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Pipeline protection: confirming process chemical efficacy

Oil & gas pipelines use chemicals to protect the integrity of the pipeline. These include corrosion inhibitors (to prevent corrosion), and biocides (to prevent microbially induced corrosion).

The effectiveness of these chemicals is crucial, but they are not a one-size-fits-all solution; the chemicals used must match the specific conditions of the pipeline.

Testing regimes

In order to achieve this match, companies typically employ both pre-qualification tests, and then periodical assessments.

Pre-qualification tests serve as the initial screening process for selecting suitable products for pipeline protection. 

Periodical assessments then check ongoing efficacy, especially as oilfields are dynamic environments, where conditions may change through the lifetime of the installation. However, these may not be carried out consistently, or throughout system, which may pose a risk to pipeline integrity.

Ongoing assessment management

One way of managing ongoing assessments is through regular visits by chemical vendors, who will check the efficacy of the biocides and corrosion inhibitors that they have supplied. They may also offer guidance on suggested adjustments or interventions.

However, the effectiveness of this approach may vary depending on several factors:

  • Frequency of visits

  • Thoroughness of visits

  • Budget constraints

  • Logistical issues

  • Company culture


To improve results, the following may be considered:

  • Controlling frequency of visits

  • Defined scope of testing

  • Automated monitoring systems with real-time data

  • Defined intervention strategies, based on data received


While biocide and corrosion inhibitor efficacy pose significant challenges in pipeline protection, companies are actively addressing them through a combination of pre-qualification tests, periodical assessments, and vendor guidance.

Products like the OMMICA THPS test kit contribute to improving pipeline protection strategies, by giving accurate and prompt assessment of the level of biocide reaching all parts of the system.

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