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Millions of dollars are spent annually to maintain hydrocarbon pipelines free from any operational breakdowns. In most cases of such breakdowns, the cause is internal corrosion (Figure 1).

Risk identification and assessment are essential for effective pipeline safety and integrity management. Using risk and/or likelihood of failure evaluation, pipelines are prioritized for physical assessment and for implementation of preventive and mitigative measures. From a facility operations perspective, risk quantification can provide important information for effectively allocating limited resources.

Cathodic protection has come a long way from its manual beginnings. Operators in industrial markets are seeking the most effective and efficient ways to protect assets and infrastructure from corrosion. Many are finding that automated solutions can provide the reliable, real-time monitoring they seek. New technologies and options are continually being introduced to the marketplace.

Two House committees passed a jumbo infrastructure bill in February and a third was likely to follow suit, meaning the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act will probably pass the House quickly. How quickly the Senate will follow suit is unclear.

“At a time when national economic and employment indictors are uncertain at best, shale gas producers and their vast and dynamic supply chain are providing families and communities jobs and economic development. The Marcellus Shale is a case study in the transformative impact of the natural gas industry.”
--Kathryn Klaber, President, Marcellus Shale Coalition

Before 2010 no one would use the word “transformative” to characterize the natural gas industry. And in the wake of the 2008 global financial meltdown, no one would have viewed natural gas as the fuel for national economic recovery. Nevertheless, in this presidential election year, both jobs and the gas industry should be on everyone’s radar.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released a report showing drastically lower estimates of natural gas resources in the U.S. The agency estimated there are 482 Tcf of shale gas in the U.S., a decrease of more than 40%. The report also estimated the Marcellus region of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia contained only 141 Tcf of gas. This is a decrease of 66% from earlier estimates of 410 Tcf.

Executives at U.S. middle market energy companies are bullish on their outlook for 2012. This optimism among executives is fueling growth, as 85% expect to seek financing this year, according to Mike Lorusso, Group Head of CIT Energy (cit.com/energy). These are some of the findings detailed in CIT’s latest research study, “2012 U.S. Energy Sector Outlook” (www.cit.com/energyoutlook).

Life is so filled with ironies, isn’t it?

Every major election year it seems that gasoline prices skyrocket and every politician has the solution. Of course they make little sense since they prefer to pander instead of considering that oil is a commodity and is treated as such by the marketplace. Anything that may affect supply moves the marketplace. That’s how it is in a free market economy.

NACE International—The Corrosion Society --holds its annual conference each spring, attracting 6,000 attendees and 350 exhibiting companies from around the worldwho represent every industry and technology for corrosion control. The five-day conference features an extensive technical program, meetings, lectures, forums, courses, networking activities, special events, and the largest corrosion exposition in the world.

Today, the use of a durable external coating system in combination with cathodic protection is well-accepted as the most effective means of corrosion prevention for oil and gas pipelines.

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