Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 124e128

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Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries
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A new approach on troubleshooting of cathodic protection: A case
M.H. Allahyarzadeh*, N. Zendehdel, GH. R. Saberi, P. Dehghan, F. Ahdeno, J. Kavid
Technical Protection and Corrosion Engineering Department, Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), Iran

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The aim of this paper is to suggest an effective procedure to eliminate a major deficiency in impressed
Received 6 October 2014 current cathodic protection (CP). Current work describes performed activities through jetty cathodic
Received in revised form protection troubleshooting as a case study. Although CP troubleshooting is straightforward, sometimes it
30 October 2014
is very complicated and confusing. To eliminate the appeared imperfection, different procedures were
Accepted 29 November 2014
Available online 2 December 2014
carried out; the root cause of the trouble in the system was shown to be in reversed current. Here the
current which passed throughout installed junction were measured to survey reversed current. Current
work offers a new approach in CP troubleshooting.
Cathodic protection
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corrosion monitoring

1. Introduction 2. Brief summary of the problem

Corrosion management has an important role in corrosion en- ICS which has been applied on a jetty shown in Fig. 1, cathodi-
gineering through different industries. According to “Corrosion cally protected the submerged parts of that. This ICS was
Costs and Preventive Strategies in the United States,” which was comprising a rectifier/transformer with the maximum voltage of
supported by FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) and NACE 50 V and the maximum current of 150 A and also six leadesilver
(National Association of Corrosion Engineers), the total cost of submersed anode in order to distribute the current more uniformly
corrosion was estimated about $276 billion, which is about through entire of immersed structures. For more assurances
3.1 percent of gross national product (GNP) (Roberge, 2008). One regarding to establish the CP circuit, the electrical connections
primary methods of corrosion control which applied extensively in which denoted by J connect the bridges to Loading (L.D.), Berthing
offshore oil industries for submerged metal structures is cathodic (B), and Mooring (M) structures electrically. Since the minimum
protection. Cathodic protection has been applied in two methods: cathodic potential for full protection is 800 mV with respect to
impressed current systems (ICS) and sacrificial anodes. In an (w.r.t) Ag/AgCl/Sea-water electrode based on NACE TM0497 (NACE,
impressed current system (ICS) a direct current is applied through 2002), monitoring of cathodic potential of the jetty structure
water from a source outside the structure to the structure (Morgan, revealed that only the immersed Loading structures were near the
1987; Uhlig and Revie, 2011). Applying the ICS for corrosion control fully protected conditions; and other underwater structures,
is not sufficient and use of monitoring is necessary to ensure its including B1, B2, M1 and M2 were not protected and based on NACE
performance (Wang et al., 2014). However, the basic fundamentals TM0497 they were corroding. The problem was the lack of full
of ICS seem to be easy and straightforward, troubleshooting of protection criteria in B1, B2, M1 and M2. Table 1 represents the
these systems is sometimes very complicated and confusing. Pre- potential of the jetty with respect to an Ag/AgCl/Sea-water refer-
sent paper investigates the troubleshooting of ICS, which has been ence electrode before troubleshooting. Fig. 2 schematically depicts
applied on a jetty as a case study. distribution of rectified current among immersed 30inch
leadesilver anodes. The history of the jetty and previous field data
exhibited that, in the ordinary conditions, the jetty should be
protected by applying a cathodic current about 100e105 A. Hence,
first of all, the overall cathodic current was increased up to 103 A.
* Corresponding author. However, this increase led to fully protection of underwater parts of
E-mail address: (M.H. Allahyarzadeh). Loading and B1, the other structures, especially the last one (M2)
0950-4230/© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

