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Monthly Archives: February 2020

Worker installs clamping ring on coated pipe

Key Tips for Selecting the Correct Pipeline Coating

Selecting a pipeline coating may seem like a simple task; however, failing to select the right one for specific environmental and operational conditions can impact the life and performance of the coating and the asset, costing a significant amount of unnecessary time and money.

Degradation of pipelines can occur in a variety of ways, including: galvanic corrosion, erosion, exposure to pH, water and oxygen concentration, temperature, and microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). Therefore, it is critical to select the right coating for your pipeline during the initial design stage. One way to ensure the appropriate coating is selected is to engage a professional to assess your project’s requirements and make knowledge-based recommendations.

Mario Silvestro, Product Manager at Canusa-CPS, distributed in Australia by Universal Corrosion Coatings (UCC), believes it is important to understand the risks of choosing the wrong coating and the impact it can have on an asset in order to make a good decision. 

Mr Silvestro said that the key considerations when selecting a pipeline coating include:

  • Environmental and safety regulations
  • Application conditions
  • Performance of the coating within the environment and operating conditions
  • Effectiveness of the coating over the design/service life of the asset
  • Overall economics

Selecting the wrong coating happens when the consideration of one of these key factors greatly supersedes the rest, or when any one factor is not considered in detail.

“For example, there may be a high-performance coating available which is used for extremely high temperatures and performs in harsh environments, but can only be applied within very narrow and strict application parameters, which elevates the risk of non-conformance during application and eventual repairs in both the long and short term,” Mr Silvestro said.

Getting It Right – A Checklist of What to Consider

In order to maximise reliability and avoid spending time and money fixing degrading coatings, it is important to consider which factors will impact the long-term integrity of the pipeline.

Professionals, such as UCC, offer expert knowledge with respect to these factors to ensure projects’ specific requirements are met.

According to Mr. Silvestro, the minimum six key factors will assist in selecting the appropriate coating for buried pipelines: 

  1. Surface preparation
  2. Soil stress resistance
  3. Ambient conditions expected (such as surrounding temperature, moisture and soil chemistry) 
  4. Impact and handling resistance
  5. Backfill materials and time
  6. Resistance to cathodic disbondment and compatibility with any existing or other coating being used

Mr. Silvestro mentioned that a coating’s expected service life can degrade when used in conditions which are outside its scope of design. As a result, this can accelerate the aging process, so it is important to select a coating that is able to withstand all the relevant conditions it will experience over its lifetime. Aging coating alone contributes to approximately 15 per cent of coating failures.

Select a Proven Solution

According to Mr. Silvestro, selecting an option that is proven to be successful is the best way to avoid premature degradation and save time and money. 

A 2016 case study using Canusa-CPS ScarGuard®, a solution provided in Australia by UCC, showed there is potential to save more than $1 million if a coating like ScarGuard® is applied from the start.

“During this case study there was a horizontal directional drill application in which the mainline coating had failed a pull-through installation. The traditional method to repair the pipeline would have cost the client over $1.6 million, which included high manpower and equipment costs, but also would include delay charges, higher re-drilling costs and additional cathodic protection (CP). These additional charges could have all been avoided if the right coating was selected from the start,” Mr. Silvestro said. 

David Anderson, Sales and Marketing Manager at UCC, said that another key factor in making a coating decision is the field service that is available. With dedicated customer support, products are likely to perform better for longer.

“An additional benefit to UCC’s high-quality products, including Canusa-CPS, is the support given by our field service team, which trains and educates clients on how to properly apply coating products,” Mr. Anderson said. 

With access to expert knowledge in selecting the most appropriate coating as well as applying and maintaining it, the lifetime and integrity of the asset can be extended. Moreover, the performance can be improved, giving businesses a peace of mind on top of time and cost savings. 

Getting the most out of in-situ coating repairs

Australia’s aging pipeline network is nearly as vast as the country itself, making it important for asset owners to invest in effective repair solutions if they see signs of degradation. In-situ coating repairs can prolong the life of a pipeline and prevent further corrosion more efficiently, and costing less than complete pipeline replacements. 

According to Justin Rigby, Managing Director at Remedy Asset Protection, when coating is done poorly, the life of an asset is compromised and valuable time, money and resources are wasted. 

He said a major component to getting pipeline maintenance right is treating in-situ repair work with the same high level of importance as the initial coating.

