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A PIPELINE INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY BASED ON

MULTIPHASE FLUID FLOW & CORROSION MODELLING

Per Olav Gartland and Jan Erik Salomonsen


CorrOcean ASA
Teglgaarden, Trondheim, Norway

ABSTRACT
An integrity management strategy has been developed for pipelines carrying gas,
condensate/oil and water. The strategy is based on identification of corrosion related failure
modes, risk assessment, and application of risk reducing methods in terms of corrosion control,
monitoring and inspection. Modeling of multiphase flow, CO2 corrosion and associated
probability distributions along the pipeline play key roles in the risk assessment. Examples of
applications are presented.
Key words:
C-Mn steel, oil and gas production, pipelines, CO2 corrosion model, limit state
design, integrity management.
INTRODUCTION
New pipelines are increasingly being designed to limit state criteria 1. The driving force
in this process is the potential cost savings obtained from reduced wall thickness. The
reduction in wall thickness, however, offer no latitude for deviations beyond the design
corrosion expectations. This increases the requirements to efficient corrosion management.
For old pipelines, based on traditional design methods, the excess wall thickness may offer
some additional safety within the design lifetime. The advances within the oil and gas
technology often favour continued production beyond the design lifetime, and extension of the
pipeline life may become relevant. Again, efficient corrosion management may become an
important issue.
In order to meet these challenges a strategy for pipeline integrity management is
proposed. The strategy is based on the development of an efficient tool for establishing a
pipeline corrosion model. This model then forms the basis for evaluations related to the need
for corrosion control, monitoring and inspection. An essential tool in these evaluations is risk
analysis. The present paper describes the ideas and the methods applied to develop the
pipeline integrity management strategy based on internal corrosion as the dominant failure
mode. Examples of applications are presented.

THE PIPELINE CORROSION MODEL


The approach for establishing a corrosion model for the entire pipeline is illustrated
schematically in figure 1. The model consists of multiphase flow module, a water property
module, a pH module and a point corrosion model.
Multiphase flow
Estimation of flow characteristics in three phase flow (gas, oil and water) is
today routinely simulated by the use of computer based simulation programs like OLGA 2. The
output from such calculations contains information of great value for corrosion evaluations
such as the total pressure profile, the temperature profile, the condensation rates of water and
hydrocarbons, the flow regime, and the velocity and holdup of each of the phases. The flow
regime and the phase velocities may change considerably with the pipeline inclination angle
and it is therefore very important to have a geometric model of the pipeline reflecting the true
variation of the pipeline inclination angle.
The water phase
In a three phase system of gas, liquid hydrocarbons and water, the water may
mix with the liquid hydrocarbon to form a dispersed phase or it may exist as a separate phase
at the bottom of the pipe. A figure for the probability of water being separated can be obtained
by analysing the results from the three phase numerical flow simulations, or from a two phase
flow calculation in combination with the method of Wicks & Fraser3.
pH
The pH is a complex function of several parameters, like the CO2 partial
pressure, the temperature and the content of ions in the water phase. The Fe 2+ content, which
is a result of the corrosion process itself, has a particular strong influence on the pH in
condensed water. The pH can be calculated from the ion concentrations using equations
describing the chemical equilibria involved4, but empirical relations between the pH and the
Fe 2+ content are also used when appropriate. Since the pH may change as a result of the
corrosion process, the corrosion rate has to be calculated in a forward stepping approach
down the pipeline.
The point corrosion model
Two corrosion models have been included in the corrosion analysis program. The first
one is the Shell model as it has been presented in its latest revision of 1995, jointly by Shell and
the Norwegian Institute of Energy Technology (IFE)5. The second one is the model
recommended by NORSOK.4 Both models are so-called point corrosion models, in the sense
that they provide a single value for the corrosion rate based on a set of values for the input
data such as the temperature, the CO2 partial pressure, the pH, the flow rate or wall shear
stress, the glycol content and the inhibitor performance. The corrosion profiles are obtained by
applying a point corrosion model to the various positions along the pipeline. In this process a
particular problem arises related to the flow conditions. Both models are largely based on onephase laboratory data, such that there is no obvious relation between the model flow
parameter and the multiphase flow data. Special routines have been designed to handle this
problem.