D. Therefore. the jetty should be fully in different steps were conducted. The current distribution was measured ments regarding to the rectifier were in their normal state. M1 (Mooring). Based on the current distribution among immersed anodes shown in Fig. the potentials of M2. the problem was corresponded to an assumption or a its initial value 7. did not eliminate the problem completely.H. Therefore. M. Vdc Inet dc M2 M1 B2 B1 L. current consumption in A4 anode as shown in Fig. but it led current increased up to 135 A. and electrical joints from J1 to J16. this led to increase of the rectifier specific part of cathodic protection systems (CPS). The new one has been subjoined to increase the current 3. voltages of transformer/rectifier were also increased to 8. respectively. This increase in current consumption and were not protected. Anode replacement/addition. B2. M2. New condition. however. the applied cathodic ture.4 115 736 781 812 831 861 was expected that the least current consumed here might be the After third step 9. and Reversal current. next phases were carried out. Schematic of side and top view of jetty including Loading. The new condition. performed activities protected by this amount of current). leads to increasing up tion. 3 Transformer/rectifier. Fig. anode A4 was removed and a new leadesilver was working properly and all the current and voltage measure. and it After second step 8. Further cathodic potential were much more than it was expected.5 A to 22 A. the D. in Detailed surveying of the transformer/rectifier has shown that it the second step. several main solutions tential measurements and previous data. M1 and M2 structures was also evident hence another new anode named (A10 ) was added next to the first. / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 124e128 125 Fig.r. therefore. ICS troubleshooting was carried out in four independent phases. Before troubleshooting 7.5 80 704 717 722 734 762 After first step 8. separately in each phase. Replacing this anode increased the current consumption of A3 anode from 2. Schematic distribution of rectified current among immersed leadesilver anodes before troubleshooting. an Ag/AgCl/Sea water reference electrode). after first step. Allahyarzadeh et al.C. and B1 structures. lack of full protection in B1. . the A3 anode consumed the least current amount. B1 (Berthing).5 V. After this step. Results consumption and distribution through M2 and M1 structure. After in new condition after devoting appropriate time for full polariza- investigating transformer/rectifier and ensuring its normal condi. Fig. M1. This problem was dominant. cathodic potentials. even so. 3. In order to output current up to 103 A (Based on the history of structure po- remove the failure.5 135 749 797 827 839 891 reason of the failure. led to decrease of the quantity of The starting point for all troubleshooting in ICS is the rectifier. In order to increase the cathodic current over the structures. a new one replaced this anode. B. the first assumption was about the A3 anode. As represented in Table 1. Ag/AgCl/Sea-water reference electrode.r.t. External con- and Table 1 represent the new current distribution and jetty sumers/interference risk. Table 1 2nd phase: anode replacement/addition Jetty cathodic potentials (emV) w. tion. after second step.t. and they were corroding based the existed enhancing to better current distribution over the immersed struc- criteria.8 V from In each phase. anode was also employed. and B2 structures were still less than the required amount for full protec- 1st phase: transformer/rectifier tion (800 mV w.D. to increase in the cathodic potential of L. 2. The main phases are: measurements were performed after complete polarization. 2. 1. however.8 103 750 791 793 800 849 In this stage. after first step.

