The U.S. refineries represent approximately 23 percent of the world’s petroleum production, and the United States has the largest refining capacity in the world, with 163 refineries. In 1996, U.S. refineries supplied over 18 million barrels per day of refined petroleum products. The total annual direct cost of corrosion is estimated at $3.7 billion. Of this total, maintenance-related expenses are estimated at $1.8 billion, vessel turnaround expenses at $1.4 billion, and fouling costs are approximately $0.5 billion annually.
Petroleum refining is an industry, which is undergoing intense amounts of scrutiny in the United States from regulatory agencies and environmental groups. As a result, releases of pollutants caused by corrosion leaks are becoming a high consequence event. The Clean Air Act of 1990 has forced refiners to implement a number of costly measures to reduce their impact on the environment, both with the types of products they produce and the manner in which they operate their refineries.