Meeting the Challenges of FPSO Corrosion Protection


By Simon Daly, Hempel A/S

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that corrosion protection of floating production systems, such as floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units and other deep-water assets is a serious business. With these assets usually designed to remain on station for their entire lifetimes, corrosion issues which ultimately lead to loss of structural integrity or containment require timely detection and often costly intervention.

However, the complex construction processes used in the production of these facilities means that in many cases, simply selecting a coating system based on the best long-term performance is not the only factor that must be considered. Ease of use, maximizing coating productivity by careful formulation and simplifying scheme selection to avoid errors and time-consuming rework are also key factors in the delivery of a successful project.

Leading coatings manufacturer Hempel A/S views technical support to these floating projects as the key to many projects’ success and draws upon more than 100 years of experience working in the marine and protective sectors. The company’s technical support personnel work closely with customers, both pre- and post-sale. This collaboration ensures that customers are not only provided with the most suitable and technologically advanced coatings, appropriate to their projects, but also that these coatings are successfully installed with assistance from experienced technical service staff operating in major offshore construction locations worldwide.

FPSO Oil Rig  istock.com / HeliRy

A solid Foundation to build on

In modern projects operating in harsh offshore environments, steel protection from highly corrosive conditions is paramount. Whether applied to the external hull or turret moonpool below the water line or applied to topside structures, equipment and decks, any coating system’s success begins with a strong primer that is also versatile and compatible with a wide range of subsequent coats.

Hempadur Quattro XO 17720 is a versatile non-zinc universal primer which is used extensively for hull and ballast tank protection. With the ability to cure down to -10 degrees Centigrade / 14 degrees Fahrenheit  for handling in even the most extreme fabrication locations, it is also now NORSOK M-501 pre-qualified.

This primer is available in aluminium variants to meet common industry specifications, as well as fiber-reinforced grades to offer greater crack resistance and more tolerance to application over-thickness.

Hempadur Avantguard 750 is part of the award-winning Avantguard range of activated zinc primers. Using novel, activated zinc technology, these products deliver best-in-class resistance to corrosion creep and performance under a wider range of corrosive categories, including CX. Extensively pre-qualified and tested to such standards as NORSOK M-501 and the new ISO 12944-9:2018 (previously ISO 20340) these products offer customers peace of mind and corrosion performance superior to non-zinc alternatives. Additionally they are fast-drying and allow rapid overcoating to speed up the installation process.

For customers who specify a higher level of zinc content, Hempel products meeting zinc level requirements for SSPC SPO20 Level I, II and III as well as ISO 12944 are available. Its latest addition, Avantguard 860, offers sufficient corrosion protection to allow substitution of inorganic zinc silicates.

Corrosion Protection from the Inside Out

While the external part of any floating offshore facility is the part that most people are familiar with, the internal tanks and void spaces represent the largest coated surface area and the biggest correction challenges when things go wrong.

Hempadur Quattro XO 17720. Here, the benefits of a true universal primer come into play. In addition to providing external corrosion protection, this product offers protection against the harsh corrosive environments found in sweater ballast tanks and cargo oil tanks. Approved to IMO MSC.215 for use in sweater ballast tanks and IMO MSC.288 for cargo oil tanks, it is also approved by a wide range of classification societies worldwide. Fast recoating and testing over a wide variety of commonly used industry shop primers also aid in coating productivity and construction flexibility.

Hempadur 15600. When the temperature gets higher, different solutions may be called for. Hempadur 15600 is designed to work at cargo oil tank temperatures at which conventional, universal primers may not provide sufficient protection. It also applies more easily and allows greater resistance to cracking than other high-temperature alternatives, such as epoxy phenolic systems. As you’d expect, it also meets IMO MSC.288 requirements. Hempadur 15600 is suitable for use up to 90 C.


Safety surfaces such as walkways, laydown areas and escape routes are especially important when considering offshore projects. Combining many different needs in a system that is not only hard-wearing but may also be required to deliver outstanding corrosion protection as well as non-slip properties is a challenge for many coating products.

Hempadur Sprayguard 35493 is a two-component epoxy coating that cures to a hard, tough and well-adhering coating. Unlike many other products it can be applied as a single coat to commonly specified thicknesses, including those found in NORSOK M-501 System 4. Its excellent corrosion resistance to both atmospheric and immersed conditions also makes it perfect for boat landing and other splash-zone areas.


Fouling prevention for static facilities

Hempel offers a comprehensive range of fouling-prevention products; however, the company also seeks to highlight to its customers the true challenges of fouling prevention on static facilities. The benefits of using a fouling-prevention scheme depend very much on the individual project; therfore, the Hempel team always seeks to understand customers’ exact needs on a project-by-project basis before recommending a system.

Primarily designed to prevent fouling during prolonged outfitting, as well as to reduce fouling and subsequent cleaning prior to on-station hull inspections, Hempel’s fouling prevention range consists of traditional self-polishing coatings as well as silicone-based systems to aid fouling release.

Globic 9500S is a dedicated newbuild product for supreme, hard-fouling protection of static vessels in dock. Using nano acylate technology in conjunction with a biocide additive, Globic 9500S offers fouling protection for extended periods, such as during FPSO outfitting.

Hempel’s Hempasil and Hempaguard technologies offer excellent fouling prevention, using silicone technologies that prevent fouling organisms from firmly adhering to the hull surface.


Generally, paint specifications can get very complicated at this point. A variety of operating temperature ranges, insulation types and substrate materials can make painting specifications for bulk items, such as piping and valves, difficult to understand.

Versiline CUI 56990 can help to simplify the painting process and to combat CUI. Whether applied to carbon steel or stainless steel, insulated or not, and across a wide range of temperatures, this versatile product can offer excellent temperature and corrosion resistance. Its fast dry-to-handle time also make it the perfect choice for shop-fabricated pipe-spools and other components.


While the demands of long-term performance and ease of use during the construction process might often seem incompatible, modern protective coatings can have a positive impact on the execution of FPSO construction projects and offer asset owners long-term corrosion protection solutions. Novel coating materials can also help to address specific challenges faced by the FPSO market.

*Claims or positions expressed by sponsoring authors do not necessarily reflect the views of TPC, PaintSquare or its editors.


Simon Daly, Hempel A/S

Simon Daly is the group oil and gas market segment manager for HEMPEL A/S. With 28 years of coatings experience in laboratory, technical, sales and marketing positions — mainly servicing the oil and gas industry — he is currently responsible for oil, gas and thermal power strategy. See his bio on LinkedIn.