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Pipeline Abandonment Research Steering Committee

Project Description
PARSC 001 Understanding the Mechanisms of Corrosion and their
Effects on Abandoned Pipelines
Date: March 22, 2013

Purpose
On behalf of the Pipeline Abandonment Research Steering Committee (PARSC), PTAC wishes to
retain the services of a research organization or consulting firm to provide the services
described in this document.

PARSC Program Background


Pipeline abandonment refers to the permanent removal from service of a pipeline. Depending
on a number of factors, sections of pipeline may be abandoned in place or removed.
CEPA, the National Energy Board (NEB), the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AEUB) and the
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) have collaborated on technical and
environmental issues associated with pipeline abandonment, which issues were discussed in
the documents referenced below. In 1996, the NEB published a review document titled
Pipeline Abandonment A Discussion Paper on Technical and Environmental Issues. In 2007,
CEPA published a report titled Pipeline Abandonment Assumptions which discussed technical
and environmental considerations for development of pipeline abandonment strategies. A
comprehensive review was undertaken by the NEB as part of the Land Matters Consultation
Initiative (LMCI) which involved four discussion papers on the different topic areas, 45 meetings
and workshops in 25 communities across Canada, and written submissions from 13 parties. The
final LMCI report, published in 2009 recommended that knowledge gaps on the physical issues
of pipeline abandonment be addressed. Thus, Det Norske Veritas (DNV) was commissioned to
conduct a literature review regarding the current understanding worldwide with respect to the
physical and technical issues associated with onshore pipeline abandonment and use the
results of the literature review to critically analyze and identify gaps in current knowledge, and
make recommendations as to potential future research projects that could help to fill those
gaps. DNV published this Scoping Study in November 2010.
CEPA and PTAC have established the Pipeline Abandonment Research Steering Committee
(PARSC) as a framework for collaboration to guide and direct innovation and applied research,
technology development, demonstration, and deployment in order to address knowledge gaps
summarized in the DNV Scoping Study.

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Pipeline Abandonment Research Steering Committee

Research findings from the PARSC projects will be shared on a broad scale throughout the
pipeline industry, the oil and gas industry, as well as with regulators, government agencies, and
other stakeholders.

Project Description
Applicants are expected to read relevant sections of the above referenced DNV Scoping Study
as the following project description was informed by it and information is not repeated herein.
This project is composed of 3 subprojects that may require different sets of skills and expertise.
However, they are interrelated and PARSC recommends that applicants form teams or
collaborations in order to address cross-impacts and to present an integrated final outcome.
While an integrated proposal from a multi-disciplinary team is the preferred approach, the
Steering Committee will entertain proposals limited to one or two subprojects.
The 3 subprojects are:
Validation of Corrosion Models for Abandoned Pipelines
Structural Integrity Study
Collapse of Soil under Different Void Sizes, Soil Types and Depth of Pipeline Cover
Defining Research Scope
Based on past studies, it is expected that a pipeline abandoned in place will degrade under the
influence of internal and/or external corrosion. The first subproject will validate a model for
estimating the rate and extent of corrosion and time to pipeline perforation. Corrosion would
result in pipeline perforation and a loss of pipeline wall thickness. The second subproject will
estimate the loss of structural integrity as corrosion perforates the pipe in some locations and
reduces overall wall thickness. Eventually, the loss of structural integrity results in the inability
of the pipe to support loads from the soil cover and/or from heavy vehicles passing over it. The
third subproject will study the mechanisms of soil collapse under a number of scenarios.
While the relationships between the 3 subprojects can be appreciated in the sequence of
mechanisms that may follow abandonment, their critical impact on predicting the fate of an
abandoned pipeline can be illustrated by some scenarios. For example, it is possible that
corrosion would be the fastest at the bottom of the pipe where water may accumulate.
However, corrosion in the top of the pipe may be the factor that governs the impact on
structural integrity. Another example is that corrosion may first result in localized perforation
before meaningful loss of overall wall thickness. These perforations may allow the gradual
movement of soil cover into the pipeline, thereby filling the pipeline void and reducing the risk
and extent of sudden soil collapse and subsidence.

