In the pursuit of bringing hydrocarbons to market, there are many obstacles, both natural and man-made. Some of these difficulties can be circumvented, but others, like corrosion, are unavoidable. As much as oil and gas production companies would love to dodge this process altogether, it’s a natural part of chemistry and physics, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Over the decades, many technologies have been created to resist or prevent corrosion-damage to pipelines. These pipelines are essential to the delivery of hydrocarbons, but are susceptible to corrosion damage from the heat, moisture, and abrasives that are often present in these working conditions. One such technology used in the battle against corrosion is fusion bonded epoxy coatings (FBE).
FBE coatings are supplied by multiple manufacturers. Axalta is a leading provider of protective coatings throughout North America, offering an array of high-tech FBE options. Axalta Nap-Gard® 7-2500 Fusion Bonded Epoxy is one such coating, designed to provide corrosion protection in the demanding oil and gas production environment. In addition, Nap-Gard® 7-2500 is used in transporting wastewater and saltwater, each of which present their own challenges that must be addressed.
Nap-Gard® 7-2500 is designed to provide protection for both internal and external surfaces of pipeline. The protection of both surfaces is important: internal surfaces are exposed to chemically-active hydrocarbons, while outside surfaces can be exposed to high heat, high pressures, and abrasives such as salt. The 7-2500 specification is formulated to withstand high temperatures of 107°C (225°F)—vital heat protection in the unforgiving oil and gas production environment. In addition to providing this protection for oil and gas applications, the product complies with NSF-61 specification, meaning that it’s approved for transporting potable water.
Fusion bonded epoxy coatings such as Axalta Nap-Gard® 7-2500 are formulated as an epoxy-based powder coating that turns into a liquid at elevated temperatures and flows across the surface to be protected. The coating is applied to the surface with an electrostatic powder coating gun, then it’s cured to form an especially resilient cross-linked bond. This fusion bond offers much improved protection over simpler coatings like paint. This is a “thermoset” coating, meaning that once it’s cured, the process is irreversible.
In addition to offering superior corrosion protection, Nap-Gard® 7-2500 is hazardous air pollutant free (HAP free). This is an important benefit of the product, since HAPs can cause serious health problems in those exposed to them. FBE coatings are actually safer in many ways than other protective coatings and are formulated to be safe for both the workers and the environment.
Corrosion is a fact of life in the oil and gas industry, and indeed any other industry where liquids are transported through steel pipeline. It will never truly be eliminated as a concern, but technologies like Axalta Nap-Gard® 7-2500 can significantly mitigate the risks of corrosion so that invaluable hydrocarbons can continue to power our modern lives.