Therefore. interference. B2. but the problem was not removed completely. and these operations The new amount of currents passed throughout J1 to J16 electrical revealed that there was no external object. but no noticeable increase However. the increase occurred anodes the problem would be solved. This action. the reversed currents were measured again. This assumption became more evident when the welded joints of the jetty. applying mentioned activities did not remove Despite all performed procedures.126 M. which consumes the excess reversed current might return through the metallic structures and applied current. and A2 in M2 cathodic potential. It was expected that by increasing the overall current in the Consecutive increase in net applied current led to small increment system and compensate the current shortage in A1. the inspection of the reversed current concentrated on the M2 structure. After reno- in previous phase. These structures subsequently owing to less current distribution as a actions were repeated in a sequential manner (i.H.5 V. / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 124e128 Fig. led to increase of the net current distribution and consequently increase in potentials. this assumption inspired the current distribution near M1 and M2 structure has been increased authors to renovate the electrical joints from J1 to J16. As a rule of thumb. but it lowered the potentials of M1 and M2 cathodic potential of M2 structure was measured accurately. the problem has not been the problem completely. A1 and A10 have been system near the transformer/rectifier. As denoted above. Therefore.e. in cathodic potential deduced the risk of interference approxi- the voltage of transformer/rectifier was raised up to 9. rectifier voltage result of new arrangement. The voltage of transformer/ through protected structures to the rectifier was carried out. diving operation was carried out. the potentials of B1. Therefore. A10. and the areas were joints revealed that the amount of crossed currents in each joint completely clear. a more detailed surveying substituted variously. Fig. For this in the system. the problem has been increased. was noticeably increased. and A2 anodes and current increment could demonstrate the certain presence of consequently increasing up the potential of M1 and M2 structures. in the third phase. Schematic distribution of rectified current among immersed leadesilver anodes after second step. but no significant improvement was occurred needed to investigate the reversal current thoroughly. 4. however. The measured cathodic potential of the Mentioned conditions made the risk of interference to be jetty structures demonstrated that. the net current in was equal to the net current out of the was observed in M2 structure potential. A10. partial amount of external object around M2 on sea bed. vation of the joints. and Loading structures due to devoting applied current and stabilizing polarization phenomenon. This assumption that the whole of current could not return completely back through the structures and The first assumption. they were 3rd phase: external consumers/interference risk nearly disconnected). Measurements became more evident. Fig. revealed that. Fig. Results exhibited that the trouble occurrence problems were present or not the voltage of transformer/rectifier was mainly owing to incompetency of reversal current. Therefore. in the third step. however. the more current (Fig. 6 shows has been increased one more time again. 4). Allahyarzadeh et al. J13 and J16 joints no current was crossed through (i. the amount of passed currents was measured through the did not affect the structure potential. After the third step.e. and in J10. the complexity of the problem electrical junctions from J1 to J16 depicted in Fig. 3. 1. Schematic distribution of rectified current among immersed leadesilver anodes after first step. the summation of reversed current was not equal to the quantity of current applied for the protection of the jetty. After increasing the total the reversed current values before and after renovation of joints. rectifier has been severally increased. Since addition of one more anode near M2 structure purpose. the main problem was solved yet. 5 shows the current distribution among 4th phase: reversal current immersed anodes after the third stage. and no significant improvement was observed. As a simple test to evaluate whether the interference completely solved. was the presence of an electrical joints became more evident. in order mately while any decrease in cathodic potential as a result of the to increase the consuming current of A1. . increasing and subsequently measuring M2 structure potential).

