Electroless nickel plating has been a popular coating choice in the oil and gas industry for a number of years. It is used in a wide variety of applications within the industry mainly due to its uniform, thick deposit and superior corrosion resistance.
Many base materials that are typically used in the oil and gas industry are greatly enhanced by the application of electroless nickel, resulting in lower fabrication costs and extended service life. Shutdowns and delays in the oil and gas industry are very common because of the need to replace components, but as electroless nickel substantial extends the life of parts and components, a huge amount of money can be saved.
Electroless Nickel on Valves, Flow Control Devices and Ball Plugs
Electroless nickel coatings are often used on valves and flow control devices due to their uniform thickness, wear resistance and corrosion resistance. These parts are critical components in the operation of a well where good performance and long life are major economic factors. The coating also provides an excellent surface condition for ball plugs and improves the sealing at the seat areas. It’s now very common for mild steel ball valves to be coated with a layer of electroless nickel.
Applications of Electroless Nickel
There are lots of areas within the oil and gas industry where the application of electroless nickel has been successful. For example, in crude oil production at a plant in the Middle East where the gas contains 55% hydrogen sulphide and is processed at 80C, mild steel ball valves had a maximum life of three months, with failure occurring as a result of corrosion, surface cracking and erosion. However, by electroless nickel plating the valve components, their lives were extended and no surface deterioration was evident after two years of continuous service.
Similar benefits have been noted on ball valves at plants using the sea water injection system, which involves pumping sea water under high pressure in order to force the oil to the surface. At the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia, 75 microns of electroless nickel on the valves had satisfactorily withstood the operating conditions to such an extent that no degradation of the coating was detectable after four years of operation.
Electroless Nickel Plating for Oil and Gas Applications
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