Enjoy millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more, with a free trial

Only $11.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

Case Studies of Material Corrosion Prevention for Oil and Gas Valves
Case Studies of Material Corrosion Prevention for Oil and Gas Valves
Case Studies of Material Corrosion Prevention for Oil and Gas Valves
Ebook588 pages7 hours

Case Studies of Material Corrosion Prevention for Oil and Gas Valves

Rating: 0 out of 5 stars


About this ebook

Case Studies of Material Corrosion Prevention for Oil and Gas Valves delivers a critical reference for engineers and corrosion researchers. Packed with nearly 30 real-world case studies, this reference gives engineers standardized knowledge on how to maintain, select and prevent typical corrosion problems in a variety of oil and gas settings. Subsea, offshore, refineries and processing plants are all included, covering a variety of challenges such as chloride stress cracking, how to use Teflon powder to prevent cross contamination, and carbon dioxide corrosion. Organized for quick discovery, this book gives engineers a much-needed tool to safely protect their assets and the environment.

Engineers working in oil and gas operations understand that corrosion is a costly expense that increases emissions and damages the environment, but many standards do not provide practical examples with solutions, leaving engineers to learn through experience. This resource provides comprehensive information on topics of interest.

  • Provides solutions to common oil and gas corrosion valve failures with standard case studies
  • Helps readers improve safety and reliability with the addition of references for further training
  • Presents tactics on how to reduce environmental impact and use methods to prevent corrosion across offshore, subsea and refinery activities
Release dateJun 7, 2022
Case Studies of Material Corrosion Prevention for Oil and Gas Valves

Karan Sotoodeh

Karan Sotoodeh recently earned his PhD in Safety and Reliability in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Stavanger. Previously, Karan was the Senior / Lead Engineer in valves and actuators for Baker Hughes, one of the world’s largest oil field services company. He was responsible for engineering and delivering valves and actuators in subsea manifolds, working with valve suppliers, R&D activities, and maintaining the company’s valve database. He has also worked for AkerSolutions, NLI Engineering, and Nargan Engineers as a senior specialist in piping and valves, assisting with many projects around the world. He is the author of Prevention of Valve Fugitive Emissions in the Oil and Gas Industry and Subsea Valves and Actuators for the Oil and Gas Industry, both published by Elsevier. Karan earned a Master of Research in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Oil and Gas Engineering, both from Robert Gordon University of Aberdeen, and a Bachelors in Industrial Engineering from the Iran University of Science and Technology

Reviews for Case Studies of Material Corrosion Prevention for Oil and Gas Valves

Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
0 ratings

0 ratings0 reviews

What did you think?

Tap to rate

Review must be at least 10 words

    Book preview

    Case Studies of Material Corrosion Prevention for Oil and Gas Valves - Karan Sotoodeh

    Chapter 1: External topside offshore corrosion


    This chapter discusses eight case studies on material selection and corrosion prevention for industrial valves in the topside or atmospheric zone of the offshore oil and gas industry. Case study 1.1 discusses the material selection of SS316 instead of coated carbon or cast iron for the gear boxes of manual valves. Case study 1.2 proposes minimizing the use of low-alloy steel bolts and carbon steel nuts in industrial valves to prevent the risk of corrosion. Case study 1.3 provides a material selection guideline for the assembly of mechanical joints, which are connectors used to save weight and space. Case study 1.4 provides reasons for why the use of 17-4 PH stems should be avoided in offshore industrial valves. Case study 1.5 discusses corrosion under insulation and its prevention through the use of a coating. Case study 1.6 discusses pitting and chloride stress cracking, two major types of corrosion that are of concern in the offshore industry, and their mitigation through a combination of material selection and coating application. Case study 1.7 reviews the use of austenitic stainless steels for industrial valve parts like the handwheel, gear box, name plate, and locking device. Finally, Case study 1.8 discusses the use of tubing for piping, instrumentation, and actuators as well as tubing material selection according to the fluid service, operating temperature, and clamping application.