A STRATEGY FOR PIPELINE INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT


Design phase
A strategy for pipeline integrity management to be considered in the design phase may
include the following items:

Identification of the failure modes for internal corrosion


Deterministic corrosion model for a pipeline, identification of critical locations
Establish a probability model for the different corrosion forms
Risk analysis related to the different failure modes
Evaluation of different means to reduce the risk, based on corrosion control,
monitoring and inspection
Recommended plan for corrosion control, monitoring and inspection

Identification of the failure modes for internal corrosion. Corrosion related failure
modes have to be identified based on the most likely corrosion forms that can occur in the
pipeline. Such corrosion forms comprise general corrosion, longitudinal grooving, pitting, weld
corrosion and mesa corrosion. For each corrosion form one may define a critical depth or
critical wall thickness reduction. Such critical depths are given in guidelines like the ASME
B31G6. Here, one may find equations relating the critical depth, the typical length of the attack
and the maximum allowable hoop stress.
Deterministic corrosion model for a pipeline, identification of critical locations.
Corrosion models are established for the entire pipeline, using the calculation approach as
described above, and shown in Figure 1. Based on the actual conditions, different models may
have to be established for the various corrosion forms. The result provides two important
pieces of information: The maximum deterministic corrosion rates, and the positions were they
occurs. The first information is taken further into the risk analysis, while the critical position
identification is important for corrosion monitoring evaluation.
Establish a probability model for the different corrosion forms. The deterministic
corrosion models form the basis for establishing a probabilistic description of the maximum
corrosion rates. Such a probabilistic description is illustrated in figure 2. In the probabilistic
approach the deterministic value corresponds to the mean value. The scatter around this value
is reflecting the model uncertainty as evident in the experimental data to which the corrosion
models have been fitted5. The probability distribution shown in figure 2 is the log-normal
distribution.
Risk analysis related to the different failure modes. Risk is defined from the formula:
Risk = probability of occurrence x consequence
Here, the probability of occurrence is defined as the probability related to corrosion
induced failure modes. This probability can be calculated from the probability models for the
various corrosion forms, as illustrated in figure 2. The approach is as follows. Assume that we
have a cumulative probability distribution F(CR) of the maximum corrosion rate CR. The
critical corrosion depth for a corrosion form is dcrit . Over a lifetime L we may then define a
critical corrosion rate CRcrit from the following expression:

CRcrit = dcrit/L

(1)

The probability of occurrence is defined as follows:


P(CR > CRcrit) = 1 - F(CRcrit)

(2)

The consequence can be expressed in terms of cost figures, personal hazard or


environmental impact.
The presentation of probability distributions for the corrosion attacks allows the
application of limit state approaches, as presented in the following example:
For pipelines where hoop stress together with corrosion allowance are the
dimensioning criteria determining the necessary wall thickness, the hoop stress equation can be
combined with the formulae of ASME B31G /6/, the modified ASME B31G or the Shell-92
model /7/, to give a presentation of the hoop stress capacity as a function of; corrosion attack
depth, corrosion attack length, inhibitor efficiency, yield- or tensile strength, wall thickness, and
outer diameter.
The parameters are then treated as variables within their known probability
distributions, and by applying a probability simulation model e.g. MonteCarlo simulation, this
will give an expression of the probability distribution for the risk of exceeding the hoop stress
capacity of the pipeline. By applying this approach, the known conservatism in the traditional
pipeline design is avoided and a potential reduction in wall thickness results.
Evaluation of different means to reduce the risk, based on corrosion control,
monitoring and inspection. This activity describes the various methods available for corrosion
control by use of chemicals, like film forming inhibitors and pH stabilisers. The sensitivity to
variations in e.g. the inhibitor performance can be obtained from a sensitivity study in the risk
analysis, and a minimum performance requirements to the inhibitor can be defined. Methods or
combinations of methods for corrosion monitoring are evaluated. Monitoring can be based on
weight loss, ER- and LPR-probes, FSM8, ultrasonic equipment, Fe-counts, inhibitor residual
analysis etc. Inspection methods comprise intelligent pigging and spot NDT. Case studies can
be carried out using cost-benefit analysis to obtain combinations of corrosion control,
monitoring and inspection that reduces the risk to an acceptable level at the lowest possible
costs.
A recommended plan for corrosion control, monitoring and inspection. Based on the
case studies a recommended plan for corrosion control, monitoring and inspection can be
established. The elements of such a plan can be:

