Consider sour service environments

Metal tubing is vital for all kinds of industrial activities, including onshore and offshore. However, the tubes can encounter damaging conditions in these settings. One of the worst is sour service environments. If businesses are not careful, they can have huge issues. As the top ERW steel tube supplier in the West Midlands, we want to have a closer look at the dangers and how to avoid them.

A challenging setting

Service environments are typically either sweet or sour. This depends on the presence of different elements.

Sweet environments tend to have a high level of oxygen (O2). It can cause a number of problems, particularly the rapid corrosion of carbon steel.

Sour environments are even more hazardous for tubing. Here there is a high level of hydrogen sulphide (H2S). It can cause metals to become brittle and then crack. Carbon steel in particular is vulnerable to it.

The dangers

ERW steel tube supplier West MidlandsWhether it is a sweet or sour service environment, there are lots of risks. Let’s look at the main ones, then you can speak to us if you need the best ERW steel tube supplier in the West Midlands.

Firstly, the corrosion or embrittlement and cracking can lead to leaks. This can be very dangerous to people and the environment, especially when it is harmful resources. There are also economic repercussions due to lost resources and any clean up costs.

An even bigger risk is equipment failure. In the worst cases a tube could fail instantly because of the degradation. If it does, there is a much greater risk to people and the environment. The economic impact is higher too, potentially putting entire operations offline for a long time.

What to do about sour service environments?

The crucial thing you need to do here is think holistically. Factor in all of the elements that are at play, including the setting and conditions, material choice, design, installation, and maintenance. We can help clients with this, sharing our broad knowledge as the leading ERW steel tube supplier in the West Midlands.

Two things in particular will help you to ensure tubes will perform better in sour environments.

Most importantly, be careful when you choose what material to use. Ensure it will be able to cope with the service environment. Make sure you note the actual level of H2S; some environments are only mildly sour whereas others are severely sour. The key thing is to check the standards. They have been developed over decades to make it easier for people to select materials.

Secondly, ensure you look at weld quality. There is a higher risk of cracking when there are imperfections in the welding. Operators would be wise to have strict acceptance criteria for welds. It can help to reduce the risk of issues. Make sure the criteria factors in the specific site conditions. Being conservative is a good idea, but can increase costs.

Do you want to order from an ERW steel tube supplier in the West Midlands?

Union Steel Tubes appreciates that tubing has many applications in sweet and sour service environments. We do our best to ensure we can give clients reliable products to cope with them. They can be high quality, particularly in the welds.

So, if you want to order products or need some advice, please contact us.