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Best Practice

SABP-A-019 8 March 2010

Pipeline Corrosion Control
Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control Standards Committee

Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards

Table of Contents

1 Scope and Purpose........................................ 3

2 Conflicts and Deviations................................. 3
3 References..................................................... 3
4 Definitions and Abbreviations......................... 8
5 Pipeline System Description........................... 9
6 Damage Mechanisms................................... 12
7 Mitigation Options......................................... 17
8 Corrosion Monitoring.................................... 20
9 Validation..................................................... 36
10 Record Keeping........................................... 40
11 Contributor Authors...................................... 40

Previous Issue: 1 April 2008 Next Planned Update: TBD

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Primary contact: Khamis, Jamal Najam on 966-3-8747975

CopyrightSaudi Aramco 2010. All rights reserved.

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

Detailed Table of Contents

1 Scope and Purpose 3
2 Conflicts and Deviations 3
3 References 3
4 Definitions and Abbreviations 8
5 Pipeline System Description 9
5.1 Gas Service 10
5.2 Crude Service 10
5.3 Condensate Service 11
5.4 NGL Service 11
5.5 Refined Product Service 11
6 Damage Mechanisms 12
6.1 External Damage Mechanisms 12
6.1.1 External Pipeline Corrosion 12
6.1.2 Sleeve Collapse 13
6.2 Internal Damage Mechanisms 13
6.2.1 Hydrogen Induced Cracking (HIC) and SOHIC 13
6.2.2 Sulfide Stress Cracking 14
6.2.3 Sweet corrosion 14
6.2.4 Sour Corrosion 15
6.2.5 Microbiological Induced Corrosion 15
6.2.6 Black Powder (Sales Gas & Refined Products) 16
7 Mitigation Options 17
7.1 Inhibition 17
7.2 Biocide Treatment 17
7.3 On-stream Scraping 18
7.4 Coatings 18
7.5 Cathodic Protection 19
7.6 Water Dew Point Control & Black Powder Filtration 20
8 Corrosion Monitoring 20
8.1 Types of Metal Loss Coupons 20
8.2 Corrosion and Pitting Rates Calculation 25
8.3 Corrosion Monitoring Location, Insertion & Orientation 25
8.4 Design Basis for Corrosion Monitoring Access Fitting 28
8.5 Safety Issues Related to Coupon Retrieval Operations 30
8.6 Inspection Data 30
8.7 Sampling 31
8.8 Corrosion Data Interpretation and Correlation 32
8.9 On-Line/Real Time Corrosion Monitoring 32
8.10 On-Line Monitoring Field Configuration 34
8.11 CP Monitoring 36
9 Validation 36
9.1 Hydrotest 37
9.2 In-line Inspection 37
9.3 On-stream Inspection 37
9.4 Test & Inspection (T&I) 39
9.5 Risk Based Inspection (RBI) 39
10 Record Keeping 40
11 Contributing Authors 40

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

1 Scope and Purpose

This Best Practice covers primarily transmission pipelines in gas, crude oil, condensate,
NGL, sales gas, and refined product service. Its main intent is to serve as a resource for
field personnel to provide the optimum corrosion management approach for
transmission pipelines. It covers applicable damage mechanisms and lists viable
mitigation and validation options based on established industry guidelines and field

Transmission pipelines play an extremely important role as a means of transporting

hydrocarbon products from production sources to another facility or to terminals.

Unprotected pipelines, whether buried in the ground, exposed to the atmosphere, or

submerged in water, are susceptible to corrosion. Without proper maintenance, every
pipeline system will eventually deteriorate. Corrosion can weaken the structural
integrity of a pipeline and make it an unsafe means for transporting potentially
hazardous materials.

Effective corrosion control can extend the useful life of all pipelines. The increased risk
of pipeline failure far outweighs the costs associated with installing, monitoring, and
maintaining corrosion control systems. Preventing pipelines from deteriorating and
failing will save money, preserve the environment, and protect public safety.

2 Conflicts and Deviations

This Best Practice was written to be consistent with Saudi Aramco and applicable
international standards. If there is a conflict between this Best Practice and other
standards or specifications, please contact the Coordinator of ME&CCD/CSD for

3 References

The following list shows the recommended transmission pipelines corrosion

management practices:

API RP 570 "Piping Inspection Code: Inspection, Repair, Alteration and Re-rating
of In-Service Piping Systems" - Addresses inspection, repair, alteration, and re-
rating procedures for metallic piping systems that have been in service.

API RP 580 Risk Based Inspection

API RP 1632 "Cathodic Protection of Underground Petroleum Storage Tanks and

Piping System"

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

ISO 15156 (NACE MR0175) "Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries - Materials for
Use in H2S-containing Environments in Oil and Gas Production"

NACE 35100 In-Line Nondestructive Inspection of Pipelines - Item No. 24211

NACE RP0102 In-Line Inspection of Pipelines.

Saudi Aramco Engineering Standards & Procedures

SAES-A-007: Hydrostatic Testing Fluids and Lay-up Procedures

This standard establishes requirements to control corrosion and microbiological

damage during and after hydrotesting of new, revalidated, and refurbished
equipment when equipment is hydrotested in accordance with SAES-A-004,
SAES-L-150 or as required by other standards that specifically reference

SAES-A-205: Oilfield Chemicals

This standard establishes requirements for selection, quality assurance, quality

control, and first fill purchase of oilfield chemicals in MSG (Materials Service
Group) 147000. The purpose of this standard is to implement a program that results
in the cost-effective purchase and performance of oilfield chemicals. This
document does not address other chemicals, such as drilling chemicals, water
treatment chemicals, or chemicals used in refinery processes.

SAES-A-206: Positive Material Identification

This standard defines the minimum mandatory requirements for positive material
identification (PMI) of pressure-retaining alloy material components, flange bolting,
welds, weld overlays and cladding. It is intended to ensure that the nominal
composition of the alloy components and associated welds have been correctly
supplied and installed as specified. Where applicable, this entire standard shall be
attached to and made a part of purchase orders. Although this document addresses
PMI requirements for alloy materials, provisions are also given for carbon steels
under certain conditions.

SAES-A-301: Materials Resistant to Sulfide Stress Corrosion Cracking

This standard presents metallic material requirements for resistance to sulfide stress
cracking (SSC) for petroleum production, drilling, gathering and flowline
equipment, field processing facilities, and refining facilities to be used in hydrogen
sulfide (H2S)-bearing hydrocarbon service (liquid, gas, and/or multiphase). This
standard does not include and is not intended to include design specifications. Other
forms of corrosion and other modes of failure, although outside the scope of this

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

standard, should also be considered in design and operation of equipment. Severely

corrosive conditions may lead to failures by mechanisms other than SSC and should
be mitigated by corrosion inhibition or materials selection. This standard includes a
variety of materials that might be used for any given component. The selection of a
specific material for use shall be made on the basis of operating conditions that
include but not limited to: pressure, temperature, system corrosiveness, fluid
properties, and level of applied and residual stress.

SAES-H-002: Internal and External Coatings for Steel Pipelines and Piping

This Standard defines the minimum mandatory internal and external coating
selection requirements for steel pipelines and piping (including associated fittings
and appurtenances) and the mandatory performance requirements of these coatings.
Excluded from this Standard are temporary coatings. This Standard does not
preclude the use of galvanized, alloy, or nonmetallic pipe where allowed by other
Saudi Aramco standards.

SAES-L-105: Piping Material Specifications

This standard covers the minimum mandatory requirements for the material
specifications for piping, valves, and fittings for new piping for use in general,
refining, and utility services, whose design is in accordance with either ASME
B31.1, B31.3, B31.4, or B31.8 Codes.

SAES-L-132: Material Selection for Piping Systems

This standard covers the basic materials of construction for various piping systems
as governed by the fluid to be transported, and supplements the requirements of
piping codes ASME B31. The materials are also subject to the further requirements
and limitations regarding chemical, mechanical and dimensional properties per
specifications stated in this standard.

SAES-L-133: Corrosion Protection Requirements for Pipelines/Piping

This standard specifies minimum mandatory measures to control internal and

external corrosion, and environmental cracking for onshore and offshore pipelines,
plant and platform piping, wellhead piping, well casings, and other pressure-
retaining process equipment.

SAES-L-136: Pipe Selection and Restrictions

This Standard supplements the ASME B31 Piping Codes, provides requirements for
the selection of metallic pipe, and sets certain restrictions on the use of metallic

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

SAES-L-610: Nonmetallic Piping

This Standard covers requirements and limitations for the design, installation and
testing of nonmetallic piping in all areas and in all applications.

