Regulatory and operational aspects for the cathodic protection
The quality of the cathodic protection service is determined differently depending on the country or according to internal company specifications.
However, any underground metal structure must comply with international standards that require the use of the electric potential between the metal structure and the ground as a criterion for defining its protection, i.e., the engineering acceptability of the corrosion rate.
As a result, cathodic protection is implemented in almost all underground structures, especially those in which are piped potentially dangerous or expensive fluids, such as oil and natural gas.
To provide its customers with continuous regulatory updates, Pietro Fiorentini attends both the national UNI and international EN and ISO technical working tables and the APCE’s Technical and Training Committees.
According to current international regulations, the measurement methods are identified according to the acquisition technique: EON in the case of measurements for switched-on systems, used to generally assess the electrical parameters of the cathodic protection, EOFF in the case of the technique for switched-off systems, which can also be obtained with the new, latest-generation acquisition units featuring an integrated cyclic switch in combination with electrodes with anodes that simulate the electro-chemical characteristics and behaviour of the bare pipe.
In Italy, the sector is regulated by APCE, the Association for Protection from Electrolytic Corrosion recognized by ARERA, the independent administrative authority that regulates energy, grids and the environment, as the competent technical body for the definition of guidelines in the field of cathodic protection for metal pipelines used for distribution, transport and flow lines connecting natural gas storage plants. The quality of service is assessed using the KT algorithm, which assigns a score to each electrical system: annual compliance is only achieved if it is greater than or equal to 60 points out of a maximum of 100.