corrosion control and mitigation, including extending the life of the asset while reducing maintenance time and costs.

Pipeline infrastructure is also aging and with the price of oil remaining low, corrosion prevention has to be as cost effective as practical. Companies servicing the oil and gas industry are being challenged to find better ways to maintain the integrity of subsea structures. Some of the factors that need to be considered include how long the system has to remain in operation and would a shorter life extension be acceptable if the asset owner is willing to repeat the process more frequently.

Two leading companies that are developing and implementing a range of innovative technologies and processes that support pipeline operations are Deepwater Australasia (DWA) and Corrosion Control Engineering (CCE).

According to David Flanery, Business Development Manager at DWA, the method of corrosion protection selected for offshore infrastructure depends on the construction material used. Pipelines are often epoxy or concrete encased whereas a platform usually has large amounts of exposed steel. Subsea assets often require protective systems that include special coatings with a long design life in conjunction with cathodic protection systems.

John Grapiglia, State Manager in Perth for the New Zealand-based CCE, added another change that has occurred is that the “design life” of a pipeline is now expected to be significantly longer duration.

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