Advanced preservation technology is enabling the oil & gas sector to keep operating during times of uncertainty
In these days of plummeting oil prices and uncertainty on every side, it is important for rig owners and operators to have a good layup strategy in place. This will help them retain the value of their assets until the market warrants bringing them back online. Corrosion protection is a key part of keeping those assets in good condition and is especially critical for drilling operations located offshore in harsh marine conditions, exposed to high temperatures and chloride-ridden sea spray.
Cortec VpCI solutions to corrosion have become a mainstay of successful preservation for oil and gas companies across the globe by providing durable, effective protection that makes it easy to return equipment to service. This has been true for rig layup conditions of all kinds – from hot layup and cold stacking of brownfield operations, to preservation of new greenfield assets waiting to be commissioned, to layup of operational and critical spares that need to be ready at a moment’s notice.
Cortec aims to make corrosion protection user-friendly and durable to weather the figurative storm of oil and gas market uncertainty – as well as the literal storms that threaten to deteriorate assets sitting unused and unprotected outdoors. Although some operations may be financially forced or tempted to simply shut equipment down and try to wait out the economic storm without doing anything, taking even just some corrosion protection precautions is ideal, if at all possible. Making a comparatively small investment now could mean a huge return on investment later when considering potential losses from deteriorated assets unable to return quickly to service at the market uptick.
One of the easiest steps is to protect sensitive electrical and electronic components by sticking a small VpCI-105 or VpCI-111 emitter inside electrical cabinets and junction boxes, or even by laying a roll of VpCI-137 foam across an entire equipment room. VpCI molecules in the foam or emitters vaporise and condition the atmosphere with protective molecules. These molecules condense on metal surfaces as an invisible corrosion-inhibiting layer that does not need to be removed and does not interfere with operation. For additional protection, these electrical boxes can be wrapped in VpCI-126 shrink film in sheltered areas or MilCorr VpCI shrink film when panels are located outdoors in more extreme environments. VpCI films are also an excellent way to protect the countless other pieces of equipment on an offshore platform, such as vents, utility baskets, winches, pumps, BOP connections, and heat exchangers.
Hurricane-proof protection for the oil and gas sector
In addition to corrosion protection, MilCorr VpCI shrink film is UV-resistant and has an excellent track record for withstanding severe weather like hurricanes. When used on an offshore platform that took an almost direct hit from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 in the Gulf of Mexico, none of the MilCorr VpCI shrink film came off, and the equipment was still found to be protected and corrosion-free at the inspection two years later. Moreover, the equipment remained readily accessible, making it easy to restart, if necessary, simply by cutting open the film and following normal procedures.
If the equipment has significant amounts of internal void space, the packaged environment can be further conditioned by fogging with VpCI-337 or placing VpCI-308 pouches or VpCI-130 series foam inside as an extra source of vapour-phase corrosion inhibitors. For those doing an extensive layup, Cortec additives M-529, M-530, or M-531 can be added to engine gearboxes and oil systems based on compatibility. Removable coatings such as VpCI-391 are also used extensively on drill rigs for extra protection of exposed painted metal surfaces.
With oil prices already tumbling and potentially dropping even farther, it is a serious time of decision making for drilling rig owners and operators. The application of a handful of the solutions described here can help drilling assets weather the storm to offer continued valuable operation in the future. Rather than settling for the “easy” way of doing nothing, which may actually be more difficult and costly in the long run, now is the time to implement preservation best practices that will protect expensive assets and make recommissioning easier when the oil market starts to look brighter.