RP3.4-04: Keyhole coating damage treatment

Executive Summary

Current energy pipelines are good candidates for the mass transportation and storage of future energy fluids. Unfortunately, coating repair costs for buried pipelines are an important barrier for the proactive corrosion protection of these assets. Even though it is well known that coatings can fail in such a way that hinders the effectiveness of CP and allows corrosion to take place (disbonded coatings), operators can only economically repair defects that present measurable metal loss. This problem becomes increasingly important as assets age and coatings systems degrade more extensively, which sets external corrosion as the main reason for downgrading, repurposing or abandoning pipelines.

Most of the direct cost of coating repairs is not associated to the coating repair itself, but to the required digging operation. This project develops streamlined methods for local coating repair and treatment that do not require uncovering the pipe. In particular, the focused will be on the development of corrosion mitigation fluids and a delivery method to inject them near coating defects along the pipe.


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Commencement / End Date December 2019 to July 2024
Outcomes / Impact

Given the mandatory underground installation of gas transmission pipelines and their widespread use in Australia, the benefits of reducing the cost of coating repairs are substantial. The technology expected to be developed in this project would empower pipeline operators to take earlier action in the corrosion prevention of their assets at a lower cost. Lower repair costs would have an add-on effect that would enable earlier and more frequent corrosion preventive actions which would capture coating defects before metal losses become of concern.

Partners Deakin University, APA Group, AusNet Services, Corrosion Control Engineering (CCE).
Research Contact

Douglas Proud

Research & Utilisation Program Coordinator