Chemical Industry Pain Points and Contacts
Corrosion under insulation (CUI), sulfidation corrosion, high-temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA), chloride stress corrosion cracking, and internal and external corrosion of pipeline and equipment are some types of materials-based or corrosion-related challenges that chemical processing engineers/maintenance personnel at major chemical/petrochemical companies like Ineos, Sinopec, Braskem, Borealis, Westlake, Tesoro, Valero, Husky Energy, and Olin are either currently encountering or have encountered earlier. The requested information regarding the pain points or opportunities and contact details for 20 companies has been populated in the attached spreadsheet. The 20 companies covered in this report are Ineos Group Limited, Sinopec, Braskem, Evonik Industries AG, Borealis AG, LG Chem Limited, Sasol Limited, Westlake Chemical, Honeywell, Orica Limited, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Tesoro Corporation, Valero Energy Corporation, Husky Energy, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Olin Corporation, Alpek S.A.B. de C.V., Sipchem, Kemira Oyj, and The Mosaic Company. An overview of the chemical processing industry and selected findings from the spreadsheet are presented below.
Overview of the Chemical Processing Industry
- "The chemical processing industry is an industry where raw (bulk) materials undergo chemical conversion during their processing into finished products, or into products that are of value to other industries."
- The chemical processing industry typically includes manufacturing or production facilities whose products are obtained from chemical reactions between inorganic or organic compounds, or both; separation/purification/extraction with or without the involvement of chemical reactions; or the preparation of natural or synthetic mixtures.
- The products handled in the chemical processing industry include "agrochemicals, petrochemicals, oleochemicals, ceramics, polymers, rubber, fragrances, flavors and explosives."
Selected Findings From the Spreadsheet
Ineos Group Limited
- Since the material handling environment inside the chemical processing industry is very corrosive, Ineos engineers have developed the Derakane fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) epoxy vinyl ester resins for piping and vessels that are capable of transporting and handling corrosive chemicals. Ineos' corrosion engineers have to identify the locations of chemical process industry corrosion within the plant depending on the application and then suggest the correct FRP resin for the construction of the corrosion barrier.
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec)
- Maintenance engineers working at Sinopec's "oil-extraction facility in the Jianghan Oilfield" in Hubei province in China have faced corrosion under insulation (CUI) issues. They managed to solve the corrosion problem by removing the insulation, sandblasting the corroded metal surface, and applying an EonCoat CBPC coating.
- Inspection and maintenance engineers involved in the processing of chemical products at Braskem's "petrochemical refinery near the town of Duque de Caxias" in Brazil have faced stress corrosion cracking issues in the tubing. The Braskem petrochemical site has three different plants that process propane and ethane gases to produce polyethylene and polypropylene. On closer inspection, it was noticed that small quantities of the catalyst being produced in the screw-threaded tubing arrangement were reacting with the chlorine in the thread in the presence of water and causing stress corrosion cracking.
We started our research by trying to find the materials-based or corrosion-related challenges that chemical processing engineers/maintenance personnel at each of the listed chemical/petrochemical companies are either currently encountering or have encountered earlier. To uncover such challenges, we searched the websites of these companies, including the news/press articles webpages, for any mention of current or past challenges, with priority given to current challenges. We also searched external blogs, articles written by industry experts, press articles by third-party media outlets, social media platforms of these companies, and industry magazines and newsletters like 'Chemical Processing,' 'Hydrocarbon Processing,' 'Oil & Gas Journal,' and 'Pipeline Oil & Gas News,' among others. After an exhaustive search, we were able to find the corrosion challenges faced by nine companies: Ineos, Sinopec, Braskem, Borealis, Westlake, Tesoro, Valero, Husky Energy, and Olin. However, a majority of these companies have encountered such challenges earlier as evidenced from case studies of incidents or explosions due to corrosion or corrosion-related problems. We have only considered case studies/incidents from the past decade (2010-2021) for this portion. Only a few companies like Sinopec are currently facing corrosion problems. Since our research is based on publicly available information, it may also be possible that some of these companies are still facing corrosion challenges but have chosen not to make the matter public.
For the companies for which we were unable to find any corrosion-related issues either currently or in the past, we provided at least one potential opportunity/growth strategy that the company is exploring in the chemical processing space. After an exhaustive search, this information was sourced from press articles, press releases, and industry journals/magazines.
It may be prudent to note that since all these companies are giants in the field of chemical and/or petrochemical business, the chemical processing space is a tiny part of their overall business and is tied to the manufacturing/production business. This is because the processing of chemicals can only happen after the actual manufacturing/production process. Chemical processing is thus related to the manufacturing/production process and cannot stand on its own. Since information regarding chemical processing is limited, we have expanded the field of chemical processing to include petrochemical refineries and mineral processing units.
For finding the contact details of five working professionals in each company, we searched for the respective titles (one for each of the five groups: engineer, manager, director, senior, and vice president) on LinkedIn. After we obtained the LinkedIn profiles of these professionals, we used professional email and contact finding tools like SignalHire and UpLead to find the email addresses and phone numbers. Wherever the personal phone/mobile numbers of the professionals were not found, we have provided the contact number of the global HQ. For a few email addresses that could not be found on SignalHire or UpLead, we used the email finder feature of 'Hunter.io.'
It should be noted here that some companies do not have the exact required job titles/positions on their payrolls. Hence, for such posts, we used synonyms of these job titles. For example, we substituted the word 'principal' with 'lead' and found the posts of Lead Engineer or Facilities Engineering Lead instead of Principal Engineer or Engineering Principal. In some companies, the position of 'Vice President Sales and Marketing' corresponds to the position of 'Vice President Commercial Development' or 'Vice President Commercial.' In such cases, we used the title that is available on LinkedIn. For posts that are not available on LinkedIn, we used the next available post but having the same level of position and seniority. For example, instead of the post of 'Vice President Marketing' (for LG Chem), we used the post of 'Vice President.'
Instead of the required 18 companies, we have provided the requested information for 20 companies in the spreadsheet. The only three companies for which the requested information could not be provided are The 3M Company, Formosa Plastics Corporation, and Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company.