Metals And Specialty Steels Used In Canada's Oil And Gas Industry

Posted on: 2 November 2015

When it comes to the oil and gas industry, Canada ranks fifth in the world when it comes to producing both crude oil and natural gas. The oil and gas industry is active in 12 out of 13 provinces and territories and contains enough natural gas reserves to meet the country's energy demand for the next 300 years. One of the many components that makes energy production so successful in Canada are the types of metals and specialty steels that are used in the oil and gas industry.

The Need for Steel to be Different for the Oil and Gas Industry

Since fluids used for drilling often contain acids that eat through tubing, it is imperative that the tubing is made out of a type of metal that acid cannot eat through. In the oil processing plants, the type of steel used needs to withstand high temperatures. The steel also has to hold up in the presence of calcium chloride (a crystalline salt used to help fluids gain consistency and remove haze from petroleum products.) The problem with calcium chloride is that it can cause cracking in certain materials.

For these reasons, the type of steel and metals used in Canada's oil and gas industry needs to be specialized. Steel used in the oil and gas industry, including stainless steel and nickel alloys, have been adapted for use and contain the following unique characteristics:

  • Remarkable resistance to corrosion
  • Added strength and durability
  • Resistant to extremely hot temperatures

For example, when stainless steel sheets are used to make products for the oil and gas industry, they get mixed with nickel or chromium as a way to make the products stronger and corrosive-resistant.

Other Types of Metals Used in the Oil and Gas Industry

Along with adapted forms of steel, other types of metal commonly used in the oil and gas industry include:

  • High-strength titanium - known for its versatility, this metal also increases strength and density when added to steel alloy. It is also corrosion resistant.
  • Molybdenum - used as a catalyst to remove sulfur during the oil refinery process.
  • Copper - used in processing plants to help absorb mercury and also for its electrical and thermal conductivity properties. It is also resistant to the cold.

Products Made From Metals and Specialty Steel

Besides being used in pipes, valves, casing and tubing, other products made for the oil gas industry include storage tanks, manifolds, and heat exchangers.