Downstream oil & gas facilities are often located on the coast. This affords them two major advantages: an abundant source of water for use in their processes, and access to sea transport for crude oil or refined product. The downside of this, however, is that these coastal locations are typically high in humidity and atmospheric salinity, providing the perfect conditions for corrosion. This creates a major challenge for asset managers in maintaining their assets to mitigate the effects of corrosion.

Compounding the challenge to asset managers, many areas of an oil & gas facility are constantly damp. For example, areas around cooling towers, experience continuous condensation, as cooling towers are rarely taken out of operation. Pipes carrying cold fluids, such as LNG, experience ‘sweating’ as their surface temperature remains perpetually below dew point. Jetty infrastructure, in addition to having dampness, is subject to intermittent immersion as tides come in and go out.

Most coating systems, including those used in through life maintenance of assets, are designed to be applied on ‘clean and dry’ surfaces. This presents a dilemma to asset managers when carrying out coating maintenance: apply products contrary to the manufacturer’s recommendation for surface preparation, thereby increasing the risk of premature coating failure, or restrict/shut down certain processes in order to achieve a dry substrate for paint application. With ever increasing pressures on improving process efficiency and reducing cost, restricting or shutting down processes in most cases is the least favoured option. Hence, coatings that are designed to be applied on dry substrates are often used in damp conditions, resulting in sub-optimal performance and increased maintenance costs.

The hydrocarbon modification of the epoxy resin used in Interzone 954 was a pioneering innovation in promoting dampness tolerance in coatings. Additives in the product also promote crosslinking, resulting in early water resistance properties that enable Interzone 954 to continue to cure even when immersed in water as soon as 30-60 minutes after application. These properties, in combination with its excellent permeation resistance, high build and surface tolerance capabilities, make Interzone 954 the ideal choice for a single coat maintenance coating. Interzone 954 provides long term durability in a variety of applications, from the protection of structural steel exposed to corrosive atmospheres, to jetty piles and wharfs that are exposed to seawater immersion and mechanical abrasion.

 

Coming next in part 2 - Maintenance challenges: achieving long term performance with the shortest possible downtimes