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El Paso Corporation

Enhancing Pipeline Integrity with

Early Detection of Internal Corrosion
Drew Hevle
Principal Corrosion Engineer
El Paso Corporation

NACE Houston Section

June 9, 2009

This presentation discusses components of
an internal corrosion control program for
natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline
It is not a discussion of the policies and
practices of any particular pipeline operator

Internal Corrosion
Four things are necessary in order for a
corrosion cell to form:

Metallic path

For internal corrosion to occur, an electrolyte

(usually liquid water) must be present

Internal Corrosion Cell



Metallic path

Sources of Water
Natural gas transmission pipelines typically
transport tariff-quality gas, or dry gas
Gas quality specifications designate a maximum
moisture vapor content at a level where liquid water
will not condense in the pipeline system under
normal operating conditions
Natural gas pipelines that transport hydrocarbon
liquids and hazardous liquids pipelines typically
allow BS&W including liquid water

Sources of Water
Water accidentally introduced into the pipeline
Upsets of liquid water at system inputs from
production or storage
High water vapor that allows liquid water to
condense under operating conditions
Failures to dehydration equipment can introduce
water, water vapor, and glycol, which is hygroscopic
Maintenance pigging and gas flow can move water
to unexpected places

Sources of Water
Water intentionally introduced into the
Hydrotesting (long exposures, water quality,
dewatering effectiveness)
Water used to carry chemical treatments
Self-inflicted (cleaning, management of
pyrophoric materials, maintenance of
dehydration equipment)
Methanol injection to prevent freezing

Testing for water

Product quality monitoring at system inputs
Automated testing at inputs and in flow
Liquid sampling (drips, pigging operations,
vessels, sample pots)
Testing for increases in water vapor content
can identify areas of liquid holdup

Facilities design (filter/separators)
Appropriate product quality standards
Product quality enforcement actions
Customer quality assurance valves
Tracing the source and correcting problems
Dehydration and liquid removal
Effective de-watering following hydrotesting

Removing Water
Re-absorption into gas stream
Maintenance pigging
Flow velocity
Line sweeping (increased velocities [but not too
Liquid removal devices such as pipeline drips,
filters, separators, slug catchers
If these devices arent properly maintained, then you
are simply moving the corrosion from the pipeline to
the liquid removal device

Removing Water
Conditions that may prevent water removal
Repeated upsets
Glycol can absorb water from low levels of water
Low/no flow
Poor design, such as crevices, dead legs and
diameter changes
Sediment accumulation

If You Find Water

Determine if it is an upset or persistent condition
Determine the extent of pipeline affected
Remove the water, if practical
Gas and hydrocarbon liquids are not corrosive.
Water may not be corrosive; pure condensed water
has a very low conductivity
Corrosive constituents in gas and liquids can
accelerate corrosion rates

If You Find Water

Perform testing on water to determine
Monitor with coupons/probes/other
technology to determine if it is corrosive
If the condition is persistent and the water is
corrosive, implement a mitigation program
Use chemical analysis to trace possible
offenders (e.g. glycol)

Liquid and Solid Sampling

Onsite testing

Test for water

Dissolved H2S
Bacteria culture

Liquid and Solid Sampling

Laboratory testing

Test for water

Compositional analysis
Corrosion products
Other tests

Gas sampling
Water vapor
Carbon dioxide
Hydrogen sulfide
Other tests

Internal Corrosion Mitigation

Remove water/corrosive constituents
Chemical treatment (batch or injection)
Internally coat (not a great option without
cathodic protection, in many cases)
Cathodic protection (usually not practical
except for vessels/tanks)
Material selection (usually not practical)

Internal Corrosion Mitigation

Mitigation systems have to be monitored. For
example, for a chemical injection system:
Check pumps periodically to ensure proper
Compare specified chemical injection rates with
actual chemical consumption
Test the chemical periodically to ensure that you are
receiving the proper chemical at the specified
Monitor downstream for residuals to ensure proper
distribution of chemical
Monitor with coupons to ensure that the chemical is

Measuring Corrosion Rates

In dry gas transmission pipelines, it is difficult to
identify areas likely to have measurable corrosion
rates, since the presence of water is extremely rare
If likely locations for internal corrosion can be
identified, they can be monitored with coupons,
probes, ultrasonic thickness measurements,
ultrasonic thickness arrays, hydrogen permeation,
electrochemical noise, etc.
Advancements in ILI data technologies allow
calculation of internal corrosion rates across more
significant intervals

Integrity Assessment

Trust everyone,
but cut the cards.
- W. C. Fields

Integrity Assessments
Ultrasonic thickness measurements at key
Inspection of internal surface of the pipe
when the pipe is open

Pig launchers/receivers
Meter tubes

Integrity Assessments
Inspection for internal corrosion where historical
accumulations of liquid water may have occurred:
PHMSA Advisory Bulletin ADB-00-02
Drips, deadlegs, and sags, fittings and/or "stabbed"
connections, operating temperature and pressure,
water content, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide
content, carbon dioxide partial pressure, presence of
oxygen and/or bacteria, and sediment deposits, low
spots, sharp bends, sudden diameter changes, and
fittings that restrict flow or velocity.

Integrity Assessments
Periodic integrity assessments
Pressure testing

Most effective prediction models for

pipelines are incorporated into the ICDA
standards (DG-ICDA, LP-ICDA, WG-ICDA)

Integrated programs
An internal corrosion control program is part of
integrity management
The internal corrosion control program should
prevent internal corrosion from occurring, and give
the operator an idea of where and how much
internal corrosion may have occurred
Feedback of the results of integrity inspections to
the internal corrosion control program is essential
to ensure that the program is effective

An internal corrosion control program
consists of many components, including
monitoring, prevention, maintenance,
mitigation, and integrity assessment.
Each component is necessary to a varying
degree depending on the product being
carried, operating history, operating
conditions, risk, and expected life.
An internal corrosion control program must
be tailored to specific pipeline conditions

The best solution is to keep the water out of
the pipe

El Paso Corporation


El Paso Corporation

Enhancing Pipeline Integrity with

Early Detection of Internal Corrosion
Pipeline Integrity Management Conference
March 30th April 1st 2009, Houston, Texas