    Material selection; Corrosion prevention; Coating; Pitting and chloride stress cracking corrosion; Coating under insulation (CUI); Industrial valve; Mechanical joint; Tubing; Atmospheric zone; Offshore

    Case study 1.1. Valve gear box material selection and corrosion prevention in topside offshore oil and gas industry

    1: Introduction

    1.1: Offshore external corrosion

    Corrosion is defined as the gradual destruction of materials (mainly metals) by chemicals and/or chemical reactions with the surrounding environment. It can occur at any time and any point during petroleum and gas processing. External corrosion mechanisms are largely dictated by the environment in which the asset (i.e., industrial valves) is installed. Corrosive external environments can be categorized into offshore, underground, and underinsulation environments. Buried piping and pipelines as well as connected valves are exposed to external corrosion because of soil, humidity, and moisture due to rainfall or other reasons. Specifically, they can suffer various types of corrosion including uniform corrosion, pitting, and erosion. However, this study does not cover buried piping and valves and associated corrosion. Corrosion under insulation (CUI) is a type of localized corrosion that occurs at specific areas located under insulation. Valves are insulated for various reasons like maintaining the fluid temperature and preventing its exchange with the environment or for ensuring the safety of personnel. In fact, valves should be insulated to prevent or minimize heat or cold loss for providing energy efficiency. In addition, at high operating temperature (e.g., > 70°C), doing so protects the personnel from possible contact with the hot piping and valve. Finally, isolation sometimes provides fire or acoustic protection.

    Offshore external corrosion is divided into four zones—topside or atmospheric, splash, tidal, and sea water—as illustrated in Fig. 1.1. The atmospheric zone is a corrosive area that can cause 0.076–0.20 mm of corrosion per year in unprotected steel. The industrial valves reviewed in this case study are all located in the atmospheric or topside zone. External corrosion in the topside offshore zone is mainly caused by the presence of chloride and moisture in the environment. The other contributor is ultraviolet (UV) light. One important parameter affecting external corrosion in the topside is the operating temperature; specifically, increasing the operating temperature increases the risk of external corrosion. Other parameters that affect offshore and sea water corrosion are the chloride content, oxygen concentration, presence of biological organisms, etc. The corrosion in splash and tidal zones is higher than that in the topside zone because steels located in these two zones are frequently above and under the waves, with the result that the corrosion and erosion effects combine. Steel structures are the main components located in the splash and tidal zones, and their estimated corrosion rate is 0.20–0.50 mm per year. Because no industrial valve is located in the splash and tidal zones, these two areas are not covered in this book. The corrosion rate in the splash zone is increased by the mixture of corrosion and erosion from the seawater, UV light, and debris and ice in some cases. In the seawater or immersion zone, which is always underwater, the corrosion rate is close to that in the atmospheric zone and lower than that in the splash zone. Some industrial valves are installed in a subsea environment and are exposed to corrosion, as discussed in Chapter 2.

    Fig. 1.1

    Fig. 1.1 Offshore zones. (Courtesy: Shutterstock.)

    1.2: Means of valve operation

    Valve operation can be done either manually or by an actuator. Manual valves are manually opened by operators, whereas actuated valves are automatically operated with an actuator. An actuator is a mechanical or electrical device or component installed on a valve to automatically operate it. Actuators typically work with electricity, hydraulic fluid, or air, with electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic power, respectively, being converted into mechanical force to operate the valve.

    Manually operated valves have either a lever or handwheel. Lever-operated valves typically require less force for operation. By contrast, handwheel-operated valves could be larger and/or of high-pressure-class valves, and they require more force for operation. Fig. 1.2 illustrates a small-sized lever and low-pressure-class ball valve on the top and a larger high-pressure-class ball valve with handwheel plus gear box operation on the bottom. In many cases, with handwheel-operated manual valves, the operator's manual effort to rotate the handwheel is insufficient to operate the manual valve between the open and closed positions or vice versa. Thus, handwheel-operated valves are commonly equipped with a gear box to facilitate valve operation. This is a simple and cheap valve operation method in which gears are used to increase the force and efficiency produced by the operator moving the handwheel.

    Fig. 1.2

    Fig. 1.2 Ball valves operated with a lever and a handwheel plus gear box. (Photo by author.)

