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Dr. Anees U. Malik Research & Development Center Saline Water Conversion Corporation P.O.Box 8328, Al-Jubail -31951, Saudi Arabia Tel: + 966-3-343 0333, Fax: + 966-3-343 1615 Email: email@example.com October 1988 INTRODUCTION The cathodic protection system for the gas pipeline in the Abquaiq oil field is a deep well anode bed-type system (closed hole design). It is approximately 45 meters deep and 8 anodes are installed in the well. The deep well is contained in a sealed steel casing from top to bottom and has water from an aquifer up to a level of about 23m from the bottom. The deep well has been in operation since 1981-82. The anodes used are Fe-Si-Cr type and a carbonaceous material has been used as a back fill. The anodes have been installed with independent cable, each returning to the surface and then terminated in a junction box. The T/R feed to the junction box is of standard single core type.
As early as November 1987, problems with the cathodic protection system were apprehended with the tightening and straining of the anode cables. Subsequently, an ARAMCO engineer visited the site and reported the non-functioning of 2 of the 8 anodes as appeared by the zero output. As a temporary measure, SWCC relieved the excess strain by splicing the anode cables with extra cables through welding. Presently, out of the 8 electrodes, 7 electrodes were reported to be functioning and cables were not overstrained. CAUSES
There are several causes responsible for the straining of the anode cables and nonfunctioning of the anodes. The most probable are:
The sealed steel casing is torn or broken away due to continuous operation of the deep well or corroded at some point below the ground. in each case. the water from aquifer
S. Subsequently the segregation of solid carbonaceous back fill around the anode surface occurs.has entered inside the sealed tube through the leak and washed away a portion or whole of the back fill carbonaceous material. A'S stated above. The high consumption or corrosion rate of the anode might result in weakening of the contact between the anode and cable inducing enormous strain on the string. . therefore.A. due to cable failures. (ii) The presence of an efficiently packed carbonaceous back fill around an anode serves two important purposes: the back fill makes contact with the anode surface electrically and transmit current directly from the anode surface. the solidification of the back fill slurry accentuated. and other countries. This could result in abnormal tension on the anode cable due to the weights of free anode and supporting pipe. the conductive carbon back fill around anode will increase the effective size. In this situation. exerting abnormal strain on the anode cable. The accelerated consumption rate of the anode occurs when the current density leaving the anode surface exceeds the current carrying capacity of the back fill material. due to continuous current transfer to back fill. It is also possible that the anodesupporting pipe is also displaced from its normal position. the packing of back fill carbonaceous material around anode is disturbed resulting in abnormal straining of the anode cables. if the contact between back fill material and the anode is not maintained due to disruption in the integrity of back fill packing then accelerated consumption of anode occurs specially on either end of the anode and can precipitate a failure. reducing consumption rates. RECOMMENDATION An average life of 7 to 10 years has been experienced for conventional deep well anode installations (closed type) in U. (iii) In the cathodic protection deep well anode bed. the anode cable not only carries the mass of the anode but also the mass of the back fill and in consequence. there are at least three possible causes of the damage to the deep well cathodic protection but one factor seems to be common. In the present deep well cathodic system. gas blocking.
the above measures can be employed on short-term basis until all the anodes are failed or protective potential is below the NACE criteria.connection failures. gaps in packing could be filled and might further extend the life of the system. In that case some permanent measures could be taken. A deep well (open hole) cathodic protection system employing fiber glass casing and Nb. CONCLUSION The existing deep well anode bed cathodic protection system for gas pipe line near Abquaiq can be used for considerable time (about a year or so) after some periodic repairs but this system is to be replaced ultimately by another new deep well cathodic protection system. The straining of anode cables and nonfunctioning of anodes in the deep well cathodic protection system can be solved by taking the following course: As a temporary measure. However. the existing cathodic protection deep well system should be replaced by another new system. In addition. by pumping some back fill material in slurry. . As a permanent measure.Ti/mixed oxide anodes is preferable over closed well steel casing employing petroleum coke back fill and Fe-Cr-C anodes. As stated in the beginning of this report. end effects etc. this measure has already been taken by SWCC and has shown satisfactory results. the anode cables can be repaired by joining with additional cables so as to relieve the tension on the existing cables. So it is not surprising to have problems in deep well cathodic protection system.
contains CaCO3 up to a maximum of 35 ppm. The spray water. Al-Jubail -31951.O. the operation staff normally carry out acid cleaning of the PVC tubes using low concentration of sulfamic acid once every year. 1988 to study some problems faced during the operation of the above system and to suggest possible remedial measures.sa October 1988 INTRODUCTION A discussion and subsequently a site inspection were carried out by the research center team with the operation staff of the RWTS at PSI office on 2nd Oct. Malik and Dr. The operation staff gave a brief description of the system and the problems faced by them were follows: (a) System The system is an open circuit Cooling Water System to reduce the temperature of the cooling water from the product water transmission pumps bearing. apart from the antiscalant.AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORT ON THE SCALING AND SCALE REMOVAL PROBLEMS IN THE OPEN CIRCUIT COOLING WATER SYSTEM IN RWTS PRODUCT WATER PUMPS AT PS1 Dr. The water containing an antiscalant chemical (Cool treat 94) is pumped from an open concrete tank and sprayed over a series of heat exchanger tubes made of PVC. Mayan Kutty Research & Development Center Saline Water Conversion Corporation P.Box 8328.gov. Though the possibility of scaling on the outside of the PVC tubes is low due to the low concentration of CaCO3 and close-to-ambient temperatures involved. Saudi Arabia Tel: + 966-3-343 0333. Fax: + 966-3-343 1615 Email: rdc@swcc. (b) Problems Operation staff raised the following questions and sought advices/remedial measures to optimize the performance of the Cooling System and acid cleaning procedure: (i) Is it necessary to carry out the acid cleaning on a routine basis (once every year as practiced now) since the observed scaling is not very significant? . Anees U.