SAES-X-400: Cathodic Protection of Buried Pipelines

This standard prescribes the minimum mandatory requirements governing the

design and installation of cathodic protection systems for onshore pressurized buried
metallic pipelines outside of plant facilities.

SAEP-20: Equipment Inspection Schedule

This procedure covers requirements for inspection and testing of static equipment
and external inspection of general equipment as described in the procedure. This
procedure does not cover requirements for preventive maintenance programs of
rotating, electrical, instrumentation, and digital equipment.

SAEP-306: Assessment of the Remaining Strength of Corroded Pipes

This procedure provides guidelines for assessing carbon steel pipelines containing
corrosion metal-loss defects. Application of the guidance will establish the
remaining strength of corroded pipelines and provide the technical basis for
determining the acceptability of anomalies. The assessment methods described in
this procedure are intended to be used on corrosion metal-loss anomalies in
pipelines that have been designed to a recognized pipeline design code, including
but not limited to ASME B31.4, ASME B31.8. The procedure can be used for in-
plant piping designed and constructed.

SAEP-310: Pipeline Repair and Maintenance

This SAEP describes the procedures to be followed for the repair and maintenance
of onshore pipelines, as covered by ASME B31.4 and ASME B31.8. The methods
and procedures set forth herein are minimum requirements and are not a release
from the responsibility for prudent action that circumstances make advisable.

SAEP-333: Cathodic Protection Monitoring

Monitoring of the cathodic protection (CP) systems is required to ensure that the CP
systems perform satisfactorily and the structures receive adequate protection. This
procedure provides the instructions and establishes the responsibilities to monitor
(CP) systems for onshore and offshore facilities.

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

SAEP-343: Risk Based Inspection

This Saudi Aramco Engineering procedure provides key requirements for

conducting risk based inspection studies for in-plant piping and equipment.

SAEP-355: Field Metallography and Hardness Testing

This procedure provides Saudi Aramco guidelines for performing satisfactory

surface replication for the purposes of in-situ metallographic examination or field
metallography and hardness testing on carbon and low-alloy steel plant equipment
and in-plant piping. The procedure is designed to reveal general microstructural
features such as those observed in new or aged metallic components; it is also
tailored to help the metallurgical engineer in the identification/categorization of
surface-breaking defects and flaws of fabrication or service induced origin. The
procedure is also suitable for the assessment of high temperature equipment
operating in the creep domain. Replicas produced in accordance with this procedure
will be acceptable to ASTM E1351-01 (Production and Evaluation of Field
Metallographic Replicas).

SAEP-1135: On-Stream Inspection Administration

This procedure describes the steps necessary to plan and operate a program for the
on-stream inspection (OSI) monitoring of fixed equipment. OSI Monitoring in this
SAEP means the systematic monitoring of piping, pipelines, vessels and tanks for
general loss of wall thickness and localized metal loss.

SAEP-1143: Radiographic Examination

This Engineering Procedure establishes the minimum requirements and describes

the techniques for Radiographic Examination.

SAEP-1144: Magnetic Particle Examination

This Engineering Procedure establishes the minimum requirements and describes

the techniques for magnetic particle (MT) examinations on welds and components
conducted in accordance with the requirements of the referenced codes/standards.

SAEP-1145: Liquid Penetrant Examination

This Engineering Procedure establishes the minimum requirements and describes

the techniques for performing Penetrant Testing (PT) of welds and components
conducted in accordance with the requirements of the referenced Codes and

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

SAEP-1146: Manual Ultrasonic Thickness Testing

This Engineering Procedure provides the general instructions for manual ultrasonic
thickness testing (UTT) of base materials in plates, tubing, pipes, tanks, vessels,
castings and forgings having a nominal wall thickness of 0.050 inch (1.2 mm) to
6.0 inches (150 mm) in accordance with the referenced Codes and Standards. This
procedure is limited to contact testing using longitudinal wave techniques only.

00-SAIP-75: External Visual Inspection Procedure

This Saudi Aramco Inspection Procedure provides guidelines for the external visual
inspection of all existing equipment within Saudi Aramco facilities including
associated structures to identify deficiencies and maintain its integrity.

SAER-2365: Saudi Aramco Mothball Manual

This manual provides basic guidelines and recommendations for the preparation of
detailed procedures for mothballing buildings, oilfield production, processing, and
refining equipment. Due to long range forecasts for crude production In-Kingdom,
some buildings, operating plants and pipeline systems are being considered for
mothballing for a period of 3 - 10 years. Various plants and facilities have already
been mothballed for 2 years and may remain mothballed for an additional 5 to 10

4 Definitions and Abbreviations

API American Petroleum Institute

ASME American Society of Mechanical Engineers
BS&W Basic (Bottom) Sediment and Water
CO2 Carbon Dioxide
EIS Equipment Inspection Schedule
EMAT Electro-Magnetic Acoustic Transducer
FFS Fitness for Service
GAB General Aerobic Bacteria
GOSP Gas Oil Separation Plant
H2 S Hydrogen Sulfide
HIC Hydrogen Induced Cracking
ILI In-Line Inspection
MFL Magnetic Flux Leakage

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
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Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

mpy Mils per Year

MSG Materials Service Group
MIC Microbiologically-Influenced Corrosion
MPT Magnetic Particle Testing
NGL Natural Gas Liquids
OSI Onstream Inspection
PT Penetrant Testing
PMI Positive Material Identification
RE Radiographic Examination
RBI Risk Based Inspection
SAES Saudi Aramco Engineering Standard
SAIP Saudi Aramco Inspection Procedure
SAMSS Saudi Aramco Materials Systems Specification
SCADA Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
SCC Stress Corrosion Cracking
SMYS Specified Minimum Yield Strength
SOHIC Stress Oriented Hydrogen Induced Cracking
SRB Sulfate Reducing Bacteria
SSC Sulfide Stress Cracking
T&I Test and Inspection
TML Thickness Measurement Location
UT Ultrasonic Testing
VE Visual Examination

5 Pipeline System Description

This section of the Pipeline Corrosion Best Practice Manual describes and categorizes the
pipeline network based on its service fluid type: gas, crude, condensate, NGL, and refined
products. Furthermore, each service type is sub-categorized to sour, non-sour, and sweet
services. The data provided in the attached tables include the name of the pipeline,
service type, service condition, coating type, diameter, length, chemical treatment, and
onstream scraping frequency (onstream scraping frequency is subject to change). Also,
some of the pipelines listed in subsequent tables may be mothballed. Detailed SIS data,

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

drawings, etc. for each pipeline can be viewed at http://eptdv2/webforms/main.aspx


5.1 Gas Service

The gas service can be categorized under three service types: sour, non-sour, and
sweet (CO2 containing gas). Sour gas service pipelines flow from the GOSP to
the gas plants. Some GOSPs reheat the sour gas stream up to 165F to prevent
liquid from dropping out as the gas cools down the pipeline. Enough corrosion
inhibitor solution (Champion KR-2237X or ATROS Dodigen 1641X) is injected
into the sour gas stream to turn it into a two phase regime to properly disperse
the corrosion inhibitor. The specified amount of corrosion inhibitor injected in
sour gas pipelines is based on the maximum operating temperature: 0.5 gallon
inhibitor/MMSCFD at <50C and 1.0 gallon inhibitor/MMSCFD at 50C. The
amount of water moisture in the sour gas stream varies from GOSP to GOSP.

Sweet service gas pipelines flow from the well head to the gas plants at
Hawiyah. Champion KRN-264 corrosion inhibitor is injected into sweet service
pipelines at 3.0 pints/MMSCFD of gas. The amount of water moisture in sweet
service pipelines varies from non-detected to 1700 PPMV @ 120 psig
depending on which wells are produced.

Non-sour gas service pipelines flow from gas plants to Saudi Aramco customers.
The sour gas flowing into the gas plants goes through sweetening and
dehydration processes to produce non-sour gas. The maximum water moisture
in sales gas pipelines is 7.0 lbs. of water per MMSCFD of non-sour gas as
specified in A120 Dry Gas Specifications. No corrosion inhibitor is injected in
non-sour gas pipelines because it is considered as non-corrosive.

Tables 5.1.1, 5.1.2 and 5.1.3 in the Appendix list the sour, non-sour, and sweet
gas service pipelines, respectively.

5.2 Crude Service

The crude service can be categorized under two service types: sour and non-
sour. The sour crude service pipelines flow from the GOSPs to either Abqaiq
Plant in the southern area or from Abu Ali to Ras Tanura Refinery in the
northern operating area. Champion AR-505 corrosion inhibitor is injected into
all sour crude pipelines at a rate of 20 ppm in the maximum water volume. The
maximum BS&W allowed in sour crude service is 0.2 vol% but typically is
about 0.1 vol% in actual operating situation.

