Microbial Induced Corrosion (MIC) in Shale Development

Microbial Induced Corrosion (MIC) in Shale Development

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Microbial Induced Corrosion (MIC) in Shale Development

Every year corrosion costs E&P companies hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs, equipment replacement, and unplanned critical equipment downtime. For the oil and gas sector, microbial induced corrosion (MIC) can be particularly challenging because it can affect a wide range of operations from upstream downhole production equipment and facilities to mid-stream transmission pipelines. Microbial Induced Corrosion in shale development is a highly challenging type of corrosion due to the complexity of the biological, chemical, and operational parameters involved as well as the type of corrosion that microorganisms cause. But there are ways to maximize the life of your assets while minimizing unexpected costly events.

Microbial Induced Corrosion

The corrosion of metals related to the presence or activities, or both, of microorganisms is known as microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). Damage caused by corrosion adds both direct costs and can also result in expensive downtime and more HSE incidents. An average of $7 billion is spent annually to monitor, replace, and maintain pipelines, and of that total 80% are corrosion-related costs.

It is estimated that Microbial Induced Corrosion accounts for early 40% of internal and 20% of external corrosion in pipelines and facilities. When it comes to shale fields, Microbial Induced Corrosion (MIC) and CO2 corrosion are the two common types of corrosion of downhole equipment and tubulars. To keep costs down it’s essential to prevent, identify, and remedy corrosion related issues through comprehensive corrosion management.

The Threat to Shale Development

The fast growth of oil and gas production, alongside the relative abundance of unconventional resources, has propelled technological advances that have allowed expansive production in unconventional fields. These shale fields have been particularly challenged with microbial influenced corrosion attacks due to hydraulic fracturing.

This high-pressure injection of water-based fluids, used to force open fractures in the rock, also introduces microbes that can promote MIC when they encounter a favorable condition. Bacteria, archaea, and fungi are all microorganisms that that can cause MIC, however, sulphate reducing bacteria and acid producing bacteria are the main cause of microbial influenced corrosion, resulting in increased pitting corrosion, crevice corrosion, pinhole leaks, and stress corrosion cracking. Beyond corrosion, microbial colonization of fractured shale may lead to sour gas production, as well as other health and safety issues. MIC control can be challenging under certain conditions (i.g. in the presence of solid deposits and low flow rates) and in certain upstream assets such as rod pumps, separation vessels, and tanks. In these cases, a combination of different solutions is required to mitigate MIC including chemical, mechanical and materials. 

Corrosion management and mitigation in shale development is becoming increasingly important as there are growing demands to extend the lifetimes of assets while enhancing production processes. At Inteleum we provide corrosion management solutions, helping companies to meet and exceed their production, operational and financial goals. Let us help you reduce the number of events associated with corrosion through the implementation of a sustainable and cost-effective corrosion management program.

Key Takeaways

  • Microbial Induced Corrosion in shale development is a highly challenging type of corrosion.
  • Microbial Induced Corrosion is a significant threat to the industry.
  • Corrosion management and mitigation in shale development is becoming increasingly important.
  • At Inteleum we provide corrosion management solutions, helping companies to meet and exceed their production, operational and financial goals.