Corrosion has been an ongoing problem for oil refineries. Crude oil often contains corrosive elements and refineries may be located in harsh environments, where salt and other corrosive substances take their toll.
As a highly-regulated industry, the release of toxic and hazardous substances, health and safety, refinery plant emissions, petroleum product specifications and other issues may be monitored. Corrosion control is necessary to adhere to regulations and mitigate risk. Statistics shows that the total cost of corrosion control in U.S. oil refineries is estimated at $3.7 billion annually. This includes maintenance-related expenses of $1.8 billion, vessel turnaround expenses of $1.4 billion, and fouling costs of approximately $0.5 billion.
Without corrosion prevention measures, damage to the structural integrity of oil refineries, including material degradation, can lead to leaks, loss of strength or ductility, or a complete breakdown of components. Costly production stoppages are necessary to fix the problem. Corrosion risks also include environmental pollution caused by hazardous chemicals, fuels and gases, resulting in potential fires or explosions along with harm to people, animals, plants, air, soil and water.
Corrosion mitigation methods for oil refineries include selection of material, corrosion inhibitors, cathodic protection and protective coatings. Industrial paints and protective coatings are designed to prevent corrosion for different applications, such as salt air, chemicals, toxins, acidic and alkaline environments. The coatings must be properly chosen and applied, preferably by a certified Coating Application Specialist (CAS).
CAS certified professionals can provide guidance on the appropriate coatings. They look at issues such as:
- Environmental factors
- Chemical exposure
- Surface materials
- Performance requirements
- Maintenance schedules
- Accessibility in the event of an incident
An oil refinery may require multiple types of coatings, which is why expertise is required. Coatings that protect structural steel beams might be different than the coatings used to protect components within machinery processing crude oil.
FSN has certified industrial coating contractors available to work on your oil refineries. If you have questions about corrosion prevention or want to discuss your project, contact us at (410) 564-5876 or [email protected].