Oil & Gas
Location: Kern County, CA
In the hot and acidic liquid environment of oil production, tank linings can fail rapidly and cause leaks within months. The cost of tank repair or replacement, unplanned downtime, and the risk of environmental damage initiated the demand for a better solution.
Oil production companies frequently have tank corrosion issues due to the hot water produced during the oil extraction process. Steam and chemicals are shot down wells to loosen the thick crude oil, and then the hot acidic mixture is extracted from the ground. Before being re-used, the produced water is separated from the oil and cleaned in an extensive water filtration process.
After repeated premature tank failures, despite cutting edge surface preparation technology and a novolac epoxy with a proven track record in high temperature environments, Goodwest Linings and Coatings was asked by Aera Energy in Kern County, CA, to design a solution that would extend the longevity of their Weak Acid Cation filtration vessels.
The hydrochloric acid in the vessels was used at 190° F to 210° F; the company determined that a lifespan of five years or more was acceptable. The first relined tanks with this program have been intact since 2003 without repairs and are still going strong! Goodwest has utilized the same solution for more than 20 tanks in the area over the years. The winning solution was a rock-hard graphite-reinforced natural rubber lining called the Blair VE925BNG. The key advantages of the lining material in this application are:
- High temperature resistance.
- Trace amounts of hydrocarbons in the vessels cause most rubber linings to swell and become more permeable. The tightly cross-linked molecules of this rock-hard lining take much longer to break down in the presence of hydrocarbons.
- Natural rubber linings resist hydrochloric acid better than most other rubber linings.
- Thermal insulation. The .250” thickness reduces the temperature differential between the hot tank interior and cold tank exterior, which reduces the tendency of the hot liquid to permeate the lining (see “Is Your Tank in Hot Water?”).
Aera Energy has experienced huge cost savings from the lack of interruption in the production process. This innovative solution has subsequently been implemented for other oil production companies throughout California.
Ryan Sears, president of Goodwest, stated, “Working on complex problems with our customers is what we do best; and reducing the amount of unplanned downtime for some production operations can save millions of dollars.“