No Excuse for Cutting Corners on Corrosion Downstream
Corrosion is a major challenge and essential risk to contain for any oil and gas operator. Loss of containment can mean loss of process, loss of revenue, expensive repairs and – most importantly – a potentially major safety hazard. But while a breach in a cross-country pipeline can be a major incident and environmental risk, it’s another matter downstream. Different plant and processes are tightly packed together, with all manner of hydrocarbons and other combustible fluids boiling, cooling or flowing. Workers dart in-between, never more than a few dozen feet from a potential corrosion risk. In this environment, loss of containment could be catastrophic. It doesn’t take more than a quick google search to find a multitude of incidents related to corrosion control issues.
All of which is to say that, when it comes to the downstream, the stakes are higher, and corrosion control is too important to ignore. However, in conjunction with increased risk comes increased complexity: the number of different processes and the variety of different mediums and hydrocarbons entails a diverse, heterogeneous environment for monitoring. One monitoring system does not fit all, so it can be difficult for operators to avoid a pick ‘n’ mix of systems with patchwork, incomplete coverage.