Corrosive Gas Presents More Challenges for Seals
Oil exploration and extraction present some of the most challenging conditions possible for sealing solutions. H2S resistant elastomers are needed, in addition to other material characteristics, in seals under these conditions.
A combination of extreme temperatures, aggressive chemicals and gases, abrasive media, high pressure, and destructive forces all work in concert to subject seals to some of the harshest environments in the world and make these applications some of the most demanding possible.
In addition, the techniques employed to extract these resources are becoming more complex, with operations moving to more remote locations and deeper well depths. This only extends the operating demands on every facet, including the needed seals, even further. And, as is the case with every oil and gas application, there is the constant threat of H2S — or Hydrogen Sulfide.
Today we’ll dive into the specifics of H2S, and uncover some specific elastomers that can provide the needed resistance to this potentially harmful and destructive force in oil exploration and extraction applications.
What is H2S Gas?
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) is known by several other names — sour gas, sewer gas, swamp gas, stink damp, sour damp — that indicate how this colorless gas is often first noticed by humans when they are in proximity to it. The gas is commonly found during the drilling and production of crude oil and natural gas and, while our focus is on this aspect, can also be found in sewers and wastewater treatment, and utility facilities.
The gas is produced as a result of the microbial breakdown of organic materials in an environment marked by the absence of oxygen. Colorless, flammable, poisonous, and corrosive, H2S gas is noticeable by its rotten egg smell. With toxicity similar to that of carbon monoxide (CO) — which prevents cellular respiration — monitoring and early detection of H2S could mean the difference between life and death for those working in the vicinity.
Heavier than air, H2S gas accumulates in low-lying areas of poorly ventilated spaces. In oil and gas applications, H2S in the presence of moisture and air may also lead to the formation of sulfuric acid — which is capable of corroding metal. Facility and application equipment, including the internal surfaces of various components, face reduced durability. The corrosive elements of H2S also impact the strength of components, including seals, which can further the risk of premature failure of essential parts. Such failures could have potentially disastrous consequences not only for the equipment and material used but also for the human element in the vicinity.
This danger — to equipment, people, and the environment in the face of a failure — is why it’s essential to account for the corrosiveness of sour gas, and why it’s important to factor in the need for H2S resistant elastomers as a core component of your sealing solutions in oil and gas applications.
Find the Right H2S Resistant Elastomer
There are many demands on elastomers used in the oil and gas industry. For example, in these applications, you’ll want explosive decompression resistance, and the ability of your sealing materials to operate strongly in high or low (depending on your circumstances) temperature environments.
You’ll also want to prioritize H2S resistant elastomers as well if you anticipate or know that the presence of the gas is a possibility. At Marco Rubber & Plastics, we have decades of experience in matching customized solutions to the challenges presented by demanding applications from our clients. We’ve developed specific formulations that can provide the needed H2S resistance.
Let’s examine a few of the possible solutions.
L1009 TFE/P (Aflas®) — This compound is specifically formulated to be Explosive Decompression (ED) resistant for use in high pressure and pressure cycling applications. TFE/P materials exhibit excellent chemical, heat, and steam resistance, and provide superior performance in water, steam, and virtually all caustics making them ideal for use in applications in the oil and gas exploration and extraction industry. Tested to NACE TN 0297 and resistant to high-pressure CO2 gas, L1009 has a high resistance to H2S gas and excellent resistance to fluids with high H2S concentration (up to 30%).
Z1028 FFKM (Markez®) — This perfluoroelastomer compound is one of our most popular due to its relatively low cost and a broad range of chemical and temperature resistance. With a service temperature range of 5 to 608 degrees Fahrenheit, Z1028 is compatible with steam, amines, and provides superior level resistance to sour gas (up to 64%). With a low compression set and 72% fluorine content, this compound has good dynamic properties as well and enjoys a long service life.
Z1412 FFKM (Markez®) — With strong H2S resistance (up to 30%), this Marco proprietary compound features high-temperature resistance for long-term exposure. Z1412 also provides high pressure and explosive decompression resistance and is tested to both NORSOK M-710 and NACE TN 0297 standards. With exceptional acid and amine resistance, this compound also has a low long-term compression set which means a greater interval between maintenance cycles in hot, chemically aggressive environments.
Rely on Marco Rubber for H2S Resistant Elastomers
With extensive experience and expert-level knowledge from our engineering team, Marco Rubber & Plastics has developed a trove of information for identifying and implementing the right seals needed for your oil and gas applications.
Whether you need high-temperature resistance, explosive decompression resistance, or protection from H2S — or a combination of those characteristics — we’ll help you find and design the ideal sealing solution for your application. With more than 40 years of experience as an industry leader in developing custom sealing solutions for applications worldwide, Marco Rubber believes the right seal is essential to long-term application success. That’s why we seek to understand your application thoroughly.
Marco Rubber & Plastics offers decades of application-specific material expertise backed by the world’s most extensive inventory and production network. Our industry-leading customer satisfaction and audit scores are built on our easy online ordering and inventory programs, adherence to quality standards, and a commitment to customer service and support.
Contact us today to learn more about H2S resistant elastomers and how their performance can lead to ideal sealing solutions.