    The gears inside the gear box are wheels with teeth that slot together. Assume that a gear box contains two gears, as illustrated in Fig. 1.3. The first one on the left side, the driving gear, is smaller and has 20 teeth. The second one on the right side, the driven gear, is larger and has 40 teeth. In this case, the gear box increases the input force applied by the operator through the handwheel, because the driven gear has a larger number of teeth. The amount of increase depends on the gear ratio calculated as follows:

    Fig. 1.3

    Fig. 1.3 Gears in a valve gear box to facilitate valve operation. (Photo by author.)

    Eq. 1.1. Gear ratio calculation.



    Thus, the gear ratio in this case is equal to two. It means that if the operator manually applies 500 N force on a handwheel, the gear box will increase the force to 1000 N.

    This chapter explains that cast iron or carbon steel gear boxes are used for manual valves on ships or platforms in the topside zone, where they are exposed to severe corrosion even if they are coated. A coating can be applied on the external metal surface to prevent external offshore corrosion in both topside and subsea zones.

    2: Aim and objective

    This case study aims to prevent the external corrosion of gear boxes of manual valves in the atmospheric or topside zone by selecting a proper material. Toward this end, the following research objectives must be achieved:

    1.Explain the case in which cast iron or carbon steel gear boxes with a zinc-rich epoxy coating have been selected for industrial valves in the topside and associated corrosion problems.

    2.Evaluate possible reasons of corrosion in gear boxes of manual valves.

    3.Propose a suitable solution for the material selection of the gear box of manual valves to prevent external corrosion.

    The main case study question is how to select the gear box material and coating for manually operated valves to prevent external offshore corrosion.

    3: Importance

    This study applies material and corrosion engineering to control and stop the external corrosion of the gear boxes of valves in the offshore topside environment. The importance of this research based on the above explanations can be summarized as follows:

    -Prevent material and corrosion failure of gear boxes for industrial valves located on topside platforms or ships.

    -Prevent failure of gear boxes of manual valves due to corrosion during operation that results in improved safety and reliability of valves and prevents costly valve gear box failure to reduce the operational cost (OPEX).

    -Prevent negative and undesirable events due to gear box failure like loss of asset and loss of control on valve operation.

    4: Audiences

    This case study could be of interest to engineers engaged in materials and corrosion, piping and valves, and safety and reliability engineering. Further, it could be of interest to students engaged in materials, mechanical, or oil and gas and petroleum engineering.

    5: Case study

    Cast iron or carbon steel gear boxes are commonly used for manual valves. Cast iron is a group of iron and carbon alloys containing more than 2% carbon, whereas carbon steel is an iron and carbon alloy containing less than 2% carbon. Increasing the carbon content in iron and carbon alloys increases the mechanical strength and hardness. However, it also reduces the weldability and increases the brittleness and cracking possibility. Carbon steel and cast iron are both noncorrosion-resistant alloys (CRAs) that can be corroded easily after a short period of time (e.g., a couple of months) in the corrosive offshore environment. Thus, in the Norwegian offshore industry, a coating was commonly applied to carbon steel and cast-iron gear boxes. However, many carbon steel/cast iron gear boxes suffered general offshore external corrosion even when they were coated for external corrosion protection. In many cases, the coating came off from the gear box, and then, the gear box started corroding as a result of its exposure to the offshore environment, as illustrated in Fig. 1.4.

    Fig. 1.4

    Fig. 1.4 Cast iron gear box corrosion and zinc epoxy coating peeling off. (Photo by author.)

    It was not exactly clear why a lack of adhesion occurred in many cases between the zinc epoxy coating and the cast iron gear box. One cause could be the roughness of cast iron. Roughness is an important parameter in the adhesion of a coating to a metal surface. A study showed that the microstructure of cast iron can affect the adhesion of the epoxy coating, with the surface roughness being the most important characteristic. This study demonstrated that well-polished cast iron surfaces provide the best adhesion to the coating. Zinc epoxy failure could be caused by a poor-quality coating in terms of the primer or coating formulation. Because of the large number of coated cast iron and carbon steel gear box failures, the gear box material was upgraded to a CRA like stainless steel SS316, as illustrated in Fig. 1.5. Stainless steel is a steel alloy with at least 10.5%–11% but at most 30% chromium by mass. The corrosion resistance of stainless steel increases with the chromium content.

