Although more specific oil & gas engineering materials exist, steel finds regular use in the oil, gas and petrochemical market.
If we judge steel at face value, its suitability for oil and gas applications would be considered suspicious. Steel rusts easily in atmospheric and marine environments and certain grades can become brittle under elevated temperatures.
But steel possesses high tensile and yield strength, is readily available and easy to machine and form. With subsequent treatment, steel becomes a cost-effective and highly proficient engineering raw material for producing structures and components in the oil & gas sector. The durability and relative availability of products at competitive prices make it highly attractive when compared to more expensive alternatives.
As with selecting all engineering materials for specific tasks, suitability must be established, and steel is less suitable for particular applications such as pressure vessels and heat exchangers, where stainless steel and aluminium find favour.
Steel does not offer great corrosion resistance and is susceptible to corrosion in oxidating environments. However, the competitive price of steel cannot be ignored.
Steel treated with corrosion-resistant inhibitors is more than capable compared to more expensive corrosion-resistance alloys such as stainless steel and nickel products.
Applications for carbon steels in the oil & gas sector include pipelines, flanges and structures. Like all engineering materials, suitability is determined by the material's composition and performance characteristics.
The material strength of steel combined with such a variety of low-cost products makes it a viable alternative in many applications.
Steel is relatively cheap and available in many grades, making it a viable and cost-effective alternative in specific oil & gas applications.
Engineering steel finds use in the oil & gas market in applications including structures and components which require high strength
While steel is susceptible to corrosion resistance, surface treatment makes the material more resilient to corrosive attack.