Requirements to inhibitor application


Requirements to field testing of inhibitors
The need for cleaning pigs
Monitoring equipment, types, numbers, locations
Frequency of intelligent pigging
Frequency and locations for spot NDT

Operational phase

The working strategy in the operational phase may to some extent resemble the
strategy in the design phase, but the practical performance has to be influenced by the
presence of actual operational experience, actual process data, monitoring data and eventually
inspection data.
The following issues have to be addressed:

Analysis of process, monitoring and inspection data


Calculation of a pipeline corrosion model based on actual process data
Revision of risk analysis
Revision of plan for corrosion control, monitoring and inspection

EXAMPLES OF APPLICATION
Pipeline corrosion models have been worked out for quite a number of submarine
pipelines, covering a wide variety of operational conditions. The pipelines may be grouped in
three categories: Dry gas pipelines, wet gas pipelines and pipelines carrying a well fluid
composed of gas, oil and produced water. Dry gas pipelines do not carry a corrosive fluid, but
a corrosive fluid may form due to glycol condensing in the pipeline. The glycol absorbs some
water from the dry gas and then becomes a weakly corrosive fluid. Upsets in the drying
process may lead to temporary enhancements in the water content. For wet gas systems one
will normally have a variable pH down the pipeline due to condensation of water with low pH.
The water wetting is a second important factor. For gas/oil/water well fluids the water wetting
is the all important factor.
The example shown here is from a wet gas study of a long pipeline. Figure 3 shows
the corrosion profile of the C-Mn pipeline without a multiphase flow calculation. The pipeline
route is very uneven, and the pipeline inclination angle varies typically between -5 and +5
degrees.
The multiphase flow calculations, figure 4, show clearly that water is separating out at
upward angles larger than about 0.5 degrees. With the information from the multiphase flow
calculations the pipeline corrosion model becomes much more complex than shown in figure 3.
Figure 5 shows a typical result for the 30 - 31 Km section of the pipeline. The upper
curve is the corrosion rate profile including flow rate variations due to the pipeline profile, but
assuming 100 % water wetting at all locations. The lower curve shows the effect of assuming
100 % water wetting only for upward inclinations larger than 0.5 degrees and 10 % for other
inclinations. This has two major implications. Firstly, the maximum corrosion rates are reduced
by about a factor of two. Secondly, the critical locations are rather narrow, which is important
for a proper location of monitoring equipment.
The probability distributions for the case are shown in figure 6. The pit/weld
distribution is shifted to larger corrosion rates because it has been observed that such localised
attacks can grow faster than predicted by the corrosion models by a factor of 2-3. This may
be due to galvanic effects in the system or a more continuous water wetting in areas with
geometric disturbances. Based on these probability distributions the probability of failure
related to longitudinal grooving is shown as a function of the time in figure 7. With a corrosion
inhibitor performance of minimum 85 % the probability of failure is very low, but with a
reduced inhibitor performance (70 %) or no pH- adjusting chemicals, the probability of failure
may become significant.

CONCLUSIONS
An integrity management strategy has been developed for pipelines carrying gas,
condensate/oil and water.
The strategy is based on identification of corrosion related failure modes, risk
assessment, and application of risk reducing methods in terms of corrosion control, monitoring
and inspection.
Modelling of multiphase flow, CO2 corrosion and associated probability distributions
along the pipeline plays a key role in the risk assessment, and may be applied in limit state
design approaches.
Examples of application show that a pipeline corrosion model that includes multiphase
flow calculations and a true pipeline profile offer much better insight into the corrosivity of the
pipeline than a simple point corrosion model.

