VOL. 11 September ISSUE YEAR 2010


in Vol. 11 - September Issue - Year 2010
MFN partners with NACE International to Reduce the Impact of Corrosion
Chris Fowler, NACE International President and Director of Corrosion at Exova

Chris Fowler, NACE International President and Director of Corrosion at Exova

Interview with Chris Fowler, NACE International President and Director of Corrosion at Exova. Recently, MFN and NACE International developed a partnership to address the impact of corrosion.

(?) MFN: Dr. Fowler, please tell us about NACE International.

(!) C. F.: NACE International is the professional technical society dedicated to the prevention and mitigation of corrosion. The society was founded in 1943 in Houston, Texas by several members of the oil and gas pipeline industry. We are a membership-based association and currently have over 23,000 members with over 100 countries represented. NACE International is the world’s largest corrosion society and leading producer of corrosion-related standards. We have also developed the most comprehensive corrosion prevention and mitigation training and certification program, from materials selection to coatings inspection. Our Coating Inspector Program is the most widely referenced and recognized corrosion mitigation training program in the world.

(?) MFN: That is amazing. How big is the corrosion problem?

(!) C. F.: That is a great question. There have been a number of studies around the world in the last 10 years that have been looking for the answer. In a recent study in the United States by the U.S. Department of Defense, it was found that corrosion costs the military over $21 billion annually and has a major impact on troop readiness and safety. The World Corrosion Organization estimates that the annual cost of corrosion is $2.2 trillion worldwide (3 to 4% of the GDP of industrialized countries). Corrosion has a huge impact on our critical infrastructure – bridges, water and wastewater systems, oil and gas systems (pipelines and storage tanks), energy distribution and generation, transportation, etc. We know that about a third of the cost can be saved today with current technologies. This is a challenge that we have to address. 

(?) MFN: What industries are most affected by this threat? And what can be done to address the impact of corrosion?

(!) C. F.: One of the industries most impacted by corrosion is water and wastewater. For example, we know that of the $276 billion annual cost of corrosion in the United States, over $36 billion is attributed to the water and wastewater infrastructure. Up to a third of the water in the world does not get from point A to point B. We are losing a vital resource. However, the thought process is that it is just water, but the reprocessing and distribution has a high cost and uses a large amount of energy. 

We need to begin educating decision makers and financiers about corrosion and how it is critical to plan for it at the onset or at least address it early in the life of a structure. Too many times companies and government leaders defer action on asset preservation or corrosion management and when they come back to it, the structure is at a critical stage. Developing sound corrosion management plans will ensure that we are able to reach the desired life for an asset.

It is important for trained and qualified personnel to develop and execute a corrosion management program. NACE provides a wide range of training and certification opportunities and many corrosion-related resources.

Another thing to consider is the use of industry standards to guide the construction and maintenance of an asset. These documents are vital tools in ensuring that the processes and procedures are followed to reduce the impact of corrosion.

(?) MFN: What is corrosion management?

(!) C. F.: It involves evaluating an asset with regards to its total life and what types of corrosion are likely to occur. We need to consider factors in the design phase that can help control corrosion. Have we considered the environment that the asset will be operating in? What about the product in the asset - how will it change over time and what impact will that have? How does the maintenance program impact the effects of corrosion? Have we developed an adequate coating system to protect the asset? What training is needed to ensure that the work is done well? What are the standards that need to be considered? As we approach the end of the life of the asset, what are considerations then? Or do we need to look at the impact on insurance and regulations? If the asset fails, what is the potential human cost? What is the financial impact – loss of operations, bad press, environmental clean-up, loss of life, new regulations, increased insurance fees, etc.? Corrosion management is taking a holistic look at the asset and the impact that corrosion can have. Corrosion can be prevented and mitigated. It is crucial that we manage it.

MFN would like to thank Chris Fowler for this interview.

For Information:
NACE International
1440 South Creek Drive, Houston, TX, USA
Tel. + or +1.800.797.6223
Fax +
E-mail: firstservice@nace.org