Non-sour stabilized crude flows from Abqaiq Plant to either Ras Tanura Refinery
or Yanbu Refinery and dehydrated and desalted crude flows from Safaniyah to
Ras Tanura Refinery. Biocide will have to be injected into all non-sour crude

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
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Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

service pipelines due to the presence of Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB). The
recommended treatment program consists of 30 to 120 minutes of biocide slug at
250 ppm dosage every month depending on the non-sour crude pipeline. The
maximum BS&W allowed in non-sour crude pipelines is 0.2 vol%.

Tables 5.2.1 and 5.2.2 in the Appendix list the sour and non-sour crude service
pipelines, respectively.

5.3 Condensate Service

Condensate flows from Tanajib Onshore Plant condensate to Berri Gas Plant.
Corrosion inhibitor (Champion 2237D or ATROS 1641D) is injected in all sour
condensate pipelines inside the GOSP between the gas compressors and the fin
fan coolers or Champion AR-505 at Tanajib Onshore Plant for the SBCL-1
pipeline. The amount of water in sour condensate service varies from 1.0 vol%
from Tanajib Onshore Plant and varies from GOSP to GOSP.

Table 5.3.1 in the Appendix lists the condensate service pipelines.

5.4 NGL Service

The NGL service is normally non-sour and comes from either Abqaiq Plant or
gas plants to Ras Tanura Refinery or Yanbu NGL Plant. Champion KR-2237D
or ATROS Dodigen 1641D corrosion inhibitor is injected into QA-10/QRT-10
pipeline at a dosage of 20 ppm at total NGL volume because the service in this
line is considered sour. The amount of water in NGL service varies from
pipeline to another.

Table 5.4.1 lists the NGL service pipelines.

5.5 Refined Product Services

Refined product services include the following:

Jet Fuel.

All refined products come from the crude refinery and flows to either the bulk
plant or airport fueling terminal. No corrosion inhibitor is injected in refined
product pipelines because they are considered non-corrosive. Although, all
diesel is allowed to have a maximum 0.05 vol% BS&W except bunker diesel
which can have as much as 0.10 vol% BS&W.

Table 5.5.1 in the Appendix lists the refined product pipelines.

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
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Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

6 Damage Mechanisms

Corrosion is the dominant contributing factor to failures and leaks in Saudi Aramco
pipelines. Pipelines are susceptible to both internal as well as external corrosion. Internal
corrosion in pipelines is influenced mainly by temperature, pH, carbon dioxide (CO2) and
hydrogen sulfide (H2S) content, water chemistry, flow velocity, microbial contamination,
oil or water wetting, and composition and surface conditions of the metal. For corrosion
to occur in a pipeline there must be liquid water or other electrolyte and the water must be
in a form that can wet the wall of the pipe. Once water wet, the pipe will corrode at a rate
determined by the properties of the water. Pipelines, however, can act as long thin
separators and collect free water in low spots in the line if the velocity of the oil is less
than the entrainment velocity for water in oil. Most of the failures in pipelines are caused
by localized corrosion in the form of isolated pitting.

Internal corrosion in dry gas pipelines normally occurs when upstream gas processing/
dehydrating units deliver gas that does not meet quality specifications with regards to
the water content of the gas or dew point. Presence of a liquid electrolyte (water)
although necessary, is not sufficient for internal corrosion. Gas transmission pipelines
transmit gas with a varied composition with respect to CO2, H2S and also significantly
different operating parameters. Presence of liquid water, although provides a medium
for corrosion, the actual parametric conditions and composition define the extent of
corrosion if any.

6.1 External Damage Mechanisms

Pipelines are subject to external damage due to corrosion and sleeve collapse.

6.1.1 External Pipeline Corrosion

1) Coating Deficiency: This problem can be due to defective coating
(either from poor coating quality, unsuitable coating or application
problem) or badly damaged coating.
2) Poor or Inadequate Cathodic Protection: Shielding of CP current
has been experienced in buried pipelines, particularly, those with
the old tape wrap or coal tar coating system.
3) Stress Corrosion Cracking: There are two types of external SCC
normally found on buried pipelines, namely: high pH (9 to 13) and
near-neutral pH external SCC (5 to 7).

The high pH external SCC caused numerous failures in Saudi

Aramco. There are three common factors that have been found to
cause this problem in Saudi Aramco:
a) Damaged coating, primarily, with tape wrap and coal tar.

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
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b) High residual stress in the pipe.

c) Elevated operating temperature (> 100F).

This experience is consistent with NACE Standard RP0204-2004

Standard Recommended Practice which states the following
factors that make a buried pipeline susceptible to high-pH external
a) The operating stress exceeds 60% of specified minimum yield
strength (SMYS).
b) The operating temperature exceeds 38C.
c) The segment is less than 32 km (20 miles) downstream from
a compressor station.
d) The age of the pipe is greater than 10 years.
e) The coating type is other than fusion-bonded epoxy (FBE).

To date, near-neutral pH external SCC has not been recorded in

Saudi Aramco.

6.1.2 Sleeve Collapse

Use of welded full encirclement metal sleeves has been employed to

repair damaged pipe. There have been isolated cases in which the
sleeved section of the main pipe has collapsed causing the scraper to
jam. It is believed that the atomic hydrogen ions (either from the high
CP current or as product of internal sour corrosion process) have
combined to form hydrogen molecules and accumulated in the annulus
between the sleeve and the main pipe. Once the pressure exceeds the
metal yield strength, the pipe consequently collapses.

6.2 Internal Damage Mechanisms

6.2.1 Hydrogen Induced Cracking (HIC) and SOHIC

HIC and SOHIC failures occur in low strength steels and the failure
mode is ductile. HIC occurs in the base metal along the plate rolling
direction in the absence of any stress. SOHIC is a special form of HIC
that mostly occurs adjacent to the heat affected zone (HAZ) of a weld
seam due to the presence of high stress (applied and/or residual) and can
develop in HIC susceptible or resistant steel. The through thickness
cracks in SOHIC are aligned approximately perpendicular to the applied
stress. These forms of corrosion again are usually controlled by proper
material selection at the design phase of a project. 01-SAMSS-016

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specifies the requirements for testing and qualifying materials for

resistance to HIC and SOHIC. A full discussion of those requirements is
beyond the scope of this document.
Commentary Note:

Inhibition has been successfully used to control HIC in non-HIC-resistant

steel pipelines that were purchased prior to the development of HIC-
resistant pipe specification. Within Saudi Aramco, this technique is
especially used in wet gas pipelines experiencing HIC damage. A
pipeline with HIC damages can still hold its intended operating pressure
as long as no stepwise cracking and/or large HIC blisters (crown cracks)
are present.

6.2.2 Sulfide Stress Cracking

Sulfide stress cracking (SSC) is a form of hydrogen embrittlement

cracking, which occurs when a susceptible material is exposed to a
corrosive environment containing water and H2S at a critical level of
applied or residual tensile stress. SAES-A-301 defines the requirements
for SCC-resistant materials. Generally, SSC is controlled at the
materials selection and fabrication stages of a project. However, as it is
a corrosion phenomenon, controlling corrosion (through effective
inhibition, for example) will also control SSC.

6.2.3 Sweet Corrosion

Material deterioration of carbon and low alloy steels in contact with CO2
dissolved in water is called "sweet corrosion" that has been one of the
important problems in oil and gas industry since 1940 because of both
high corrosion rate and severe localized corrosion. Sweet corrosion
affects the materials used in production, gathering transportation and
processing facilities, resulting in typically pitting (mesa-type) or uniform
metal loss. Mesa can be formed when carbon or low alloy steels are
exposed to flowing wet carbon dioxide conditions at slightly elevated
temperatures. An iron carbonate surface scale will often form in this
type of environment which can be protective rendering a very low
corrosion. However, under the surface shear forces produced by flowing
media, this scale can become damaged or removed and exposure fresh
metal to corrosion. This localized attack produces mesa-like features by
corroding away the active regions and leaving the passive regions
relatively free of corrosion resulting in the surface profile reminiscent of
the mesas produced in rock by wind and water erosion. There are many
parameters controlling sweet corrosion: temperature, CO2 partial
pressure, pH flow rate, flow character, water chemistry, hydrocarbon

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
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type, and material characteristics. Continuous inhibitor treatments are

highly effective in mitigating sweet corrosion.

