CoatingsPro Magazine

MAY 2015

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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90 MAY 2015 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Industry Insight W ith continued regula- tory delays of pipeline projects and existing pipelines at maximum capacity across the United States, producers are looking anywhere and everywhere for a solution. Enter North America's 122" (309.9 cm) pipeline, so called because of the standard diameter of the Department of Transportation (DOT)-111 tank car. It's a transporta- tion system with access to every major refning market, it supports large volumes, and it has a 40-year track record of success. Te system that had been overlooked for decades because of cost is now in the spotlight because of available capacity and its fexibility in delivering to multiple refning markets. Figures indicate crude oil delivered by rail expanded by a factor of 40 in only fve years, with more growth likely. Te difculty is that crude oil is being shipped just like it always has been: with no internal corrosion protection. Tere are exceptions to this, especially as shippers and operators begin to better understand the chemistry of their cargoes; however, the important consideration here is that the changes in crude by rail are not just limited by the volumes being shipped but by changes in crude chemistries that dictate an adjustment to the cars themselves. Once we grasp that, we can begin looking at what's causing this corrosion and how we can reduce or eliminate it. Lining Solutions Oil producers and pipeline operators have been successfully minimizing corrosion on uncoated steel for decades with the use of treating chemicals, such as biocides and corrosion inhibitors. So why don't we just use these same chemi- cal treatments in unlined rail cars? Primarily because treating chemicals can't penetrate the heav y sludge layer that forms at the bottom of rail cars. Treating chemicals are broken down into two groups: carried by oil or by water. A common saying among chemical companies is, "If the chemical can't touch it, you can't treat it" — meaning your chemical must be soluble in the stored liquid form and it must contact the steel. Treating chemicals are simply inefective at contacting steel under sediment or sludge layers. Tat's where coatings come into play — and epoxy linings more specifcally. A key factor in the use of epoxy lining systems is that they work in static and fowing fuids, and because they are applied before the frst load of oil, they act as a barrier to prevent the bacteria- and water-rich sediment layers from ever reaching the steel — no matter how much sediment builds up. If epoxy lining systems are the answer, then what's the hold up? Tere is an uncertainty in impend- ing regulation causing hesitation. If I apply a liner to all of my railcars and then I need to retroft them after new legislation passes, will the money I spent on a lining be wasted? No. By protect- ing against corrosion today, there is a greater certainty that the car will be in superb condition if and when any retro- fts are required. Tis is especially true with epoxy linings because they can be easily repaired after retroft instead of having to be removed and reapplied. Currently the rail industry is cautious about making any decisions prior to having a clear direction on what regulation changes might come. An important consideration is that regulatory bodies typically don't make sweeping changes overnight. Policies are phased in over months and years. Tis allows shippers, operators, and rail manufacturing/repair facilities time to implement changes without shutting down domestic oil and gas shipments, and therefore production, a major economic engine in the United States. By making the decision to protect these assets now, operators and shippers will be extending the life and proftability of the asset while easing the amount of future capital required for retroft. Be Proactive If a "wait and see" approach is adopted by the rail industry and we don't proac- tively address known problem areas with proven solutions, we can rest assured that government regulators will. By putting of lining a rail car today, there may not be a rail car to retroft tomorrow, or, worse, we may see environmental damage from hydro- carbon releases caused by rampant corrosion. It's up to us to determine whether we should or shouldn't line our railcars. CP By James McDonald, Engineering Sales Manager for Hempel (USA) Inc. To Line or Not To Line Railcars

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