Facilities and Refineries

This is a brief summary of the industry and other information for new contractors

Why surface preparation is important for facilities maintenance

Facility Contractors face daily challenges hitting their task list... Common area's in a gas, fuel or processing refinery to blast is the pipework and pipe racks, this is where you find corrosion under insulation (CUI).  The combination of high temperatures, humidity and chemicals cause these areas to experience severe corrosion conditions and become an extremely highly corrosive environment.

Coating Systems for Corrosion under Insulation (CUI) applications are typically very expensive, meaning that only best practise will achieve the absolute ideal surface preparation, which is critical for long term coating life.  This is because you cannot see under the insulation to inspect for corrosion and if there is premature coating failure or excessive corrosion, the failure can be catastrophic. A catastrophic failure can shut a refinery down, cost multi-millions of dollars in damage, loss of profits and can be very harmful to workers in the plant.

What Abrasives are used in a Refinery?

Typically it is up to the facility owner to specify what abrasive is going to be used.  Sometimes they are very fussy about people picking up the spent abrasive and that’s another reason that they like the contractors to use pink garnet. 

To ensure higher quality surface preparation, Facilities and Refineries all over the world are specifying GMA Garnet as their abrasive of choice.

Read more about GMA Garnet 


We typically use high temperature coatings with aluminum additive for hot areas. Typically they use an epoxy zinc primer with a epoxy mastic top coat.  During construction and major refurb projects at the refinery you’d have fire proofing projects which is typically applied to the supports and structure and not to the pipework

Typical dry film thickness (DFT) for the epoxy is between 10-20 mils.


Most facility and refinery projects are time and materials.  This means that someone who is trying to break into this industry needs to be very organized to try and impress the client. Typically on one of these projects you would only have about 4-5 hours maximum to actually to do work.  The rest of the time would be in meetings, waiting for permits, clearance and safety discussions. 

BlastOne Advice: You need to have a very good site foreman, good workers and a good HR team to get the documentation correct, so that when you do have the day’s clearances you can start immediately and get some work done.

Other Considerations for the Contractor

Worker Safety

The main one is other workers working in the same area, this means that you need to use containment sheeting or a shade cloth around where you are blasting.  This protects other workers from getting showered with abrasive.

In flammable areas you need to make sure you keep your solvent safe, make sure it doesn’t flash off and cause an explosion.  Typically clothes and disposable overalls need to be fire retardant (FR Rated).


Industry Standards

Often there are some regulations around the connection of hoses and testing of blast hoses. Often we find that the contractors are certified QP1 or QP2 contractors. There are newer certifications from SSPC which certify the company and the workers onsite, we always recommend that facilities use qualified contractors to do work, they are far more efficient.


Site Access Contraints

Often you need lower height equipment so you can get the equipment underneath pipe racks.  Need to ensure you tie off all your blast hoses so that when you’re blasting they don’t drag around or damage anything on the pipe racks, they need to be properly supported throughout.

Want more information?

Get in contact with a BlastOne consultant to review how to improve your profits and enhance your project performance.