REFERENCES
1. DNV (1996) Rules for Submarine Pipeline Systems Det Norske Veritas 1996
2. Fuchs, P. and Nuland, S.: "Three Phase Modelling is a Must", Multiphase Transportation
III, Arranged by Norwegian Petroleum Society, Rrros 20-22 September, 1992,
3. Wicks, M. and Fraser, J. P.: "Entrainment of Water by Flowing Oil", Materials
Performance, May 1975, pp 9-12.
4. NORSOK Standard M-506, Jan. 98.
5. de Waard, C., Lotz, U. and Dugstad, A.: "Influence of Liquid Flow Velocity on CO2
Corrosion: A Semi-empirical Model", Paper no. 128 at NACE CORROSION '95.
6. ASME B31G (1993) Manual for Determining the Remaining Strength of Corroded
Pipes American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1993.
7. D Richie, C.W.M. Voermans, M.H. Larsen, W.R. Vranckx, Planning repair and
inspection of ageing corroded lines using probabilistic methods Risk Based & Limit State
Design & Operation of Pipelines 20th & 21th October 1998, Aberdeen
8. Strommen, R. D., Horn, H. and Wold, K.R.: Paper no 7, NACE Corrosion/92.

CORPOS Flowchart
Input
Parameters

T(x), P(x)
and
pCO2(x)

Multiphase
Fluid
Flow

Water
Phase

Corrosion Rate
CR(x)

Corrosion
Model

pH

Distance m

1.
Figure 1. Flowchart showing the process of establishing a pipeline corrosion model

log-Normal probability

Probability density or probability

1
0,9
Probability density
Cumulative probability

0,8
0,7
0,6
0,5
0,4
0,3
0,2
0,1
0
0

0,5

1,5

2,5

3,5

Figure 2. The lognormal probability distribution with a mean at x=1, and standard deviation of
0.3.

Wet gas study - horisontal pipe


1,0

Corrosion rate(mm/year)

Film inhibitor efficiency = 85 %


pHinit = 5.7
pHinit = 3.6

0,5

0,0
30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

Distance along pipeline

Figure 3. Corrosion rate profile of the wet gas study without a multiphase flow calculation

Wet gas study


0,35
0,3

Holdup (-)

0,25
0,2

HOLHL
HOLWT

0,15
0,1
0,05
0
-6

-4

-2

10

Inclination (Degrees)

Figure 4. Multiphase flow calculations of the wet gas study showing water holdup (HOLWT)
and hydrocarbon liquid holdup (HOLHL) as a function of the pipeline inclination angle.

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Wet gas study


True pipeline profile

Corr. rate (mm/year) or angle (degrees)

0,5

Inhibitor efficiency = 85 %
0,4
100 % water wetting at all pipe positions
0,3

0,2

0,1

0,0
30

30,1

30,2

30,3

30,4

30,5

30,6

30,7

30,8

30,9

31

Position (km)

Figure 5. Corrosion rate profiles for the wet gas study. Upper curve asssumes 100 % water
wetting while lower curve assumes 100 % water wetting only for inclination angles larger than
0.5 degrees and 10 % otherwise.

Wet gas study


pH = 3.5 and 85 % inhibitor efficiency
4

Probability density

3,5
Longitudinal grooves

3
2,5
2
1,5

Pits
1
0,5
0
0

0,5

1,5

2,5

Corrosion rate (mm/year)

Figure 6. Probability distributions for the wet gas case.

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Wet gas study


30 - 31 km
0,300
low pH 85%inhib
high pH 85%inhib
high pH 70%inhib

Probability

0,250
0,200
0,150
0,100
0,050
0,000
0

10

15

20

25

Time (years)

Figure 7. Probability of failure for the wet gas case.

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