Abstract

Arctic pipelines have unique corrosion mitigation problems resulting from the arctic environment itself and the practical limits on processing facilities in the arctic infrastructure. This paper will discuss a number of the unique artic pipeline corrosion issues and will present practical solutions to those problems.

Background

With a few exceptions, the oil and gas industry has produced the resources of the easy and relatively easy locations - which is why oil and gas was relatively inexpensive in the past. Today, ALL of the author's current and pending project assignments are either extremely remote, further offshore, in deeper waters, more sour or otherwise contaminated, subject to greater environmental extremes, subject to greater operating temperatures and pressures, or a combination of the above.

If asked why " arctic pipelines and flowlines?? are different from pipelines and flowlines in more temperate climates, this group would give a number of answers. Obvious, but still accurate answers would be:

  1. Unique safety concerns - weather conditions, equipment reliability, wildlife, and terrain.

  2. More remote - significantly increased costs of construction, operation, supply, and maintenance.

  3. Greater risk - mechanical integrity, spill response, and environmental clean up consequences.

But that's not why the audience is here and not why this presentation was prepared. The solutions to the above are basically financial. If the oil and gas resources are there in sufficient quantity and value, the necessary investment capital will become available.

However, there are corrosion issues for arctic pipelines and flowlines that will require an increased emphasis on corrosion mitigation during construction, from the first day of production, and altered operating and maintenance (O&M) practices. There will be greater corrosion mitigation O&M costs but these can be minimized over the long term if adequate consideration and preplanning for corrosion control is conducted. Corrosion mitigation should not be thought of as a necessary evil (costs should be reduced whenever and wherever possible) but should rather be thought of as a means to reduce capital investment costs in exchange for slightly increased O&M costs over the life of the structure. After all, the pipeline industry installs relatively inexpensive carbon steel (a material that does not, and cannot exist long in most of the environments found on this planet) underground and expects it to contain high pressures, for decades, with minimal if any maintenance. Are we stupid or what?

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