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Flange Face Corrosion in Seawater and Hydrocarbon Environment Related to Gasket Material Selection

Paper Number: 40
Author/s: S Bond1, A Lattimer2 & P Welsford3
Organisation: The Flexitallic Group1, Houston, USA, Flexitallic UK Ltd2, Cleckheaton, UK & Flexitallic UK Ltd (Singapore Branch)3, Singapore

Abstract

Bolted flange joints in seawater and hydrocarbon services can be vulnerable to gasket degradation and flange face corrosion. In its document on corrosion management, the UK’s Energy Institute ranks corrosion as the second most frequent cause in initiating loss of hydrocarbon containment in offshore platforms, and highlights corrosion as a major threat to asset integrity and plant efficiency.

Flange face corrosion can be extremely difficult to detect prior to leakage leading to loss of valuable resources. The impact on the environment can also be a major concern as can the immediate safety of plant personnel. Replacement or remedial works often means unscheduled downtime, additional costs and reduced asset efficiency.

Despite its widely recognised importance to reduce the conditions for crevice and galvanic corrosion, the selection of gasket materials has been historically overlooked in the market until recently. The need for new material combinations has opened up new market opportunities for gasket manufacturers. Although traditional materials such as Graphite, Mica and PTFE have characteristics that can be very useful to flange applications, they do not have the qualities to offer optimum performance in the area of corrosion.

This presentation considers the anti-corrosion characteristics of spiral wound gasket materials traditionally used in seawater and hydrocarbon service and compares them to a new corrosion mitigating gasket material. The presentation will include details of application opportunities and case examples from use in both upstream and downstream oil and gas operations.