6.2.4 Sour Corrosion

Sour corrosion occurs when metals are in contact with hydrogen sulfide
dissolved in water. Signs of sour corrosion include the presence of black
corrosion products of iron sulfide and shallow round pits with etched
bottoms. Sour systems generally have lower corrosion rates than do CO2
system in many cases at temperatures below 100C due to the formation
of a protective film of iron sulfide especially at lower temperatures and
low H2S partial pressures. But still sour corrosion can shorten the life
span of carbon steel production tubing in flowing conditions. Sour
corrosion occurs in several forms of hydrogen embrittlement that cause
materials to fail at stress levels below their normal yield strength: sulfide
stress cracking (SSC), hydrogen-induced-cracking (HIC) and stress-
oriented-hydrogen-induced-cracking (SOHIC). Hydrogen sulfide is a
weak acid when dissolved in water, and can act as a catalyst in the
absorption of atomic hydrogen in steel, promoting SSC and HIC in high
and low strength steels, respectively. SOHIC can also occur if the metal
is subjected to cyclic stresses or tensile stress. Selection of materials
resistant to sour corrosion is primarily means of controlling the
embrittlement mechanisms. Inhibitor treatments are oftentimes effective
when general or pitting corrosion occurs in carbon or low alloy systems.

6.2.5 Microbiologically Induced Corrosion (MIC)

Microbiologically induced corrosion (MIC) can degrade the integrity,

safety, and reliability of piping or vessels. Early detection of MIC
problems can only be achieved by routine monitoring of the physical,
chemical, and biological characteristics of piping systems. Lab analyses
are conducted to detect and quantify MIC.

The most harmful and notorious bacteria known to enhance corrosion are
the sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). SRB reduce the sulfate to the
corrosive H2S, which again reacts with the steel surface to form iron
sulfides. Both SRB colony populations and sulfide corrosion
mechanisms are more pronounced in stagnant or near stagnant

SRB are anaerobes that are sustained by organic nutrients. Generally,

they require a complete absence of oxygen and a highly reduced
environment to function efficiently. Nonetheless, they circulate in
aerated waters, including those treated with chlorine and other oxidizers,
until they find a "ideal" environment supporting their metabolism and

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multiplication. Most common strains of SRB grow best at temperatures

from 25 to 35C. A few thermophilic strains capable of survival at
more than 60C have been reported. SRB have been implicated in the
corrosion of most common construction materials including steels, 300
series stainless steels, copper nickel alloys and high nickel molybdenum

SRB are ubiquitous, meaning that they are everywhere. They remain in
soils, surface water streams and waterside deposits in general. Their
mere presence, however, does not mean they are causing corrosion. The
key symptom that usually indicates their involvement in the corrosion
process of ferrous alloys is localized corrosion pits filled with black
sulfide corrosion products.

6.2.6 Black Powder (Sales Gas/Refined Products)

Black powder solids are a worldwide phenomenon in sales gas

transmission pipelines. These solid compounds can delay in-line
inspection, erode control valves, affect metering accuracy and
contaminate customer supply. Saudi Aramco has developed multiple
initiatives to identify the black powder compound types and sources,
determine formation mechanisms and identify removal processes.

These initiatives include:

1) using advanced mechanical cleaning tools,
2) performing basic research in identifying the black powder
compound types and formation mechanism,
3) pilot testing chemical cleaning methods,
4) planning a field test for an inertial separator filtration system,
5) revising company standards and construction practices, and
6) assessing the economic and technical feasibilities of installing
particle filters.

Saudi Aramco characterized, through laboratory analysis, the black

powder in sales gas pipelines as being mainly iron hydroxides and an
iron oxide mixed with a small amount of iron carbonate. Other gas
operators have stated that their black powder problem is either iron
sulfides or iron carbonates. Research study showed that the main cause
of the black powder formation is high water content in sales gas resulting
from poor water dew point control.

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7 Mitigation Options

7.1 Inhibition

Corrosion inhibition is utilized to protect pipelines from wet and/or sour service
fluids that is considered as a corrosive medium by decreasing the rate of attack
to retard or slow down the chemical reaction. The mechanisms of inhibition
covers many type such as adsorption to form a thin film, bulk precipitates that
coats the metal, metal passivation, etc. Typically, corrosion inhibitors used in
pipelines are filming amine type.

There are many parameters that affects the effectiveness of a corrosion inhibitor
type. Thus, it is advisable to perform a lab qualification tests to determine the
adequate and most effective corrosion inhibitor available in the market.
Research & Development Center has the protocol to perform the screening tests
for the best corrosion inhibitor (refer to SAES-A-205, Oilfield Chemicals, for
guidelines on chemical selection and testing, quality assurance, quality control
and first-fill purchase of oilfield chemicals).

In pipeline operations, corrosion inhibitor is injected at the GOSPs and is done

on a continuous treatment method (refer to SABP-A-015 for guidelines on
detailed design, materials selection, quality assurance, operations and
inspections of chemical injection systems). Corrosion inhibitor residual is a
required monitoring operation to determine if the chemical is carrying all the
way through the entire pipeline that is being protected.

7.2 Biocide

Biocide is injected into transmission pipelines to control bacteria that could

cause Microbiologically Induced Corrosion (MIC). Water is required in the
pipeline to promote and sustain bacteria growth because water carries the
nutrients that bacteria needs. The two typical bacteria type found in
transmission pipelines are the Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) and/or General
Aerobic Bacteria (GAB). Typically, a transmission pipeline is contaminated if
either SRB and/or GAB count is higher than 100 count/mL. These bacteria may
exist in the pipeline as either in planktonic or sessile state. Planktonic bacteria
flows with the service fluid and sessile bacteria attaches to the pipe internal wall.
The sessile form of bacteria is the type that promotes and causes internal
corrosion pit.

Biocide treatment to control bacteria in transmission pipelines may be done in a

batching mode or continuous injection. A batching type biocide treatment is
typically associated with a bio-shock treatment where a high biocide dosage is
injected in the pipeline in a short period of time to immediately kill the bacteria.
On the other hand, continuous type biocide treatment is typically associated with

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a bio-stat treatment where the existing low level of bacteria count is being

7.3 Onstream Scraping

Per SAES-L-133, 7.1.3 corrosion inhibition and scraping, as a combination, are

considered an acceptable corrosion control measure when a corrosive
environment is determined to exist.

The main function of onstream scraping is to remove deposits and stagnant

water in pipelines that could promote internal corrosion; thus, removal of these
two media will assist in mitigating internal corrosion. The onstream scraping
frequency is a function of many variables such as:
Fluid velocity
Amount of deposits in the line
Amount of water in the service
Corrosiveness of the service fluid
Result of instrument scraping run.

The onstream scraping frequency may change with time depending on changes
in the variables listed above.

7.4 Coatings

Coating on buried pipelines are used to minimize pipe metal surface area
exposed to potentially corrosive soil environment. It is the first line of defense
against external corrosion. However, coating applied on pipelines is never
perfect. Thus, CP must also be applied on pipelines to protect metal surfaces
exposed by coating damage such as holidays and cracks, which could otherwise
result in potential external corrosion.

The coating type used historically for newly constructed pipelines have been;
coal tar mastic, tape wrap, or fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) with the coating
actually applied depending on the pipeline construction date. For example, coal
tar mastic was typically applied before 1961, tape wrap from 1961 to 1981, and
FBE after 1981. Currently, only FBE is applied on new pipelines and can only
be applied in pipe coating plants.

Coal tar mastic and tape wrap coatings have a distinction of disbonding in wet
soil (subkha) environment. Cathodic protection is ineffective in protecting
pipelines with these type coating that disbonds because CP shielding occurs. On
the other hand, a disbonded FBE coating does not have the same problem that a

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disbonded coal tar mastic or tape wrap poses because FBE coating has enough
porosity to allow cathodic protection.

The type of coating used during pipeline rehabilitation is either the two-
component epoxy coating with <85% solids, two components epoxy coating
with >85% solids, or STOPAQ with rubber like mastic. Coating rehabilitation is
done for coating repair or replacement on existing operating pipelines. The two-
component epoxy coating with <85% solids is only allowed to be used on
pipelines in dry soil condition. The two-component epoxy coating with >85%
solids is allowed to be used on pipelines in dry or wet soil condition. The
STOPAQ coating is also allowed to be used on pipelines in dry or wet soil
condition. Coal tar or tape wrap are generally not used in coating rehabilitation.

7.5 Cathodic Protection

In general, cathodic protection is an approach where the metal surface to be

protected is forced to be the cathode of an electrochemical cell. Since corrosion
and material loss occurs only at the anode, this approach protects the metal. The
surface to be protected is provided with a supply of electrons, either from a
direct current source or from the corrosion of a more active metal. Cathodic
protection is the only technique for corrosion control that can be totally effective
in eliminating corrosion; unfortunately, it is not universally applicable. CP
requires an anode, a cathode (structure to protect), a common electrolyte shared
by both the anode and cathode (water or soil) and an electron conductor
connecting the anode and cathode. Therefore, facilities that may be protected
include buried pipelines or buried tanks (to protect the external surface only) and
vessels or tanks with a continuous water phase on the bottom (anodes placed
inside the vessel and located in the water, to protect the internal surface only).