    Fig. 1.5

    Fig. 1.5 Stainless steel 316 gear box for a manually operated valve. (Photo by author.)

    Notably, although SS316 is a CRA, it can be corroded easily in the offshore environment under certain conditions that are not applicable in this case. This section explains why SS316 gear boxes are not at risk of corrosion in this case study. The first important condition for external corrosion of SS316 is that it is exposed to a temperature above 60°C. NORSOK M-001, the material selection standard in the Norwegian offshore oil and gas industry, does not allow the use of SS316 at operating temperatures above 60°C. Further, a coating need not be applied to SS316 in the offshore topside environment as long as it is used at operating temperatures below 60°C. In this case study, many valves with a gear box can deliver a fluid at operating temperatures above 60°C; however, it is important to note that the gear box is not exposed to this high-temperature fluid. In fact, the gear box is only exposed to the offshore atmospheric temperature; it could be as low as 0°C in the winter and as high as 25–30°C in the summer. Therefore, the gear box temperature never exceeds the 60°C limit. In other words, using SS316 for the gear box of valves in offshore environments does not bring the risk of external offshore corrosion like pitting. Apart from pitting, another offshore corrosion mechanism is chloride stress cracking corrosion (CLSCC). It is caused by a combination of a corrosive chloride environment and the application of stress. The stress could be either applied or residual. Residual stresses are mainly those stresses that remain in the material after welding. The gear box of the valve is not a stress- or pressure-containing component. In valves, pressure- or stress-containing components (e.g., body, bonnet, and bolting) are those whose failure to function leads to the release of internal fluid to the atmosphere. The gear box does not contain any fluid inside and is therefore not considered a pressure- or stress-containing part. The gear box is only filled with grease for internal lubrication of the gears. In addition, valve gear boxes are made of a cast material without any welding and are therefore not exposed to residual stress. Overall, valve gear boxes made of SS316 are not exposed to any critical stresses that, in combination with the corrosive chloride environment, could cause stress cracking.

    The second important consideration is why SS316 has been selected for the gear box of the valve. Various austenitic stainless steel grades like SS304, SS316, SS321, and SS347 are currently available. These austenitic stainless steels, of the 300 series, have a face-centered cubic iron or steel alloy structure. The abovementioned grades contain approximately 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Adding nickel to stainless steels confers an austenitic structure as well as other properties like formability, ductility, weldability, toughness, and high-temperature properties. SS316 can provide the highest degree of corrosion resistance against the chloride and offshore environment. Its resistance against chloride corrosion can be evaluated by calculating the pitting resistance equivalent number (PREN), which depends on the chromium, molybdenum, and nitrogen contents, and it is calculated as follows:

    Eq. 1.2. PREN calculation.



    The chromium and nitrogen contents in all four abovementioned grades are almost the same. However, unlike the other grades, SS316 contains 2%–3% molybdenum that confers increased pitting and chloride corrosion resistance. SS304, SS321, and SS347 typically have PREN values of 18–20, whereas SS316 has PREN values of 22.6–27.9. For example, by using Eq. (1.2), the PREN value of SS304 containing 18%–20% chromium without any molybdenum and nitrogen is calculated as 18–20.

    SS316 is the only austenitic stainless steel usable for some valve parts like the gear box in the Norwegian offshore industry owing to its higher PREN and chloride resistance compared to SS304, SS321, and SS347. However, SS317 affords a higher PREN of 27.9–33.2 owing to its higher molybdenum content of 3%–4%, but it is not popular in the Norwegian offshore industry. Many piping and valves in the Norwegian offshore industry are made of 22Cr duplex that provides a higher PREN and chloride corrosion resistance in offshore environments. However, using a 22Cr duplex gear box is not recommended for topside offshore valves for economic reasons. The external corrosion resistance of SS316 gear boxes is sufficient; therefore, it need not be replaced with a more expensive 22Cr duplex gear box.

    6: Expected results and deliverables

    The expected result is to upgrade the gear box material of manual valves from painted cast iron/carbon steel to stainless steel SS316 to prevent external corrosion like general, pitting, and chloride stress cracking corrosion. SS316 is more expensive than coated carbon steel and cast iron. However, it does not require a coating, thus reducing the coating cost.

