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The importance of corrosion mitigation strategy in the Middle East

While there are technical options available to operators and engineers in the form of cathodic and anodic protection, material selection and chemical dosing, this blog will concentrate on the strategic steps that can be taken to mitigate corrosion from the very start.

Initial steps

Operators and engineers are guided by clear health and safety and corrosion rules as set out by industry governance bodies, such as HSE. These industry and regional rules should directly feed into your policies and objectives for mitigating corrosion. This objective is usually coupled with leak and emission targets, unscheduled shutdown and annual reduction targets for teams to achieve.

Structure and responsibilities

From a clear policy on corrosion targets, the management team should be assessing skills and the competency of employees before defining roles, responsibilities and ensuring co-operation is apparent at every stage of the process. The management team should also play a key role in assessing and agreeing on the implementation of improvements suggested from the reporting team.

Planning and implementation

Following continual corrosion risk assessments (12-month reviews for high-risk areas), the engineering team should carry out inspections of specific problems highlighted on aged assets. Once a problem has been identified, the planning stage requires a solution to be scheduled with the team. According to the HSE, the engineering team requires as best practice:

  • Work packs
  • Procedures
  • Criteria
  • Reporting rules
  • Written schemes of examination

Following the work, the implementation stage should act to self-regulate and gather data, analyse and report on the outcomes.

Measure and review

After procedures, or changes to mitigate and manage corrosion have been put in place, the changes should be measured and reviewed on system performance. This includes an independent audit in the majority of cases to ensure the changes are within regulations.

THINKING SHORT AND LONG TERM

The thought that a corrosion mitigation strategy is purely a long term strategy is a misconception. Implementation of such a strategy can aid the extension of assets’ life, even with those assets in the Middle East that are set to turn 40.

$1.3 billion is spent by the oil and gas industry on corrosion every year (NACE) and with further investment set to be made to sustain the hundreds of platforms in the Middle East, and across the world, that figure to maintain ageing assets until decommissioning, is only going to increase. If operators wish to carry on producing from the field, this is a cost they will have to cover.

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