There are two types of cathodic protection, the sacrificial (galvanic) anode and
the impressed-current method. The sacrificial anode method is the simpler
method, and utilizes galvanic corrosion. Sacrificial anodes are castings of a
suitable alloy electrically connected by a wire or steel strap to the structure to be
protected. The alloys used must be less noble than steel (the common oilfield
material), such as magnesium, zinc, or aluminum. The sacrificial anodes
corrode, releasing electrons to the steel. As cathodic electrochemical reactions
consume electrons, the steel surface becomes a preferential cathode and is thus
protected from corrosion. Magnesium and zinc are usually used in soils, and
zinc can also be used in brine environments. Sacrificial anodes are most often
used when current requirements are relatively low, electric power is not readily
available, and when system life is short, which calls for a low capital

Impressed current method uses an external energy source to produce an electric

current that is sent to the impressed current anodes, which can be composed of

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graphite, high silicon cast iron, lead-silver alloy, platinum, or even scrap steel
rails. Impressed-current cathodic protection is used when current requirements
are high, electrolyte resistivity is high, fluctuations in current requirements will
occur, and when electrical power is readily available.

Buried pipelines (and plant piping) are protected with impressed current remote
and distributed anodes, while short isolated piping and buried sections of
normally above grade pipelines are protected with galvanic anodes. In plant
areas, a combination of remote and distributed anode systems could be more
feasible, viable, practical and cost-optimum than the distributed anode system

7.6 Water Dew Point Control & Black Powder Filtration

As stated in Section 6.2.6, black powder is formed due to high moisture in sales
gas service primarily coming from Uthmaniyah Gas Plants and Safaniyah
Onshore Plant. Thus, water dew point control in these two plants is necessary to
mitigate further black powder formation in sales gas pipelines. Water dew point
control may be reached by having an effective dehydration process and liquid
knockout drum in these plants to make sure that the sales gas service is delivered
dry into the pipelines. Monitoring of the sales gas services water dew point is
then essential in mitigating black powder formation.

On the other hand, filtration at the customer delivery end of transmission

pipelines is needed to trap black powder that is already present in sales gas
pipelines. Installation of filtration systems will prevent erosion of pressure
control valves and contamination of sales gas customers supply.

8 Corrosion Monitoring

Pipelines present a unique challenge to monitoring because of the great geographical

distances they cover, their burial depth, their age, and the need to keep the product
flowing without much interruption.

Pipeline systems need monitoring systems that will provide early warnings to allow for
mitigation measures to be adjusted and/or initiated to control the degradation. The
primary goal of monitoring is to have a leading indicator of the potential for degradation
to the pipeline systems before significant damage occurs and allow intervention to stop
or reduce the rate of degradation to an acceptable level.

Monitoring can include operator checks, online process monitoring, corrosion

monitoring, and anything else that could possibly assist in the detection of the selected
degradation mechanisms.

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There are many corrosion monitoring techniques available to investigate the corrosion
performance and reliability of operating pipelines, each technique has its strengths and
weaknesses. Selection of the most appropriate techniques is dependent upon the service
environment as well as the type of information required. No single technique stands out
to meet all the needs. The factors that influence decisions for selecting the appropriate
monitoring technique are: the reliability of the technique, its adaptability to operating
conditions, cost benefit, and user-friendly operation. It should also be emphasized that
many operating factors will affect the performance of corrosion measuring and
monitoring techniques. The factors, which are of equal importance, include:
temperature fluctuation, pressure fluctuation, environmental variation, and deterioration
of ruggedness after installation and during operation. Usually more than one technique
is used so that the weaknesses of one are compensated for by the strengths of another.
So, it is highly recommended to combine multiple complementary monitoring
techniques in order to provide an added level of reliability of data and serve as back up
in the event of pipelines failures. One technique should always be metal loss coupon.

Corrosion monitoring tools are generally used for the monitoring and optimization of
the chemical treatment efficiency. The intent is not the measurement of the precise
value of the corrosion rate but of its variation in time as a function of changes in the
environment. Monitoring methods are given in Table 8.1 for pipeline systems. Other
methods that can be used to assess corrosivity are water and other fluid analyses,
nondestructive testing (NDT) and solid or scraping debris analysis.

Table 8.1 Corrosion Monitoring Methods

Method Comments
Coupon should be of the same/similar material as the
Corrosion Coupons
wall. May include weld.
Linear Polarization Requires normally minimum 30 % aqueous phase with
Resistance (LPR) minimum 0.1 % salinity mass fraction.
Galvanic probes Water supply/injection/disposal systems
To be installed downstream inhibitor injection points,
Electrical Resistance (ER)
(but as far downstream as feasible) see Figure 4 below
Erosion & sand Systems with sand or solid particles susceptible to
monitoring probes erosion damage
Hydrogen probes For sour service conditions

The corrosion coupons/probes readings should be used to create a corrosion rate loss
indicator through the trending of data. Whenever this indicator shows an upwards
trend, the corrosion inhibition and process parameters of the pipeline shall be reviewed
by skilled corrosion engineer.

The following means should be considered for achieving quality corrosion monitoring
& control and increasing the service life of the pipeline systems:

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Selection of sampling locations for stream analysis and monitoring locations for
corrosion assessment
Specification of sampling/monitoring frequency
Application of the established operating procedures for stream analysis and
corrosion monitoring
Management of corrosion data and analysis
Correlation of corrosion data with the inspection and operation data.

8.1 Types of Metal Loss Coupons

Metal loss coupons in the Oil and Gas industry are normally made from cold
rolled mild steel, typically AISI 1018 or 1020 steel. They can be fabricated in
many different sizes and shapes to fit a variety of applications. The design of
the coupon usually matches the objective of the test, simple flat sheets for
general corrosion or pitting, welded coupons for local corrosion in weldments,
stressed or pre-cracked test specimens for stress corrosion cracking. The most
common use of corrosion coupons is the determination of general corrosion

From a practical perspective, general corrosion is relatively easier to monitor

and to predict using metal loss coupon; whereas due to the random nature of
localized corrosion, it is more difficult to monitor. Although the information
may appear to be reliable and the data may be used to trend the corrosion
behavior over time in the case of general corrosion, such information may not be
relied upon to provide longer term representative behavior of localized
corrosion. This is because localized corrosion events, such as pitting, do not
corrode at a constant rate. The localized corrosion activity (e.g., pitting) can
occur in a recurring process of initiation, propagation and repassivation.

To certain extent, metal loss coupons can provide information regarding pitting
corrosion using a variety of techniques including visual/optical inspection or
scanning electron microscopy. Information about pitting that can be useful
includes the determination of pit shapes (known as morphology: profile, depth
and diameter) and density (pits/unit area). They can be analyzed to determine
the chemical nature of corrosion films and any deposits in pits.

Coupons in general can be used to provide information about the baseline

corrosion rate or provide feedback to the chemical inhibition and inspection
programs. For example, if the corrosion rates are higher than the target, then an
increase in inhibitor concentration may be required. Conversely, if corrosion
rates are substantially lower than the target then a reduction in inhibitor
concentration may be warranted.

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The coupons can be designed to intrude some distance into the fluid as in the
strip coupons (intrusive styles) or be flush mounted with the surface of the
pipeline as shown in Figure 1. This enables the monitoring to be positioned
within the middle of the process stream or immediately adjacent to the pipe wall.
Figure 2 shows an example of both strip and flush mounted coupons.

Where scraping is to be performed on the line to be monitored, monitoring

devices must be mounted on piping that sees normal flow but does not see the
scraper, i.e., the inlet and outlet piping of the scraping facilities. (Flush mount
coupons or probes may be used, but extreme care must be taken in determining
the maximum acceptable insertion length.).

Figure 1 Common Coupon Design for Pipeline Application

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Figure 2 Strip and Flush Coupons

Generally, strip coupons (Figure 3) are the most economical, provide

satisfactory corrosion rate data, and are adequate for most applications unless
particular problems, such as scraping or orientation, are encountered.