“There is often a vast amount of engineering, design, financial modelling and regulatory approval involved in preparation for in-situ pipeline repair. The actual project may require permits, traffic management, excavation and materials testing, followed by treating corrosion and protective coating prior to eventual back filling and site reinstatement,” Mr Rigby said.

“The asset owner is subjected to a range of costs in the order of ten times compared to the protective coating works. Owners gain the best value by ensuring their in-situ repairs are completed to achieve maximum durability in excess of 25 years.”

Tailoring repair work 

While this type of repair work is highly efficient, it’s important for asset owners to engage directly with corrosion professionals to ensure a holistic approach. 

“Although a head contractor might be compliant in many project disciplines, asset owners need to engage coating professionals who understand a project’s specification,” Mr Rigby said.

Engaging an experienced corrosion solution company such as Universal Corrosion Coatings (UCC) when undertaking in-situ coating repair work can go a long way in delivering long-term asset performance. 

UCC provides materials and solutions to repair corrosion and material degradation issues across the oil and gas, water, energy, marine, mineral processing and civil infrastructure sectors in Australia. Remedy Asset Protection can also assist in developing holistic project specifications that address all of the key issues.

“UCC has been a successful partner in pipeline projects where Remedy Asset Protection provided specification expertise whilst also performing coating inspection of applicator works during protective coating stages,” Mr Rigby said.

By engaging the right professionals for in-situ coating repairs and tailoring works to the specific pipeline, asset owners can be confident that repairs will last and that no time or money is wasted.

Man looking at pipeline

Coating standards: what asset owners need to know

While the industry may not have mandatory coatings standards that asset owners must adhere to, standards include important information that can significantly aid in not only extending the life of a coating, but also the service life of the asset. Here we explore how standards can provide immense benefits when included in project specifications. 

The industry has developed standards and guides to ensure coating best practice is used across the board and that any major issues are avoided. These include standards from:

  • The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)
  • Standards Australia
  • NACE International (NACE)

When included in contract documents, these standards set out the minimum coating requirements needed in the construction and maintenance of new and existing pipelines to ensure safe and efficient outcomes for both industry and the community. 

They provide valuable guidance on best practice for the selection of coating materials, surface preparation, application and quality assurance, for fabricated steel articles and assembled structures. 

Standards such as AS/NZS 4822:2018, External field joint coatings for steel pipelines, say that to achieve high-quality corrosion protection and durability, quality application and inspections must be undertaken. Such standards also make suggestions on how to reduce maintenance expenditures and the importance of choosing a reliable, high-quality coating system for long-term corrosion protection results. 

While standards are important, industry standards aren’t mandatory unless stated on contract documents such as the specification, and there are no penalties for not complying with them. 

According to Justin Rigby, Managing Director at Remedy Asset Protection, choosing not to take standards into account can lead to reduced durability, not achieving a full service life, as well as loss of time and money. Faults resulting from poor work may also evoke penalties.

“An asset that doesn’t have good corrosion protection and then fails, leaves the owner open to penalties, particularly in terms of oil and gas pipelines. They could have their licence to operate revoked, as well as risks to the environment and fines from the EPA,” Mr Rigby said.

Follow standards in specifications

With this in mind, the specification document becomes an important and valuable resource for any project. Mr Rigby said this needs to be driven by a coatings professional to ensure that a holistic project specification is developed to address key issues impacting long-term coating performance. 

“Asset owners don’t need to know about these things in depth, but they should be engaging a coatings professional who can show them what areas of risk they have and how to mitigate them through developing a good specification,” Mr Rigby said. 

“That specification will relate to the asset, the environment and the expected service life, and will help decide what materials and standards are required to meet those goals to prevent corrosion.”

Professional suppliers to the pipeline industry such as Universal Corrosion Coatings (UCC) have years of experience working in the water, oil and gas pipeline, marine, and civil infrastructure sectors, for which they have niche products with long project histories. 

David Anderson, Sales and Marketing Manager at UCC, said that standards play a key role when they are developing customised solutions to corrosion and material degradation issues.

“Standards are developed based on what the industry has deemed acceptable practice so it’s important to take these into account,” Mr Anderson said. 

“We help businesses deliver quality long-term performance of their assets through the correct choice of coatings and products, but one of the key things we tell our clients is that to guarantee long-term reliability you can’t cut corners at the beginning because it’ll just increase safety and cost risks later on. 

“A specification written by a coatings professional backed by trusted products supplied by UCC will ensure your assets continue to be unproblematic for years to come.”