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Past studies and consultations have indicated that stakeholders are concerned about
abandoned medium and large diameter pipelines and the possibility of their sudden collapse
under the load of passing heavy equipment. This project will therefore focus on the fate of
medium diameter (>12 inches to 24 inches) and large diameter (24 inches and larger) pipelines.
The 3 subprojects are described below.

1. Validation of Corrosion Models for Abandoned Pipelines


Subproject Background
The California State Department of Transportation has developed a model for culvert failure
from corrosion, which is based on field data for the time to perforation of culverts in various
soils in California. The model is very simplistic, incorporating soil pH and resistivity, but is
reasonable based on extensive research on the topic over the past century. However, the
model has not been validated for thicker structures, such as underground pipelines. Estimates
of penetration depth versus time for pipelines are needed, for incorporation in plastic
instability models, in order to determine the time of collapse for these structures.

Objective and Scope


There is a need to model the corrosion of abandoned thick-wall pipelines. As starting point, it is
suggested that the extension of the California Culvert Corrosion Model for the thicker shell
walls associated with abandoned pipelines be considered. However, other existing models
known to the applicant that could be extended and validated for abandoned pipelines will also
be considered.
The scope of work will be to analyze the extensive underground corrosion data available in the
literature and use relevant data to extend the California Culvert Corrosion Model or other
existing model for general corrosion of the thicker pipeline steels. Key objectives are to
estimate the rate and extent of corrosion and to predict the time to perforation of abandoned
pipelines.
If after review and analysis of the California Culvert Corrosion Model or other existing model, it
is determined that they cannot be validated for abandoned pipelines, the project would
recommend next steps for the development of a model that could be validated.
Eventually, the abandoned pipeline corrosion model would be incorporated with an actual
collapse model to predict the time to collapse as a function of soil properties and pipeline
dimensions.

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Pipeline Abandonment Research Steering Committee

Expected Result
The results of the research will be a validated prediction model for penetration versus time of
abandoned pipelines, as a function of soil properties. If the selected model cannot be validated,
the result will be recommended next steps for the development of a model that could be
validated.

Deliverables
1. Corrosion model validated for abandoned pipelines or next steps for the development of
a model that could be validated
2. Progress and technical reviews with the Steering Committee
3. Draft report
4. Final report
5. One final presentation to the Steering Committee.

Schedule
It is expected that the time required to complete the project will be in the order of six months.
The applicant will propose a schedule to complete the project.

Confidentiality
The successful applicant will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement related to the
project. Disclosure of any project information will be at the discretion of the Steering
Committee.

2. Structural Integrity Study


Project Background
No information was found in the literature on the topic of structural integrity of abandoned
pipelines and on methods for assessing their collapse when corrosion reaches a critical value.
On the other hand, API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 provides methods for assessing the fitness for service
of pipe with general or local metal loss and external pressure loading that could be applied to
abandoned pipelines with external pressure loading from soil. Paragraph A.4.4 in Annex A of
this standard provides equations for calculating allowable thickness, maximum pressure, and
stress on cylindrical shells subject to external pressure. Paragraph B1.4 in Annex B1 of this
standard provides guidelines for performing stress analysis to protect against collapse from
buckling.
However, the methods in API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 may not be directly applicable to pipeline
abandonment as written because they were developed for application to pressure vessels and

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Pipeline Abandonment Research Steering Committee

piping in operating facilities. A detailed review and evaluation of these methods is needed to
assess their applicability to pipeline abandonment issues.

Objective and Scope


The purpose of the project is to evaluate the potential for using the methods in API 579-
1/ASME FFS-1 and/or other similar methods for applicability to abandoned pipelines and for
potentially predicting time to structural failure. The review should include evaluating whether
the fitness-for-service assessment procedures can be tailored directly to pipeline abandonment
issues.