(ii) The concentration of sulfamic acid used for the acid cleaning is approximately 0. i. If the above-suggested modification is considered costly or impractical then the present procedure could be continued but could be done in two or three batches using the same total . there is a possibility of some scaling due to the fact that the PVC tubes are open to atmosphere and sand or dust particles settling on the tubes might act as nucleation sites for scaling. besides CaCO3.e. A qualitative check on the samples of scales indicated the presence of 5-10% sandy particles. RECOMMENDATIONS The research center had the following recommendations on the various points raised by the operational staff of the R WTS. Though CaCO3 concentration in the cooling water and the temperatures involved are low. 65 Kg of sulfamic acid in 35 M3 of water) is quite adequate for this purpose. it is also easy to monitor the procedure by measuring the pH of the influent and the effluent. (iii) The best way to get the optimum result out of the acid cleaning procedure is to make it a once-through operation as against the procedure of re-circulating the used acid for long time as practiced now. i.19%. when both pHs become equal. (i) It is a good practice to carry out the acid cleaning at least once a year. In the former case cleaning will be more efficient due to contact between fresh acid and the scale throughout the period of acid cleaning operation. the cleaning may be considered complete. In this case. Is this concentration sufficient to remove the scales? (iii) How to improve the performance of the acid cleaning procedure? The operation staff feels that a slow rise in pH of the circulating acid and persistence of scale deposits at nooks and corners even after several hours of acid circulation indicate poor performance of the procedure. (ii) The concentration of sulfamic acid used presently by the operation staff (0.2%.e.
This two-step batch process is expected to do a better cleaning. After dumping the whole solution. For example 35 kg of sulfamic acid dissolved in 35 M3 of water (0. adequate safety precautions should be taken while doing this. in order to remove the scale deposits from these parts of the system.1% conc. .) and circulated for a period of time. It is also recommended to spray the acid solution with a high-pressure hose to the areas where the spray water does not reach in the normal case. another similar batch may be prepared and re-circulated.quantity of the acid. Needless to say that.
Anees U. The research center team visited subsequently the site and inspected the Cathodic Protection System.85V). Fax: + 966-3-343 1615 Email: rdc@swcc. A piece of magnetite anode excavated after digging was examined. The anode was found corroded deleteriously. Al-Jubail -31951. The potential measurements carried out by using CulCuSO4 reference at the soil and the tanks show potential values far below the accepted values (0. The system has been in service for 5 112 years. the blended water storage tanks and the well water storage tanks in SWCC desalination plant at AI-Jubail. Later on it was found that C.P.Box 8328. Sweden. it was found that there was a decrease of about 60% in cross -sectional area and about 70% in weight. The cathodic protection system contains "Magnetite type" anodes manufactured by Bergsol. The surface of the anode showed indication of deep wearing and erosion. Malik Research & Development Center Saline Water Conversion Corporation P. a relatively thin sheath of magnetite is left with green patches of Cu20 and copper salts on its surface. the designed life of the anodes was estimated to be 140 years by the contractors. The ground water ingressed through the eroded magnetite sheath and came into contact with the . Investigations carried out by the plant maintenance department revealed the presence of anodes below the water table (about 3. Saudi Arabia Tel: + 966-3-343 0333. system for Tanks #1 and #2 was not functioning and in other tanks the value of cathodic protection potential was progressively decreasing.sa March 1989 INTRODUCTION The SWCC Research Center was asked to comment on the failure of the impressed Current Cathodic Protection System employed for the external protections of product water storage tanks (1 to 7). While comparing the corroded anode with the unused anode. The plant authorities received the first reports regarding the malfunctioning of the system in early 1988.5 meters from the ground) and the anodes were found corroded badly.gov.O.PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION ON THE CATHODIC PROTECTION OF PRODUCT WATER STORAGE TANK EXTERNALS AT AL-JUBAIL PLANTS Dr.
which was used as the conductor element within the anode. Subsequently. . Si-Fe or SiFe-Cr anodes as recommended by plants technical personnel are the conventional elements suitable for cathodic protection of such installations. The proper bonding of the back fill to the anode system should also be emphasized since the washing away. Although some highly efficient and very durable anode systems. detachment or depletion of the material adversely effects the performance of the anode and consequently short lived the system. In the present state. requiring little or no maintenance. the magnetite anodes are reported to be completely submerged. the copper was attacked by the ingressed water producing voluminous corrosion products which induced tensile stresses on the magnetite sheath resulting in the fracture or cracking of the anode.copper. The ground water perhaps would not have ingressed if the anode had been compacted with a water resistant and mechanically stable back fill. Information regarding the composition of the back fill originally used by the contractor in the cathodic protection system and ground water table during the installation of CPS were not available. Soil condition. water level and water composition should be taken into account while designing the new cathodic system. are introduced in recent years for cathodic protection but their initial high cost prohibits used in such installations. such as platinized titanium or tantalum or ceramic elements. In such a case the performance of the cathodic protection system would have unabated for a fairly long time. The impressed current cathodic system used for the external protection of product water tanks has failed and needs a suitable replacement. However. SWCC can get maximum benefit only if the design of the dig/well and the use of an appropriate back fill are carefully considered.