Protective Cover Pipe Plug

Hexagonal Nut
Solid Plug
Access Fitting

Strip Coupon Holder Primary Packing

Strip Coupons

Figure 3 Typical Strip Coupon Components

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8.2 Corrosion and Pitting Rates Calculation

The average corrosion rate is calculated from a metal loss of corrosion coupons
while the pitting rate is calculated from the pit depth measurements. Using the
weight loss and exposure interval, an average corrosion rate expressed in mpy
can be mathematically calculated as follows:

Pit depths may be measured with a depth gauge or micrometer caliper with
sharp, pointed probes. A microscope calibrated for depth measurement may
also be used. Depth of deepest pit in mils times 365 and divided by exposure
time in days will give an effective calculation of pitting rate.

Maximum Pit Depth ( Mils ) 365 (days / year )

Pitting Rate (mpy)
Times (days )

Calculated corrosion and pitting rates may be interpreted as shown in the Table 2.

Table 2: Interpretation of Corrosion and Pitting Rates

Average Corrosion Rate Average Pitting Rate

(mpy*) (mpy*)
Low < 1.0 < 12
Moderate 1.0 4.9 12 24
Severe 5.0 10.0 25 96
Very Severe > 10.0 > 96

*mpy = mils per year (one thousandth of an inch per year or 0.001 inch)

8.3 Corrosion Monitoring Location, Insertion & Orientation

In general, the selection of monitoring method and location of monitoring points

shall take into consideration system criticality, exposure environment
corrosivity, water content and salinity, scarping facilities and maintenance.

For chemically inhibited pipeline, the primary location of the monitoring point
incorporated by industries, in order to get a better representation of the corrosion
on the pipeline, is to place the coupons at the inlet of the pipe, to establish a base
line for corrosion, and at the end of the pipelines where it is anticipated that the
least amount of corrosion chemical will be present. The monitoring point
upstream of the corrosion inhibitor injection can monitor the uninhibited fluids
(worst case exposure). Where the downstream monitoring location provides

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information on the treated system corrosion rates (Figure 4). Chemical injection
volume should be adjusted, such that an acceptable corrosion rate is obtained at
the downstream end of the line. For long lines intermediate injection and
monitoring may be required. In that case, the positioning of the monitoring and
injection fittings would be as illustrated for Facility A.

Effective corrosion monitoring of subsea pipeline remains a challenge. The

monitoring points shall be installed at the inlet and outlet of the pipeline. For
buried pipelines, access fitting corrosion monitoring probes are not always
practical. However, if there are above grade facilities, in addition to the
launchers and receivers, such as, isolation valves, compressor or pump stations,
it may be possible to install fittings in these locations. Other monitoring and
technology should also be explored when more access for more conventional
monitoring tools is limited.


Facility A Facility B

Monitoring Monitoring
Location Location

Figure 4 Monitoring for Single Pipeline

For corrosion monitoring coupons/probes the nature of the insertion into the
pipeline to be monitored and the orientation of access point affect the quality of
the data obtained. Coupons/probes for corrosion monitoring shall be located
where there is a high probability of corrosion taking place, e.g., bottom of line in
stratified flow pipeline, top of line in condensing pipeline and elsewhere in the
corrosive phase.

In oil pipelines, periodically stratified flow conditions can develop at low flow
rates where the brine separates from the oil leading to an increase in corrosion
activity at the 6 oclock position in the pipeline. A similar situation is found for
reportedly dehydrated gas pipeline systems that were susceptible to periodic
dew point conditions where the condensate (water and hydrocarbon) will be
accumulated at the bottom of the gas pipeline.

Consequently, the orientation of a coupon/probe access point is generally most

favorable at the 6 oclock position as shown in Figure 5. This assures that the
coupon would be continuously wetted by any free water, which is being swept
along the bottom of the pipeline where the most likely location of corrosion
since produced water denser than crude oil or natural gas. However, positioning
conventional coupons/probes at the 6 oclock position reduces, or in some cases,

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eliminates accessibility to service operations, primarily insertion and retrieval.

The 6 oclock position has the additional drawback of possible shielding due to
the presence of sediment or sludge in the pipe. Devices that extend into a
pipeline flow stream may impact the ability to perform periodic scraping. So,
the coupons/probes shall be mounted flush with the wall for scrapable pipeline.

Figure 5 Proper Positioning of Access Fittings

For safety reasons, a provision to install corrosion monitoring manifolds at the

bottom of line position (BOL) is recommended instead of connecting the access
fitting direct to the pipe from bottom. Figure 6 shows the design of the
corrosion monitoring manifolds.

Figure 6 One of the Options for Bottom

of the Line Corrosion Utilizing Flange Connections

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If a strip coupon will be selected, it should protrude further into the process
stream, and part of the coupons/probe sensing element might not be wetted,
unless it happens to be at a low spot along the pipeline, where water can
accumulate. If bottom of the line monitoring points have not been established, it
may be advantageous to survey the layout of the pipelines, such that any low
spots and possible monitoring points can be identified since water tends to
accumulate at low spots.

Installation of corrosion monitoring points at the precise locations for

monitoring top-of-the line corrosion in pipelines, is extremely difficult. As
pipeline flow rates vary, the precise location of the heavy condensation of the
water and the top-of-the line corrosion will vary. Hence, corrosion monitoring
points installed at a specific point on the top-of-the line might not be able to
detect the most active corrosion rates. Moreover, conventional monitoring
techniques such as corrosion coupons and probes did not detect the problem.
Typically corrosion coupons and probes are installed in the lower portions of a
line in the liquid contact areas.

It is not recommended to install monitoring across the diameter of a pipeline.

Additionally, if a coupon/probe is not sufficiently stout, it is possible that flow
effects could set up vibrations, which might result in a fatigue failure of the
probe. The coupon/probe holder design should be evaluated for possible stress,
fatigue problems and flow induced vibration. Natural frequency and wake
frequency calculations should be performed for large diameter pipeline where
strip coupon/probe will be installed. The purpose of these calculations is to
prevent the coupon/probe from entering a resonant vibration in which fatigue
failure can occur. The wake frequency should be less than 80% of the
coupon/probes natural frequency to guarantee no resonant harmonic vibration.
This can be determined by applying the thermowell calculations in SAES-J-400
Paragraph 5.3.

8.4 Design Basis for Corrosion Monitoring Access Fitting

The most common method in the oil & gas industry involves the use of an
access fitting which is welded or bolted onto the equipment. These fittings
provide an opening into the fluids through which a monitoring device can be
inserted. The most common fitting, known as a 2 inch access fitting, has a
2 inch opening through it and can be purchased to contain pressures as high as
6,000 psig. High pressure access fittings are designed to permit safe, relatively
easy insertion and retrieval of the monitoring equipment while under full
operating pressure. The fittings can be attached onto the equipment wherever
there is a suitable space.

The monitoring components, other than the access fitting body, shall be made
out of 316L stainless steel or better and shall be suitable for sour service and

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meet the requirement of SAES-A-301, if coupon is required to be installed into a

sour service process.

The access fitting shall be placed on the pipelines so that it will have the best
chance to monitor the corrosion mechanism in question. However, once that
location is determined the access fitting shall be conveniently located for
extraction and replacement of the monitoring instrumentation. When more than
one access fitting multiple coupons/probes is installed in one location, the
fittings must be separated by a minimum three (3) feet in order to avoid flow
interference. In order to operate the retriever, a minimum of twelve (12) inches
clearance is required around the access fitting body and a minimum of eight (8)
feet is required above or to the side of the pipe for top and side mounted fittings,
respectively as shown in Figure 7. Care should be taken to insure that adjacent
equipment does not encroach on the exclusion zone around a fitting. Although,
temperature, pressure and other process monitoring devices may have their tap
point the required 12 inches from a fitting, valve handles, tubing, and cabling
must also remain outside the 12 inch exclusion area so as not to adversely
impact retrieval operations.

Figure 7 Corrosion Monitoring Access fitting Spacing Requirement

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The typical design of the corrosion monitoring point is shown in the Library
Drawing DA-950035 2-Inch High Pressure Access System Chemical Injection
and Corrosion Monitoring.

8.5 Safety Issues Related to Coupon Retrieval Operations

Safety precautions must be established throughout the coupon retrieval

operations at the field including, but not limited to the following:
Safe operation requires a minimum of two (2) trained operators
Do not use the retrieval equipment unless you have been trained in its safe
Make sure you have complied with all plant safety requirements and
environmental regulations
Identify the type media, its pressure and temperature
Insure you have all the required safety equipment for the given media, i.e.,
hard hat, safety glasses, protective clothing, safety gloves, breathing
apparatus, etc.
Any actions which could vary system pressure such as surges caused by
opening and closing of valves and chokes should be delayed until
completion of retrieval operations
Insure you have enough clearance for safe operation
Note wind direction prior to starting operations involving hazardous

8.6 Inspection Data

It is essential that the pipeline corrosion engineer combines corrosion

monitoring data with inspection data to determine if the monitoring technique is
appropriate since the coupon/probe corrosion rates are only representative of the
pipeline corrosion rates.

