Abstract The corrosiveness and stability of the oil–brine mixtures with different water cuts were systematically studied. It was found that corrosion can be effectively inhibited in a large extent of water cuts, if only the water phase can be completely entrained in the oil phase, forming water-in-oil emulsions for a period of time. By enhancing emulsification in oil–brine mixtures, the water cut forming water-in-oil emulsions could be as high as 70%. Coalescence and falling of water droplets in such emulsions may induce corrosion at the bottom of pipelines. An idea on the control of the bottom of line corrosion was proposed.