The key point of pipeline integrity management with regard to external corrosion is the control of the corrosion activity at coating defects. In practice pipeline integrity management often results in the execution of intensive field surveys and monitoring programs leading to high operational cost.
The general approach is to apply external corrosion direct assessment techniques and to use in-line inspection tools to gather as much information as possible on the corrosion status. Correlating different field data like wall thickness measurements, pipe-to-soil potentials, soil characteristics and coating conditions for predicting the corrosion risk is a challenging task. Moreover corrosion assessment is very complex in congested areas or where AC/DC interference occurs. Understanding and simulating the corrosion mechanisms allow a correct and timely analysis which is more difficult to achieve with statistical tools.
This article presents a new approach in the pipeline integrity management which is based on mechanistic modelling. The electrochemical reactions taking place at coating defects are simulated for the entire pipeline network, even in the presence of AC and DC interference resulting in the visualization of the IR-free potentials and corrosion rates.
Key words: mechanistic modelling, external corrosion assessment, pipeline integrity assessment