The oil and gas industry is currently facing unprecedented global challenges that require resilient and cost-effective metal solutions that perform without failure in hostile subsea, downhole, and onshore environments. The demand for premium quality, corrosion resistant exotic alloy metals that operate in increasingly demanding environments is therefore higher than ever across the globe.
Suppliers to this demanding industry that can provide high-performance, custom-made solutions to the problem of minimising downtime are in a good position to help their customers safeguard financial success by reducing downtime during maintenance and upgrades. The ability to process a wide range of exotic alloys that are resistant to corrosion is highly valuable. Metallurgy experts such as Ametek Specialty Metal Products (SMP) are seeing success in the industry as a direct result of their products being engineered for optimum toughness, hardness, and intensity. They are seeing increased interest in how their metal products can deliver exceptional pressure, corrosion, and wear resistance in extreme working conditions.
Extended Operational Life
Being able to rely on suppliers that can offer premium quality, corrosion resistant metal products gives the oil and gas sector a key commercial advantage. Reduced downtime and maintenance costs mean that energy companies can continue to deliver vital functions across critical infrastructure industries in the face of worldwide challenges to health, safety, and productivity.
Demand is increasing for specialist corrosion resistant metal products engineered in higher strength alloys that deliver product longer life and enhanced performance. These products can be grouped into various categories, all of which play a crucial part in the overall workings of the oil and gas sector.
Exotic Alloy, “Fit and Forget” Tubes up to 60,000 psi
Deployed in some of the most hostile downhole conditions up to 2,000m under the sea, oil and gas tubing operates in extreme environments. Critical applications include downhole hydraulic control lines, high pressure control and instrumentation as well as pressure housings. It is therefore imperative that tube systems offer high corrosion and pressure resistance up to 60,000 psi. These specialized properties ensure that product lifespans and quality remain high, not only to help reduce downtimes caused by necessary repairs, replacements or upgrades, but also leads to fewer part failures and lower costs when it comes to ongoing maintenance.
High-performance, ‘fit and forget’ alloy tubing can be manufactured in a range of exotic grades to offer a wide choice of materials for customers, including, stainless steel 904L and NORSOK-approved 6 Moly; as well as super duplex and high-quality nickel alloys like grades 825 and 625.
These types of tubes offer an excellent product life and significantly reduced downtimes for re-fitting traditional corroded products, making them ideal for applications that demand long in-service life in hostile environments.
Hardfacing and Thermal Spray Powders for Coatings
Metal powders are commonly used for thermal spray surface coating applications within this sector. Metal powder manufactured through water atomization enables a supplier to offer high levels of customization, including different levels of corrosion resistance from different types of alloys. Metal powders are engineered to have desirable thermal spraying characteristics that enhance the performance of the component being coated.
Metal powders are used to increase the hardness, wear, abrasion, and/or corrosion resistance of the surface to extend a product’s lifespan and offer total component cost savings. High performance alloys used include Ni-Cr-Si-Fe-B family products, Ni-based corrosion alloys, and Co-based wear alloys that offer a wide variety of hardness levels and machinability. These products are highly sought-after for several deposition techniques, both with and without carbide reinforcement.
These products are commonly used for valving, pump components, corrosion protection, and flow path wear mitigation. Each alloy used is designed to allow for maximum density of the coating.
Exotic Spinodal Alloys for Superior Strength
Spinodal alloys are highly specialized and possess excellent corrosion resistance. They benefit from age hardening techniques that further increase their strength and hardness while offering superior mechanical and physical properties in comparison to conventional high-performance alloys. These exceptional properties are advantageous for demanding oil and gas and drilling applications where performance is critical. Spinodal alloys offer a non-sparking and non-magnetic alternative to Beryllium containing materials with similar mechanical and electrical properties.
Examples of high performance spinodal alloys include, Pfinodal (C72900) copper alloy and AM-388™ (UNS C72650). These grades are manufactured using sophisticated wrought powder metallurgy and are engineered into multiple product forms of strip, wire, and machined components.
Hardenable Spinodal Strip via Wrought Powder Metallurgy
Pfinodal strip can be age hardened with a heat treatment to ensure the high hardness required for deep hole penetration applications. The heat treatment produces superior mechanical properties up to 195 ksi ultimate tensile strength (1344 MPa) and 410 Hardness (VHN). Critical applications include electronic connectors and parabolic cone shaped charges for the perforation of oil and gas well liners.
AM-388™ strip can be also be age hardened up to 155 ksi ultimate tensile strength (1068 MPa) and 380 Hardness (VHN). Alloys that are age hardenable, non-magnetic and non-conductive are best suited for the oil and gas industry. Applications include strip for non-sparking tools and electronic connectors.
Both of these hardenable strip products can be roll-tempered to meet highly precise mechanical properties.
High Hardness Pfinodal® Shaped Components for Demanding Drill Bit Applications
Pfinodal shaped components offer specific physical properties that are highly advantageous for tri-cone drill bits in demanding rock bit bearing applications, including excellent corrosion resistance.
The production processes and heat treatments employed in creating this type of metal components combine to ensure the high hardness and non-magnetic properties required in bearing material for bearing sleeves, bushings, washers and caps. The low distortion of Pfinodal® during hardening allows for the complex forming of parts and shapes prior to heat treatment without the need for costly fixtures.
Customers around the world are turning more and more to Pfinodal® shaped components to significantly extend their drill bit life and reduce downtime when it comes to maintaining and keeping the drills in optimum working condition.
Corrosion Resistant Clad Plate
Roll bonded clad plate is a multi-layer plate composed of two or more different materials called base metal (usually carbon steel or low alloy steel) and a higher alloy cladding metal, such as stainless steel, nickel alloys, or titanium. The clad plate combines higher strength and better thermal conductivity of lower cost base material with the corrosion resistance of higher cost cladding material.
This high-quality composite plate is engineered to meet critical standards in pressure vessels, autoclaves, and similar applications where corrosion, pressure resistance, and structural performance are key. Other applications include chemical processing chambers, transition joints, refining, flue gas desulfurization, and catalytic cracking.
Quality, Safety and Longevity First
Put simply, the greater the choice of materials that can provide the very best corrosion and pressure resistance to extend and enhance critical working lifespans, the better choice the customer will have when it comes to selecting the right metals and materials. In the long-term, ‘fit and forget’ products in higher corrosion-resistant alloys are key to reducing downtime and maintenance costs in extreme oil and gas environments.