    7: Conclusions

    Cast iron/carbon steel and zinc-epoxy-coated gear boxes of manual valves have often failed in the topside section of offshore projects. This is because the zinc epoxy coating flakes off the cast iron/carbon steel gear box, thus exposing the uncoated gear box to corrosion in the offshore environment. The reason for coating failure remains unclear; it may be caused by poor coating adhesion to the cast iron metal surface because of the roughness of the cast iron or a poor coating formulation. The proposed solution is to use SS316 gear boxes for manual valves to prevent the risk of corrosion and failure. SS316 affords higher pitting and chloride corrosion resistance in comparison to other austenitic stainless steels grades except for SS317. The gear box is not a pressure-containing part, and its temperature is always below 60°C; therefore, it is not at risk of external offshore corrosion if it is made of SS316. Further, SS316 does not require any coating, thereby reducing the cost and delivery time. Although 22Cr duplex provides higher chloride and pitting corrosion resistance compared to SS316; its use is not recommended because it is more expensive.

    Case study 1.2. Minimizing usage of low-alloy steel bolts and carbon steel nuts for valves in topside offshore oil and gas industry through selection of suitable bolting material

    1: Introduction

    Bolting refers to bolts and nuts. They play an important role in industrial valves. Bolts and nuts are mainly used to connect and fasten valve parts together, such as pressure-containing body and bonnet parts. Fig. 1.6 illustrates a ball valve highlighting the bolts and nuts used to connect valve body pieces together. In fact, the body of the ball valve in Fig. 1.6 includes three parts or pieces, two end connections (i.e., closure), and the middle part (i.e., valve body). Closures are connected to the body in the middle from both sides by bolts and nuts. Fig. 1.7 illustrates a through conduit gate valve highlighting the bolts and nuts used to connect the valve body and bonnet. The highlighted bolts in both Figs. 1.6 and 1.7 are known as pressure-containing bolts because they connect the pressure-containing parts of the valves, such as the body and bonnet. Two important points should be noted here. First, a valve pressure-containing part is defined as a part whose failure to function as intended results in the release of contained fluid into the environment; at a minimum, it contains body pieces, a bonnet or cover, a stem, and connectors. This definition is provided in the API 6D standard for pipeline and piping valves. According to this definition, the author considers that connectors or bolts used to fasten or connect pressure-containing parts of a valve, like the body and bonnet, should be considered pressure-containing parts. Thus, pressure-containing bolts must have high mechanical strength. Further, as bolts and nuts are exposed to external corrosion in offshore environments, they should also be corrosion resistant. This case study mainly focuses on pressure-containing bolts and connected nuts and additionally provides some suggestions for the material selection of nonpressure-containing bolting.

    Fig. 1.6

    Fig. 1.6 A three-piece ball valve highlighting the bolting used to connect body pieces. (Photo by author.)

    Fig. 1.7

    Fig. 1.7 A through conduit gate valve highlighting bolting used to connect body and bonnet. (Photo by author.)

    Low-alloy steel bolts and carbon steel nuts are widely used for carbon steel body valves in different downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry, such as refineries and petrochemical plants. These sectors involve the refining of petroleum crude oil, processing and purification of natural gas, and marketing and distribution of products derived from oil and gas. Although carbon steel piping, including valves, is very common in the downstream sector, it is not popular in the upstream sector, such as topside offshore facilities, because of its low corrosion resistance. The topside sector involves extremely corrosive environments in which uncoated carbon steel can corrode externally in as little as 1 or 2 months. Fig. 1.8 illustrates carbon steel axial check valves that are coated except at a couple of areas close to the clamped end of the valve. As seen in this figure, the uncoated parts corrode easily in the offshore environment after only a couple of months. In addition, offshore facilities in the upstream sector handle extremely corrosive and untreated fluids like produced oil and gas. Therefore, CRA materials like 22Cr duplex, 25Cr super duplex, and nickel alloys such as Inconel 625 are used for topside offshore piping systems, including valves.

    Fig. 1.8

    Fig. 1.8 Carbon steel axial check valve highlighting uncoated and corroded end parts in offshore environment. (Photo by author.)

