This week LUX Assure are presenting and exhibiting at the annual National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) CORROSION 2018 conference in Phoenix. The 5-day event is the world’s largest corrosion conference, welcoming more than 6,000 corrosion engineers, scientists, researchers, technicians, asset owners, inspectors, and other professionals from over 60 countries across the world. It’s the perfect forum for like-minded professionals to explore the advances in technology for the prevention and mitigation of corrosion. LUX is focused on improving on-site chemical management and while this is just one aspect of asset integrity management, it can significantly enhance broader asset integrity management programmes.
Efficient data acquisition is essential when making asset integrity decisions and more attention is being paid to collecting, recording and analysing corrosion and corrosion inhibitor data, with many operators focusing increasingly on this area. As an early deterrent against internal corrosion, maintaining the optimum level of corrosion inhibitor in a pipeline is vital to ensure proactive corrosion mitigation. Chemical corrosion inhibitors are routinely used to protect process equipment and pipeline infrastructure and it can be difficult to establish optimum dosage levels, as conditions can change rapidly in the field. Factors such as changes in production, water cut, or solids can alter the level of inhibitor required so frequent monitoring is important.
A common approach to combat these changes is to overdose the system which can prove counterproductive and increase chemical spend. The optimal dosage, however, can be determined by establishing the critical micelle concentration (CMC).
Film-forming inhibitors are frequently used in the oilfield which create a thin molecular film that protects internal surfaces from corrosion. If the surface is saturated or there is no suitable surface for adsorption, these molecules remain in the fluid. When present above a certain concentration, nanoscale aggregates of corrosion inhibitor surfactants form, which are known as micelles and indicate that the CMC has been reached. The CMC varies depending on a system’s properties and can be used as a benchmark for achieving the optimal functional dose of corrosion inhibitor.
Research has shown a connection between the CMC of surfactant type corrosion inhibitors and inhibitor effectiveness. Above the CMC, more micelles form, which can lead to chemical wastage and operational problems. Below the CMC, gaps appear in the film which allows corrosion to occur. Therefore, maintaining the CMC and using micelles as an indicator on which to adjust the dosage can minimise corrosion.
Current on-site corrosion inhibitor monitoring techniques suffer from weaknesses; on-site tools can suffer from interferences and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods, whilst accurate are complex and difficult to perform on-site for most assets. LUX Assure’s innovative micelle detection technology, CoMic™, detects the formation of micelles and was recently redeveloped to create the world’s first operator deployable corrosion inhibitor micelle detection technology. This unique technology can now be deployed in the field by on-site personnel, with minimal training required, allowing timely decisions to be made on-site.
Accurate data collection is crucial and a move towards improving real-time data collection could significantly enhance the relevance and speed of data acquisition, ensuring decisions are based on the most up-to-date information and reflecting changes as they occur.
Across the industry however, there is some resistance from asset managers who are concerned with managing and maintaining more online equipment. This could delay such technologies being brought to market. A trade-off therefore exists between investing in new technologies and the operational efficiencies which can be achieved. Asset integrity relies on information being captured from many different sources, which can include coupons, probes, flow rates, chemical injection rates, solids and system changes, for example. The use of on-site chemical management technology which provides real-time information could contribute to an integrated data collection process to provide operators with a wealth of diverse information.
As the oil and gas industry looks to realise more time and cost efficiencies, there is a great opportunity for LUX, as specialists in on-site chemical monitoring and management, to offer solutions that can help operators achieve this. The investment in our on-site corrosion inhibitor technology aims to contribute significantly to supporting the robust management of asset integrity. Discussing on-site corrosion inhibitor management, LUX will be presenting at CORROSION 2018 at 08.35 on Wednesday 18th in room 128, click here for more information.