September 14

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6 Risks and Costs of Settling for Inferior Pipeline Coatings

Don't let inferior coatings undermine your subsea assets.

Corrosion, wear and tear, thermal stress - as an operator in the offshore oil and gas industry, you know these threats can quickly degrade subsea pipelines and lead to catastrophic failures. 

And it’s your choice of protective pipeline coatings that impacts these risks significantly.

Settling for inferior coatings to save money upfront often backfires, resulting in higher long-term costs from premature repairs, replacements, and lost production. 

The high costs of subpar protective coatings

At first glance, a cheaper coating may seem like a smart way to control project budgets. But skimping on quality leaves pipelines vulnerable to a range of problems that ultimately cost far more than the initial savings.

Without durable corrosion and abrasion protection, pipelines suffer pitting, cracking, and leaks. Repairing or replacing damaged sections requires pulling pipelines for inspection and welding - not to mention cleaning up spills and leaks.

Inferior coatings also fail more quickly in challenging environments like the splash zone. This leads to more frequent recoating to maintain protection. Recoating generally means taking pipelines out of commission, resulting in significant revenue losses.

The costs quickly compound. But high-performing coatings like SplashTRON withstand corrosion, abrasion, and other threats - keeping assets in service longer. The upfront investment pays dividends over the pipeline's lifetime.

How inferior coatings lead to premature wear and tear

Cheap coatings simply can't provide the durability pipelines need in harsh subsea environments. Several factors contribute to their short lifespan and early failures, such as:

Poor adhesion

Quality coatings chemically bond to steel for maximum adhesion. Weak bonding allows seawater access underneath the coating. This leads to blistering, cracking, and corrosion even with intact topcoats.

Thin films

Thinner coatings provide less of a protective barrier before exposing the steel underneath. They're quickly breached, requiring earlier recoating.

Low flexibility

Inferior coatings are less elastic. They cannot flex with pipelines and will crack with temperature changes or ground shifts. This exposes the steel to corrosion.

Weak abrasion resistance

High-performing coatings withstand abrasion from sediment. Cheap coatings quickly wear away and need replacement.

Settling for inadequate coatings results in pipelines that corrode, leak, and require repairs much earlier than they should. But coatings like SplashTRON are thick, flexible, and abrasion-resistant, providing long-lasting protection even in turbulent splash zones.

The risks of insufficient thermal protection

Pipeline coatings don't just protect against corrosion and abrasion; they can also insulate against heat loss and gain. Here are the 6 major risks and costs of settling for inferior pipeline coatings:

1. Temperature fluctuations

Low-quality insulation allows excessive heat transfer in and out of pipelines. This continual expansion and contraction from temperature changes subjects the pipelines to constant mechanical stress and fatigue over time. 

Eventually, the thermal cycling enabled by insufficient insulation can lead to cracks, leaks, and breakdowns.

2. Wax and hydrate formation

Poor thermal regulation also leads to increased wax and hydrate buildup as hydrocarbon temperatures drop inside pipelines. 

The wax and hydrates accumulate and restrict flow, which requires frequent pigging operations to clear. Each pigging operation takes pipelines out of service, resulting in disruptions and revenue losses.

3. Thermal shock

Rapid temperature changes enabled by insufficient insulation can also cause damaging thermal shock. The abrupt contraction and expansion from sudden temperature spikes leads to cracks and leaks in the pipeline material.

4. Heat loss and gain

Inferior insulation results in substantial heat loss in deep water and heat gain in shallow waters. This warms the surrounding seawater and accelerates external corrosion and coating breakdown.

5. Condensation buildup

A poor moisture barrier allows condensation to form inside pipelines. This internal corrosion from water deposition eats away at the pipeline and must be manually drained, costing more in maintenance.

6. Thermal cycling damage

Daily heating and cooling cycles enabled by low-quality insulation cause material fatigue in pipelines over time. The continual expansion and contraction from thermal cycling leads to cracks, leaks, and eventual breakdowns.

Failing to maintain ideal temperatures costs money, time, and headaches. But superior insulation like ThermoTRON regulates heat gain and loss, protecting asset integrity and uptime. 

When evaluating pipeline coating options, Mark Tool & Rubber delivers unbeatable performance and value. We have almost 70 years of experience developing coatings that withstand the most demanding conditions and protect assets all over the world.

When you choose Mark Tool, you get more than just a product - you get a trusted partner committed to maximizing your assets' lifetime value. Protect your pipelines from unnecessary risks and costs by insisting on coatings engineered to go the distance. Request a quote today.

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