    Low-alloy steel bolts are made from chromium and molybdenum alloys compatible with AISI 4140 with quenching and tempering as heat treatments to provide high mechanical strength. In quenching, a material is heated to a suitably high temperature (e.g., 900°C) and then cooled in water or oil to fully harden it. Subsequently, tempering is performed by heating the metal to a high temperature below the melting point and then cooling it, usually in air, to improve material characteristic such as toughness and to reduce the brittleness of the metal. AISI is a material standard used to designate certain standard grades of carbon and low-alloy steels through a four-digit code. The AISI coding system is not commonly used for low-alloy steel bolting. Instead, the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) coding is used. Materials are divided into different groups as per the ASTM standard, with iron and steel materials like low-alloy steel bolts typically starting with the letter A. ASTM A193 B7 bolts are a very common grade of low-alloy steel bolts. As stud bolts for providing a fastening force with nuts, ASTM A194 2H medium carbon steel nuts with quenching and tempering heat treatments are used in combination with ASTM A193 B7 bolts. A193 B7M is another important type of low-alloy steel bolt that has an identical chemical composition and similar heat treatment but lower mechanical strength and hardness compared with grade B7 bolts. B7M bolting is commonly used for carbon steel piping and valves in sour service or hydrogen sulfide (H2S)-containing service. Reducing the material hardness is one of the strategies to prevent sour corrosion caused by H2S. Therefore, B7M bolts are popular for sour services in the oil and gas industry. ASTM A194 2HM nuts are compatible with B7M bolts. 2HM nuts have identical chemical composition and heat treatment but lower mechanical strength and hardness compared with 2H nuts.

    Carbon steel materials cannot be used for design temperatures below − 29°C as per the ASME B31.3 process piping code and NORSOK M-001 material selection standard. Instead, low-temperature carbon steel (LTCS) can be used for a design temperature as low as − 46°C according to the abovementioned code and standard. Some grades of LTCS contain added nickel for better toughness, enabling them to withstand even lower temperatures compared with standard LTCS. B7 and B7M bolts and 2H and 2HM nuts are incompatible with LTCS piping and valves. The proposed bolt and nut materials for LTCS body valves are A320 L7 for bolts and A194 Gr.4 or 7 for nuts. A320 L7 bolts are chromium and molybdenum low-alloy steel bolts like A193 B7 and B7M bolts; a Charpy impact test indicates that they are suitable for use at a minimum temperature of − 46°C, which is performed on these bolts. A194 Gr.4 or 7 nuts are also carbon steel nuts like 2H and 2HM bolts; a Charpy impact test indicates that they are also suitable for use at a minimum temperature of − 46°C. A320 L7 bolts have a size limitation of 2½″. Therefore, A320 L43 is a suitable bolt material grade for a size over 2½″ for LTCS piping and valve body materials.

    A Charpy impact test or Charpy V-notch test is performed on different materials such as LTCSs to measure their impact strength and the impact energy absorbed by them during fracturing. This absorbed energy reflects the notch toughness of the material. In materials science and mechanics, a notch refers to a V-shaped defect that is deliberately induced in a component during a Charpy impact test to cause a stress concentration from which a fracture can initiate. Fig. 1.9 shows a metal bar-shaped specimen with a V-notch and the manner in which the Charpy impact test is performed on it. A Charpy V-notch impact test is performed according to the ASTM A370 standard for the mechanical testing of steel products. The test specimen has dimensions of 10 mm × 10 mm × 55 mm. The test is a dynamic one in which the notched specimen is struck and broken by a single blow in a specially designed testing machine consisting of a swinging arm or pendulum that impacts the V-notch. The load of the arm or pendulum fractures the sample along the V-notch plane. Because the mass of the pendulum and the height to which the pendulum is raised are known, the amount of energy consumed for impacting and fracturing the specimen can be determined. Charpy machines with an energy capacity range of 300–400 J are used for impact testing of steels. The impact energy can provide an indication of the toughness, specifically, V-notch toughness, of a material. The relationship between the impact energy and the material toughness remains a key issue. The tougher the material, the higher is the impact energy of the swinging pendulum that is absorbed by the material to be

    Enjoying the preview?
    Page 1 of 1