Companies launch subsea pipeline corrosion research


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Apr. 4�InterCorr International Inc., Houston, and Shell Global Solutions (US), a division of Shell Oil Products Co., have launched an industry program to improve systems for monitoring corrosion and flow assurance in subsea pipelines.

Andrea Ethridge, InterCorr senior consultant, said corrosion-related failures, or excessive corrosion rates in deep water, can be extremely expensive if left unchecked.

''You can't easily send a person down 3,000 to 9,000 ft to check on deep-water pipelines. You can't easily intervene if problems develop, either. The systems that monitor oil and gas production and the corrosion of pipelines must be fail-safe and in place when the flow lines are installed on the ocean floor,'' Ethridge said.

Other oil companies involved in the program are BP PLC, Venezuela�s Petroleos de Venezuela SA, and Brazil�s Petroleos Brasileiro SA.

Etheridge said, �We expect to have about 10 to 15 participants in the program, including oil and gas producers, major suppliers and service companies.''

InterCorr said offshore enters flow lines at high temperatures but then cools rapidly, causing precipitation of water that increases corrosivity and can also cause deposits of waxy substances, both of which can jeopardize flow.

It said until recently, producers saw the rate of flow and corrosion of pipelines as independent problems. The study will address both of these concerns and seek a common solution.

InterCorr said one of the problems is that operators have limited monitoring options and none has been proven in deep water service. The program will seek to integrate several monitoring capabilities into a single unit and verify their performance under simulated deep water conditions in advance of a field trial.

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