Managing the Costs and Risks of Aging Carbon Steel
No force is harder on carbon steel than time itself; and the aging of essential carbon steel assets brings massive risk to oil and gas companies.
As steel is exposed to the elements, it begins to lose its structural integrity, and the risk of corrosion increases. If not addressed, this can lead to catastrophic failure. At best, failure of your assets causes costly interruptions to production; at worst, it can put the health and safety of your employees and your company’s position in the marketplace at risk.
Oil and gas companies cannot allow aging steel assets to become a liability.
Avoiding the ravages of time isn’t easy, largely owing to the amount of steel assets in the industry — but it is manageable. These proactive strategies can help companies mitigate the costs and dangers of aging assets.
Make Monitoring a Systematic Process
Visible signs of aging don’t necessarily indicate that your carbon steel assets are at risk of imminent failure. If the issue is recognized early, such as in the case of flash rust, it is possible to remove the existing rust, extending the life of the asset in the process.
In order to catch rust and other signs of aging as early as possible, monitoring must be a routine part of your organization’s maintenance schedule. Systematically monitoring all of your organization’s carbon steel assets is a large undertaking, but there are advancements in the industry helping to ease time and costs associated with asset monitoring; and when it leads to significant savings on replacement steel and prevents unexpected downtime, it’s absolutely worth it.
Appoint inspectors at all relevant sites while putting protocols in place to ensure that inspections are consistent across the board. Most importantly, make sure that any issues inspectors discover are addressed immediately — it may bring a cost in the short-term to address aging or rusted assets, but it prevents far larger costs over the long-term.
Remove and Repair Corrosion When Possible
The cost of repairing carbon steel assets, though significant, is often less than the cost of replacing equipment entirely. This effort is only effective if there are inspectors in place to identify corrosion early enough for it to be addressed with economic efficiency. The second part of the equation is having technicians on staff who are qualified to effectively remove and repair corrosion.
Finally, it’s important to establish protocols for disabling equipment during repairs in ways that minimize the disruption to operations. With skilled technicians who can address existing corrosion and a maintenance schedule that allows your team to account for planned downtime, you can extend the life of your carbon steel assets while reducing the impact on your organization’s bottom line.
Develop an Equipment Replacement Plan
Replacing a piece of equipment by choice rather than by necessity is always preferable. Preemptive action for successful asset maintenance requires several things. First, companies need criteria in place to determine when an asset is in good working order, needs repair, or needs replacement. Abandoning an asset too early costs unnecessary time, production, and money; while relying on an asset for too long brings even more risk and heavier losses. It’s crucial to define clear benchmarks for your inspectors to assess against.
Beyond that, develop a plan to expedite the process for new steel assets to be ordered, shipped, and installed to ensure efficient asset replacement. Your replacement process should be continually improving; an effective replacement plan develops over time, evolving from the positive and negative experiences of the previous replacement process.
Apply a High-Performing Anti-Corrosion Coating
Fundamentally, mitigating aging starts by insulating the carbon steel asset as early as possible. The surest way to manage the aging of carbon steel is to stop rust in its tracks, to ensure the lifespan of your assets isn’t cut short by corrosion. EonCoat’s proprietary anti-corrosion coating is easily applied to the surface of carbon assets, dries within minutes, and chemically bonds with the steel to provide unbeatable, long-lasting protection.
What distinguishes EonCoat® from traditional coatings on the market is its durability and longevity. Our coating is engineered to provide long-term protection even if the surface of the asset is scratched, scraped or dented. Apply EonCoat’s anti-corrosion coating to the surface of all new and existing carbon steel assets to reduce the costs associated with managing corrosion. Inspectors will still have the responsibility to monitor these assets, but since EonCoat® leaves them so thoroughly protected, they will rarely require intervention.
EonCoat® was designed with the needs of oil and gas companies in mind. Our anti-corrosion coating is easy to apply, and once in place it provides a self-healing, dual-layer defense to secure your carbon steel assets over the long-term. To explore EonCoat® in action, and review objective testing results, download our free e-book on “Research on the Effectiveness of EonCoat®.”