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ASTM sees no added pipeline corrosivity from oil sands crude

Tests performed by ASTM International have determined that bitumen-derived crude oil is no more corrosive in transmission pipelines than other crudes. ASTM published these findings in its Guide G205, measuring the corrosivity of a variety crude oils under pipeline conditions. The findings were based on research conducted by several organizations including the CANMET Laboratories of Natural Resources Canada.

NRC says the low corrosivity of all crude oils—including bitumen-derived crude in transmission pipelines regulated by the National Energy Board—comes from removing the bulk of corrosive (water) and erosive (mud, sand) constituents upstream of the pipelines. Current requirements mandate basic sediment and water content of less than 0.5% by volume for transport in transmission pipelines regardless of the crude’s source.

NRC also points out that crude oils, including bitumen-derived crudes, contain little or no carbon dioxide or hydrogen sulfide. Transmission pipelines’ operation at below 60° C. also prevents formation of naphthenic acid and sulfur compounds that can cause corrosion under refinery conditions (>200° C.), NRC also noted. Pipelines carrying bitumen-derived crude oil operate at roughly the same pressure levels as pipelines carrying other crude oils.

NRC described Guide G205, which details test methods allowing direct comparison of the corrosivity of crude oils from various sources, as a step toward creating an industry-wide standard test to measure the corrosivity of different crude oils under pipeline conditions.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at

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