During downtime or while the pipeline is on operation, inspection can be

conducted using non-destructive methods which commonly include:
Visual Testing (VT)
Radiographic Examination (RE)
Ultrasonic Testing (UT)
Magnetic Particle Testing (MT)
Penetrant Testing (PT)

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Eddy Current Testing (ET).

Non-destructive testing (NDT) can be considered as one of the inspection tools

to monitor corrosion. All of the above mentioned methods provide only a
snapshot of information on the status of the integrity of the pipeline and they are
often the best for assessment of general attack. However, some of these
techniques are implemented to measure wall thickness and estimate metal loss
from the outside of a pipe, but excavation, cleaning, and other physical
constraints allow for only a small area to be inspected at a time.

In-line inspection (ILI) is also considered one of the methods of monitoring

pipelines for internal wall thinning and corrosion damage. Scrapers, equipped
with ultrasonic or similar sensors, are inserted in the pipeline and propelled by
the liquid petroleum for long distances. However, this requires the pipeline flow
to be interrupted during the inspection.

8.7 Sampling

An understanding of the process fluid chemistry is also essential in any

corrosion rate determination. To ascertain this information, samples should be
obtained at predetermined points from each pipeline and, analyses conducted to
determine the composition of all phases present.

The sampling frequency must take into account the potential corrosivity and flow
pattern changes due to shifts in production practices or well declines. For this
reason, a yearly sampling program is not suitable. Chemical sample analysis of
the fluids and gases going into the pipeline should be made on regular basis. Any
debris from the scraping runs should be also sampled and analyzed.

Determination of the corrosion inhibitor residual is one of the monitoring tools

to insure effective inhibitor coverage. An effective corrosion inhibitor residual
means that there is a sufficient concentration of inhibitor available to form a
protective coating on the interior walls of a pipe. Sampling shall be taken in
appropriate locations such as the end of the pipeline before the entrance to the
plant or process facilities. It is important to avoid choosing inappropriate
locations such as stagnant flow locations or locations such as slug catcher
bottom since water is accumulated some time at the bottom and the readings
may be misleading. Water samples from the slug catcher give indication of the
presence of inhibitor throughout the system but does not define adequacy of
protection in different parts through which the fluids flow.

Low water content of pipeline makes it nearly impossible to get a sample of

water to perform an analysis or corrosion monitoring in a pipeline unless some
collection mechanism is installed on the pipeline. Water traps and side stream

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monitors are about the only methods of obtaining a water sample from a dry
pipeline system.

Samples shall be sent to the lab for corrosion inhibitor residual analysis using
the specific vendor analysis procedure. Trending of the data is an important tool
to monitor any change in the corrosion inhibitor residuals. Samples shall be
analyzed on a monthly basis or as recommended by the area corrosion engineer.

For Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC), monitoring requires either

that the pipeline be regularly opened for sampling or that accommodations be
made in the system design to allow for regular collection of surface samples or
on-line tracking of attached microorganisms during operation. BOL traps fitted
with corrosion coupons or bio-probes can be used to obtain sessile population
enumeration data.

8.8 Corrosion Data Interpretation and Correlation

With all the data being collected from the pipelines, it is important to turn that
data into meaningful results. Any inspection or corrosion monitoring data can
provide useful information. However, the real benefit is gained when these
programs are combined and correlated with each other. Corrosion monitoring
provides an early indication of problems while inspection measures the actual
extent of any damage done. Moreover, availability of both corrosion monitoring
and operational data history will enhance the level of confidence in the asset
integrity and be the basis for optimization of scraping, chemical injection and
inspection frequency.

The corrosion engineers along with inspection personnel should review the
collected data, analyzes the monitoring, aids in technical support and reviews
injected chemical. The data gathered from corrosion monitoring system, and
analyzed by the pipeline corrosion engineer, shall be also shared with operations
personnel and chemical company personnel to continue to refine the corrosion
mitigation efforts. The chemical vendors play an important role to ensure
ongoing performance testing, check that inhibitor rates are set correctly and help
troubleshoot increases in corrosion.

8.9 On-Line/Real Time Corrosion Monitoring

Saudi Aramco has integrated the online recommended Advanced Electrical

Resistance (AER) system in new oil and gas facilities since 2000. These online
corrosion monitoring probes afford corrosion engineers with a proactive role by
continuously assessing the fluid corrosivity online and in conjunction with
process data. As a result, the potential for the occurrence of catastrophic
corrosion problems is significantly reduced and changes in corrosion activity

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

can be rapidly assessed and mitigated. With this level of control in place, it is
possible to enhance equipment reliability, availability and operational efficiency.

The AER corrosion monitoring technology has been developed to substantially

increase the speed of response over conventional ER monitoring techniques. The
advanced electrical resistance measurement is based fundamentally on metal loss
and is, therefore, directly comparable to ER probe and coupon data. It does not
depend on the empirically determined electrochemical constants of LPR
measurements, or the complex and variable analysis of electrochemical noise
techniques. Moreover, it doesnt require an electrically conductive solution for
accurate measurements. The new AER technology was subjected to a two-year
extensive in-house laboratory test program and field trials in selected facilities.

The active element of the advanced electrical resistance probe is measured to an

18 bit resolution, or 262,144 Probe Life Units (PLU). This compares to the 10
bit resolution (1000 divisions) of conventional ER system. The AER
measurement system is much less sensitive to fluctuations in temperature.

The AER probes are available in two element forms, flush and cylindrical.
Flush probes are suited for pipelines, where pigging may occur, and for bottom
off-line monitoring in oil and gas, or multiphase flows where the corrosive water
phase exists. Cylindrical probes with their all-welded construction are suited for
more chemically aggressive environments. The AER instruments include high
resolution transmitters, data loggers, 24 VDC power supply to power the
transmitters, and special recording and retrieval software permits easy data
acquisition and display. Multi-channel systems employ Amulet software,
permitting interfacing of the AER with any process variables and parameters.

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
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Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

Figure 8 On-line Corrosion Monitoring

8.10 On-Line Monitoring Field Configuration

A single multi-drop cable is used to connect the transmitters with the 24 VDC
and the RS-485 communication bus. For remote communications, a transmitter
is hardwired using copper-core cable to an RS-485 to RS-422 converter and then
to an RS-422 to fiber optic converter connected to the fiber optic OTN system.
A fiber optic communications system has been installed throughout the Facility
area and is used to link the field AER probe/transmitter combinations to the
central corrosion server in the control room. At a remote location, a solar power
system is installed to provide the 24 VDC power along with a fiber optic cable
running to the fiber optic backbone (ring) to provide the communications link.

The corrosion server is supplied by the manufacturer with commercially

available corrosion management software incorporating a SQL server
database. Each transmitter probe combination has a unique address, and the
corrosion management software has been programmed to take probe readings
along with process parameters at specific intervals. This permits plotting of
probe data with process parameters such as temperature, pressure, and flow rate.
Remote seats are also provided with the software to allow users to access the
corrosion server remotely via an Ethernet system. Figure 7 is a simplified
schematic overview of the field integrated communications system.

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
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Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

The AER can be integrated in all pipelines. Due to the high corrosivity level
predicted on carbon steel material in some fields, a corrosion inhibition program
is implemented. Flush strip type AER probes are installed at both top of line
(TOL) and bottom of line (BOL) positions to monitor the efficiency of the
treatment program. At TOL positions, the probe element sits at the 12 oclock
position while at the BOL a special trap is used and the AER probe projects into
the body of a Tee. These corrosion monitoring stations are located on the inlet
and outlet laterals of transmission pipelines running between the main manifolds
and the gas plant. In some cases, these probes can be installed at the middle of
the pipelines in the aboveground sections.

AER sensor system can be used to assess and quantify the effectiveness of a
chemical treatment program in gas and oil pipelines. The implemented system
can function in sour or sweet environments. Moreover, the integrated AER
system offers additional benefits:
Indicator of equipment efficiency
Quantify the effectiveness of the implemented inhibition program
Remote data access with alarming capability
Continuous monitoring
Ability to network unlimited probes
Data trending

Figure 9 Schematic Representation of the Field Integrated AER Layout

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

Figure 10 Advanced Electrical Resistance (AER) Probes

8.11 CP Monitoring

Pipe-to-soil potential is measured annually on pipelines to determine their level

of protection against external corrosion. The minimum level of CP for pipelines
in Saudi Aramco is -1100 and -1000 millivolts (versus a copper-copper sulfate
electrode) for dry and other soil type, respectively. A copper-copper sulfate
electrode and a voltmeter are used to connect to a CP test station for the pipe-to-
soil readings. Test stations on pipelines are approximate one kilometer apart but
other pipeline structures such as valves, above ground flanges, etc., are also used
as connection points to measure pipe-to-soil potentials.