Expected Result
The research would determine the extent to which the methods in API 579-1/ASME FFS-1
and/or other similar methods could be applied to abandoned pipelines. A detailed review and
evaluation of these methods is needed to assess their applicability to pipeline abandonment
issues.

Deliverables
1. Progress and technical reviews with the Steering Committee
2. Draft report
3. Final report
4. One final presentation to the Steering Committee.

Schedule
It is expected that the time required to complete the project will be in the order of six months.
The applicant will propose a schedule to complete the project.

Confidentiality
The successful applicant will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement related to the
project. Disclosure of any project information will be at the discretion of the Steering
Committee.

3. Development of a Scope of Work for the Study of Collapse of Soil under Different Void
Sizes, Soil Types and Depth of Pipeline Cover
Project Background
If corrosion of an abandoned pipe reduces its load carrying capacity and if external loading
exceeds that reduced capacity, the pipe could collapse. If the pipeline is removed from the

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ground, or completely corroded, a void would be created within the ground, which could result
in a potential for collapse.
There have been studies conducted in attempt to determine the effects of pipeline collapse on
the ground surface and establish whether significant subsidence will result. A 1996 report
prepared for the NEB by Geo-Engineering (M.S.T.) LTD. modelled conditions wherein significant
soil cover collapse would be observed. The results of the study concluded that it is improbable
that substantial subsidence would occur simultaneously over a long stretch of pipe and the
likely scenario would be slow loss of ground into a perforated pipe. The study also concluded
that, depending on soil bulking factor and for a 1 m depth of burial, 300 mm diameter voids are
the maximum size that would result in little or no subsidence. The study also indicated that
more research is required with regards to soil-pipeline interaction and the effects of time on
the system. It is expected that, in the long term, any pipeline left in place would eventually
degrade to the point that a void exists in the ground.
It was proposed that the mechanism of soil collapse could be studied in three ways;
1. Examining recently pulled pipelines to determine actual collapse and magnitude of the
resulting surface effect. This could involve the study of existing abandoned pipelines,
and include setting up survey points for multiple year studies to examine the eventual
collapse of the soil into the void.
2. Creating voids in soils and accelerating the collapse (this study should examine different
pipe sizes, soil types, depths of burial and moisture conditions). This could involve
setting up a test area with a known soil type and moisture, installing a pipeline and
compacting the soil, and later removing the pipe and monitoring the collapse depth and
timing.
3. Model studies using centrifuges. This type of study could be similar in scope to item two
above, except that the use of a centrifuge would allow control of the soil used, pipeline
diameters and depth of cover. The tests could be conducted on a small scale basis and
the centrifuge would be used to determine the long term effect.
The studies described above could be costly and require a number of years to complete.
Therefore, careful thought and analysis is required to develop a scope of work that would form
the basis for a decision to invest in the proposed research.

Objective and Scope


PTAC is requesting proposals to prepare a Scope of Work for research and or study of the
collapse of soil under different void sizes, soil types and depth of cover. The Scope of Work
would include:

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A review of potential research or study methodologies, including but not limited to the 3
approaches outlined above;
Work packages for each proposed method, including estimates of cost and time
required;
Suggested prioritization for the work packages, with supporting rationale.
The Scope of Work, as submitted or modified, would become the subject of a subsequent
Request for Proposals.

Expected Result
The results of the Scope of Work will be research to develop a model to determine the effects
of different soil types and moisture conditions on the potential for soil collapse once a pipeline
is pulled out or fails due to corrosion.

Deliverables
1. Progress and technical reviews with the Steering Committee
2. Draft Scope of Work document
3. Final Scope of Work document
4. One final presentation to the Steering Committee.
Schedule
It is expected that the time required to complete the project will be in the order of six months.
The applicant will propose a schedule to complete the project.

Confidentiality
The successful applicant will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement related to the
project. Disclosure of any project information will be at the discretion of the Steering
Committee.

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