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Increasing the safety and life expectancy of equipment in the offshore industry

15 July 2015

Arc Energy Resources is one of the UK’s leading specialists in weld overlay cladding and fabrication for the oil & gas industry. The company’s expertise provides protection against corrosion and wear for a variety of process and pipeline equipment used in hostile offshore environments. Here, we discuss the problems and solutions available to engineers.

Rotating head machine
Rotating head machine

Corrosion attack can lead to a waste of precious natural resources and create problems for those entrusted with the containment and handling of aggressive liquids and ecologically damaging toxins.
So what can engineers do to ensure the integrity of the internal surfaces and maintain an efficient and reliable service, when the transported media can, for chemical or mechanical reasons, degrade valves, pipelines, flanges and other specialist equipment?
In such applications, what techniques are available to enhance the life of new plant or refurbish worn or corroded equipment; and what are the cost benefits compared to expensive base materials and/or replacement parts?
Engineers have a number of options when considering protection against chemical attack, however the final solution will depend in part on an evaluation of factors such as the presence of chemically aggressive compounds; the level of suspended solids, if any, in the product; the installation deadline; and budget restraints.
Where budget is not a constraint, engineers can simply specify components in corrosion or wear resistant alloys known to withstand the specific service conditions.  However, this is rarely the case and other, more cost-effective options must be sought.
Where standard, off-the-shelf carbon steel equipment is used, weld overlay cladding is certainly the most versatile option, providing the assurance of a heavy-duty metallurgically-bonded protective layer that will not be undermined or dislodged in service.
After first identifying the areas that need to be protected, and the properties of the medium from which protection is required, engineers can choose from a number of welding processes and a wide range of cladding alloys. The final choice will depend on the size and geometry of the components to be clad and the alloy best suited to combat the surface degradation.

The alloys used to manufacture components for use in the oil & gas industry can range from carbon and low alloy steels through to stainless steels. All are capable of being overlay clad to provide corrosion resistance in specified areas or indeed over all surfaces in the case of the carbon and low alloy varieties, to provide total resistance.
For some applications, limited attack may be tolerated on the body of a component manufactured from low alloy or stainless steel, provided complete integrity is assured in sealing areas. It is here that a more corrosion-resistant material can be applied using weld overlay cladding.
Similarly, where total corrosion protection is required, it makes economic sense to manufacture components in a cheaper alloy and overlay clad with a corrosion-resistant alloy, rather than manufacture the whole unit in a more expensive, highly alloyed material.
To summarise, significant developments by equipment suppliers to improve productivity and quality have helped to ensure that weld overlay cladding is now widely accepted as a versatile and economic process with which to protect equipment against corrosion attack.

Arc Energy Resources’ expertise in weld overlay cladding services provides heavy-duty protection against corrosion and wear for process and pipeline equipment destined for use in any hostile environment. Director Alan Robinson is one of few UK registered European Welding Engineers.
He has a master’s degree in welding, is a Chartered Engineer, a European Engineer and is a senior member of the Welding Institute. He has assembled a skilled team that is capable of delivering quality service from enquiry to delivery and beyond, and can engineer the perfect solution to the biggest of challenges.
Alan Robinson
Arc Energy Resources
Tel: +44 (0)1453 823523

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