9 Validation

Validation of pipelines are meant to test their integrity to hold the required pressure.
There are two periods when pipelines are validated or revalidated: 1) during new
pipeline commissioning (initial validation) and 2) pipelines that are in operation
(revalidation). Hydrotesting is normally used to validate new pipelines and In Line
Inspection (ILI) is normally used to revalidate existing and scrapable pipelines already
in operation. Pipelines Department is no longer using hydrotesting for revalidation of
existing pipelines with scraping facilities. Unscrapable pipelines are initially validated
with hydrotest and revalidated with On Stream Inspection (OSI) method using manual
ultrasonic (UT) inspection. However, pipelines with known stress corrosion cracking
(SCC) damage or severe hydrogen induced cracking (HIC) are revalidated either with
hydrotest or with EMAT (Electro-Magnetic Acoustic Transducer) ILI tool in scrapable

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

lines. Pipelines revalidation frequency typically is every three to five year except for
the OSI program which is done annually.

9.1 Hydrotest

Hydrotesting is a destructive/non-destructive validation/revalidation method. It

will only show the location of critical flaws in the pipeline when they rupture or
leak but will not show the locations of subcritical size flaws or indicate whether
or not they are present. Hydrotesting will test the entire pipeline facility, which
include flanges, fittings, etc and show whether it can hold the required pressure.
If a pipeline passes a hydrotest without failure, testing is non-destructive.

Pipelines are typically hydrotested at 90% of Specified Minimum Yield Strength


9.2 In Line Inspection

Pipelines are typically revalidated using ILI method unless the pipeline has
known cracking damages (especially stress corrosion cracking) which then
requires hydrotest or EMAT tool inspection. ILI can actually pinpoint the
location of the anomalies for further inspection and fitness for service (FFS)
repair evaluation. ILI tools perform inspection qualification and not pressure

Typically, Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) tools are used to find external and
internal corrosion. UT tools are used to find external and internal corrosion, as
well as mid wall defects such as HIC. EMAT tool can find external and internal
corrosion, HIC, coating disbondment, and SCC damage.

Given the size and depth of flaws found through ILI, an FFS calculation can
now be done to determine if the flaws require repair or not. The FFS calculation
may utilize one of three popular methods such as the B31G, RSTRENG, or LPC

In-line inspection is also considered one of the methods of monitoring pipelines

for internal wall thinning and corrosion damage. Scrapers, equipped with
ultrasonic or similar sensors, are inserted in the pipeline and propelled by the
liquid petroleum for long distances. However, this requires the pipeline flow to
be interrupted during the inspection.

9.3 On Stream Inspection (OSI)

On Stream Inspection (OSI) provides ultrasonic thickness (UT) wall thickness

measurements for general and localized metal loss. The steps necessary to plan
and operate an OSI program are described on SAEP-1135.

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

On stream inspection method, using manual UT, can determine internal

corrosion morphology, depth and length. Corrosion rate can be determined by
comparison between two or more readings. Once these information are
gathered, FFS analysis and/or corrosion mitigation technique can now be
recommended. The OSI program may used to re-validate existing unscrapable
lines per SAEP-20.

Thickness measurements locations (TMLs) are assigned to locations, which are

anticipated to best represent areas where deterioration would be most active.
OSI monitoring levels (number of TMLs) depends on the corrosion class as per
the following table:

Corrosion Service Quantity of TMLs (Recommended Minimum)

LOW CORROSIVE Greater of 12 or 4% of High Loss Sites
MILD CORROSIVE Greater of 24 or 10% of High Loss Sites
CORROSIVE Greater of 48 or 15% of High Loss Sites
PERFORMANCE ALERT Complete Area Scan of all Alert Zones

For effective monitoring the TML types should be selected according to the
anticipated damage mechanism types. Single TMLs are assigned locations
where corrosion and/or erosion are most likely to occur. Grid Points Multiple
TMLs are used for monitoring localized flaw and aggressive wall thinning
attack. Scanning points are normally employed for pitting corrosion where
isolated wall thinning is identified.

TML locations are assigned to the following locations:

Flow change points: High loss is most likely to occur where high fluid
velocity, turbulence, and impingement conditions are imposed by fittings
and equipment such as elbows, u-bends, tees, reducers, nipples and branches
Water stagnation points: High loss sites are also most likely to occur where
water collects and/or rivulets, entrapped pockets, water-oil interface and
water-air tidal zones form. Areas where these conditions prevail are in
deadlegs, drains, piping sag or low points, level gauges, scale or sludge
deposits, and where there are significant drops in gas pressure or flow (50%
or greater)
Near corrosion monitoring points.

OSI is includes visual external inspection, corrosion probe monitoring,

temperature surveillance and leak detection. Pipeline systems should be visually
inspected for corrosion, cracks, mechanical damages, leaks and insulation
damages every two years in accordance with 00-SAIP-75.

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

9.4 Test and Inspection (T&I)

Test and inspection (T&Is) is thorough internal and external inspection

performed during plant or equipment downtime. Equipment shall have
Equipment Inspection Schedules (EISs) that show inspection interval and
procedures. The requirements for preparing original and revision of Equipment
Inspection Schedules (EISs) for T&Is are outlined on SAEP-20. The initial T&I
and subsequent (T&Is) intervals shall be based on equipment and service
conditions or operating experience. Following factors determine (I-T&Is) and
subsequent (T&Is) intervals:
Remaining Life: Based on the existing corrosion allowance divided by OSI
generated corrosion rates, or historical corrosion rates. T&I Intervals Based
on Remaining Life interval shall be at no more than one half the calculated
remaining equipment life or ten years whichever is less as per API STD 510.
Service Criteria: Table I shall be employed to establish the I-T&I and
subsequent intervals:

Table I Maximum T&I Intervals versus Corrosion Service

Corrosion Service Initial T&I Interval (Months) Subsequent

Standard New
T&I Intervals
Class Criteria Equipment Technology
380 m/a (15 mpy)
(2) And up or Special 24 12 30
Performance Alert
1 150 to 350 m/a
24 12 60
Corrosive Service (6 to 14 mpy)
2 75 to 125 m/a
24 12 24 120
Mild Corrosive Service (3 to 5 mpy)
3 Loss than 75 m/a
24 12 - 24 120
Low Corrosive Service (3 mpy)

9.5 Risk Based Inspection (RBI)

Risk Based Inspection (RBI) is a systematic tool that helps plants to make
informed business decisions regarding inspection and maintenance spending.
RBI evaluates the risk and prioritizes the equipment for inspection activities. It
defines risk as a measure of loss in terms of both likelihood of a vent and
severity of the consequence.

RBI also used to aid the assessment results of inspection, testing and corrosion
monitoring programs. It can results in inspection effort being increasing,
decreasing or being directed to higher risk area. RBI studies are performed in

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

accordance with SAEP-343 and API RP 580.

10 Record Keeping

Effective corrosion management requires meticulous record keeping. Fortunately, in

todays world, electronic records are relatively easily collected, stored and analyzed.
The following information for each pipeline should be recorded, analyzed and filed by
the Pipeline Corrosion Engineer:
On-line Corrosion Monitoring data (resistance probes or linear polarization)
Weight loss coupons corrosion rates (gives only average rate)
NDT Testing results (OSI)
T&I inspection results and repairs
Maintenance conducted and reason for work order
Laboratory analyses of the process stream
Corrosion product analysis (recovered during T&I or with liquid samples)
Inhibitor residual analysis
Iron counts
Bacteria counts
Brine analyses
Changes in pressure, temperature and/or production rate
Failure record keeping and visual inspection (after failures have occurred)
Failure analyses
CP Monitoring System.

11 Contributor Authors

Name Affiliation
J. N. Al-Khamis Consulting Services Department
C. I. Cruz Consulting Services Department
M. M. Al-Qarni Consulting Services Department
A. S. Al-Omari Consulting Services Department
J. P. Perez Pipelines Department
F. M. Al-Abbas Inspection Department
B. W. Burgess NA Producing Engineering Department

Revision Summary
1 April 2008 New Saudi Aramco Best Practice.
8 March 2010 Editorial revision to add the Appendix.

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Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control SABP-A-019
Issue Date: 8 March 2010
Next Planned Update: TBD Pipeline Corrosion Control

Appendix I List of Sour and Non-Sour Crude Service Pipelines

Click here to view the Appendix SABP-A-019A.xls

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