1996): tem only near the transformer/rectifier. whereas this critical subject was ignored through corrosion and the principal cathodic reaction is (Morgan. Ag/AgCl/Sea-water reference electrode after renova- current flow is reversed by this electrochemical phenomenon and tion of electrical junctions. It seems that. the structure surface becomes the cathode upon which reaction (2) Test M2 M1 B2 B1 Loading occurs. 1991). (1) conductivity. 6. In the mentioned system. This will cause corrosion of the metal whereas this critical subject was ignored through corrosion moni. is forgotten sometimes.e. Roberge. Results here. and it is necessary  to recheck the reversal current in a scheduled monitoring program O2 þ 2H2O þ 4e / 4OH (2) to prevent such failures (Table 2). cathodic po- 2008): tential measurement individually is not enough. rent through the system (point by point) and controlling of the 2008): metallic path to return the reversal current through. the reactions will be shifted by an amount depending on the direction and magnitude of the current (Roberge. the problem has been completely eliminated by removing incompetency in reversal current. It is necessary that current to be reversed properly through points structure structure structure structure structure the CP system. (6) presence of bio. The Jetty cathodic potentials w. it is a common rule for There are many factors affecting the corrosion in the corrosive inspectors to measure the current-out and the current-in the sys- media.e. 996 1012 969 971 997 (emV) easily throughout its circuit. tion of junction points brings proper paths for current. with lower resistance to pass. clearly illustrated the importance of reversal current.H. such as (Brichau and Deconinck. (5) presence of sulfates and chlorides. Schematic of reversal current throughout electrical joints: (a) before and (b) after the renovation. And this phenomenon led to corrosion cathodic (reduction) reactions occur. and might return through the corroding electrochemical corrosion process. at the point where the current leaves (Piron. 4. 1987. During the the metallic structure. Discussion The fact of reversed current and its monitoring through the system. it was possible that parts of current did not return from logical species and (7) presence of stray currents. Monitoring of reversal cur- in the corrosion of offshore structures is (Morgan. here sea water). 5. (2) aeration and permeability.t. hence it will find an easier direction . the net current in the system was equal to the net midity. polarization). The principal anodic reaction of structures at where the current left. however. When the structure is placed under the control of a suitable CP.r. Fig. (3) acidity. monitoring and CP troubleshooting.. Allahyarzadeh et al. (4) hu.e. Roberge. 1994.P. Fe / Fe2þ þ 2e (1) Results here clearly illustrated the importance of reversal cur- rent. resistance increase in junction box) the current could not pass C. When a barrier is placed in current flow path (i. different anodic (oxidation) and media (i. Schematic distribution of rectified current among immersed leadesilver anodes after third step. is the unre- garded key point in the CP monitoring schedule. even though. / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 124e128 127 Fig. M. 2008) (i. Brichau et al. the anodic reactions are trans- Table 2 ferred from the structure to the impressed current anodes. If an external current (cathodic current) were to be impressed on the corroding structure. Since renova- toring and CP troubleshooting. current out. 1987.

Corrosion 50. J..... One of the important subjects in cathodic protection is the quantity of reversal current. Deconinck. Mr. F. Wang. sometimes it will be extremely confusing and complicated. F. Roberge. Wang.. Houston Univ. Modeling of underground cathodic protection stray currents. H. The first author specially would like to appreciate Mr.. Houston. Acknowledgments Uhlig. 1987. 480e488. 2002.. A numerical model for cathodic protection of buried and controlling of the metallic path to return the reversal current pipes. however. Q. Corrosion Engineering: Principles and Practice. 2014. J. Uhlig's Corrosion Handbook. vol.H. D. is essential to prevent of such failures in CPS. is the unregarded key point in the CP monitoring Brichau. McGraw-Hill. TM 0497e2002. R.. Experimental studies of crevice corrosion The authors gratefully thank the National Iranian Oil Company for buried pipeline with disbonded coatings under cathodic protection. Cathodic Protection. / Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 33 (2015) 124e128 5. J. Conclusion Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) for their financial supports. Deconinck. Loss (NIOC) and research and development department at Iranian Prev. John Wiley & Sons. 2011.. 39e49.. Measurement Techniques Related to Criteria for through these electrical joints as a scheduled monitoring program Cathodic Protection on Underground or Submerged Metallic Piping Systems. 29. Mortza Hoseinieh and CP troubleshooting is very easy and straightforward. The Electrochemistry of Corrosion. welded joints could not completely return the applied current. 2008. Piron. Monitoring of reversal current through the system (point by point) Brichau.. Results exhibited that the trouble occurrence was mainly owing to incompetency of reversal current.. The failure References was completely removed by renovation of electrical junctions.. NACE. . 1996. Hence measuring the cathodic potentials of protected Morgan. Wang.H. J...128 M. schedule.L.. T. Saeed Hatami for their sincere cooperation. Here. Corrosion 52.W. 51. Driesens. 1994. Process Ind. structures is not sufficient and monitoring of reversal current NACE. T. P.R. Yi. W. C. through. 1991. Allahyarzadeh et al. Revie. 163e169. J. second ed. Houston. New York.