The U.S. is crisscrossed by over two million miles of pipelines, carrying crude oil, gas, and other resources all across the country. Although deemed by experts as the safest way to transport these resources, pipelines are still subject to corrosion. However, contrary to popular opinion, crude oil itself does not corrode – the contaminants, such as water and sediment, present the corrosive properties that are damaging in oil transport.
While the flow of oil usually keeps the water droplets and sediment suspended in the center of the pipe, doing no damage, stretches of low-pressure pipe can allow these impurities to sink to the bottom of the pipe and begin to eat away at the pipe’s interior. Differences in density can also assist in the accumulation of these corrosive agents. Some preventative measures that can be taken are to coat the outside of the pipe with a protective coating. This acts as an extra barrier between the pipe’s contents and the surrounding environment. Additionally, keeping the contents heated and the pressure high can be instrumental in resisting corrosion, although the heating of the contents can sometimes cause the thinning of the interior walls. Installing stainless steel pipes would also assist in preventing corrosion; however, this would be so expensive that it is not usually a feasible option for long stretches of pipelines.
In the end, corrosion is an inevitable occurrence that will happen even with the best precautions. Interior pipe coatings are always a good idea, but they are often worn away when the pipes are reattached after the interior application. A tried and true way to guard against it, though, is a reliable and durable exterior coating. This can help insulate the heated pipe, prevent the contamination of the environment if the pipe is worn through to an incorrigible degree, and finally, help in aesthetic appearance. The maintenance of pipelines is a monstrously important part of the transportation of oils and gases, and Samac Painting and Sandblasting can help protect your pipelines from corrosion using our proven techniques and high quality coatings. Our highly skilled crews are trained to spot problem areas and recommend the best solution for repair and ongoing maintenance of your pipeline.
For more information on our Pipeline Coatings services, please see our Pipeline Coatings page.