Pipeline Cathodic Protection

Cor-Pro Systems is the leading provider of pipeline cathodic protection services in Houston, Texas and nearby Gulf Coast areas.

Since 1948, the Gulf of Mexico has over 24,000 miles of pipeline.  To date, some 1,222 miles of these pipes are more than 30 years old while about 5,952 miles are on their second decade already.

Based on these numbers, almost 8,000 miles of pipes have poor integrity and are at a higher risk of leaks and damages.

Pipeline cathodic protection is usually done whenever the equipment or structure is exposed to a very aggressive and harsh environment. More so, if the metal surfaces that need to be protected are buried or submerged in water.

Having a protection and prevention system is important for the long-term health of a pipeline. It plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the pipeline as well as prolonging its life span.

Malfunction at any point of the pipeline can cause oil leaks that have damaging effects on the marine environment and severe financial consequences for the owner.

Cost based and technical considerations carried out at the outset of planning and design can give log-term benefits in terms of integrity and safety of the subsea pipeline.

Cathodic Protection as a way of pipeline corrosion protection is a reliable and effective method used for almost half a century.

Pipeline cathodic protection is an integral part of asset protections.  It is important that submerged pipelines have anti-corrosion coatings applied on external surfaces.

How Pipeline Cathodic Protection Works

Pipelines are given layers of protection from the application of anti-corrosion coating.

In this case, a cathodic protection inhibits the corrosion at the areas where there are damages due to wear and tear, age, environmental reasons, or third party damage.

Pipeline cathodic protection is an electro-chemical process wherein the energy of the steel surface is decreased to a point at which corrosion is no longer thermodynamically feasible.

Designing Cathodic Protection System As A Pipeline Corrosion Protection Method

Corrosion engineers need to consider the following factors when designing cathodic protection systems:

  • Expected design life required (standard minimum is 20 years)
  • Geographic location
  • Type of coating to use
  • Pipe diameter length
  • Depth of water
  • Burial method
  • Pipe-laying/installation method
  • Electrical isolation from platforms or other pipelines
  • Product temperature

All of these variables have significant impact on the final anode alloy and size selection.

An approved subsea pipeline corrosion protection designer will consider and identify the preferred pipe installation method, as this will have a direct and significant impact on the extent of expected coating damage.

In almost all pipelines design guidelines, the use of conservative approach is necessary.  For instance, many of early Gulf of Mexico subsea pipelines have a design basis of 2mA/ft of bare steel and 5% coating failure.  In principle, this equates to taking 5% of the overall pipeline surface area and putting 2mA/ft of cathodic subsea pipeline corrosion protection to it.

When thinking about the role of cathodic protection in the integrity of the pipeline, investigation should include the actual causes of subsea pipeline failure and leakages.

Subsea pipelines aged more than 30 years have higher risks of failure and leakages.  In fact, the first instance of a leak could be the demise of the subsea pipeline.  Due to the cost of subsea pipeline-laying, most of the existing pipelines may not undergo replacement.

Two basic strategies that subsea industries can adopt include:

  • Surveying of the subsea pipeline corrosion protection system such as cathodic protection systems
  • Retrofitting of the protection system

Use of close-interval cathodic protection surveys are the most rational technique, but rarely used. Accurate survey systems include:

  • Physical contact to the pipeline
  • Use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs)

These methods track the pipeline while carrying reference electrode arrays that will assist operators in making informed decisions about retrofitting.

Retrofitting of the subsea pipeline corrosion protection system through the use of supplemental anodes will only be beneficial if the pipeline of interest is old and has a significant additional lifespan because of the associated cost of pipeline inspection.

For this reason, it is highly advised to conduct a thorough pipeline survey beforehand.

Benefits Of Pipeline Cathodic Protection

  • Relatively easy to set up
  • Lower capital outlay and lower operational cost per kilometer
  • Protection from various environmental and weather conditions
  • Effective at arresting the rate of corrosion

Cor-Pro Systems, Inc is OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 9001:2008 certified.  Both certification conferred by Verisys Registrars.

Implementation Of The Pipeline Cathodic Protection System

The implementation of a cathodic protection system may differ based on the standards and codes of practice that need to be followed. After a thorough site and design investigation, the following steps are being done:

  • Pipeline fitting to enable future testing of protection levels and the overall performance of the system
  • Installation of sacrificial nodes to provide temporary protection during the construction phase
  • Installation of anode bed and the cathodic protection unit
  • Data logging of the protection levels of the pipeline
  • Regulatory testing to determine if the cathode protection system causes electrolysis effects on foreign assets.
  • If tests show that everything is working according to standards and without defects, sacrificial nodes are disconnected and the impressed unit is switched on.

Without the proper implementation of a pipeline cathodic protection system, the pipeline will degrade faster than expected and will certainly affect the integrity of the structure or the asset.

Velocity: Part Of Cor-Pro’s Commitment To The “Cor-Pro Gold Standard”

Pipeline cathodic protection is a necessary requirement for submerged pipelines and it is Cor-Pro’s commitment to deliver only the best corrosion protection methods in Houston and nearby Gulf Coast areas.

All of the company’s products and services are marked with the highest level of corrosion management standard – the “Cor-Pro Gold Standard.”

To ensure all Cor-Pro’s clients receive quick and quality service, each work done follow the “Velocity Seal of Quality” – superior corrosion protection service in just a matter of hours, not days.

About Cor-Pro Systems

Cor-Pro Systems specializes in installing pipeline cathodic protection system to ensure that equipment and critical assets remain functional and up to standards.

With highly trained staff, businesses are guaranteed top-notch services that prevent deterioration of critical pipelines and structures.

If you have questions about our rust removal services in Houston or want to get a custom quote for your particular corrosion protection need, contact us at 713-896-1091, or send us an e-mail at quotes@cor-pro.com.