Failure analysis of corroded well tubing steel grade L-80, removed from three separate seawater injection wells on two of our operated fields has revealed the importance of steel microstructure and alloying chemistry.
In the first seawater injection well, marked differences in the severity of the corrosion damage between individual tubing joints could be observed. In the other two seawater injection wells it was observed that
one well tubing had suffered severe corrosion damage, whereas the other wells tubing had suffered no corrosion damage. This was despite the fact that these two wells were completed within three months of one another and received seawater through the same topside deaeration treatment facility. Analysis of these tubing steels chemistry and microstructure has revealed that the tubing steel containing a mixed microstructure of tempered martensite and bainite suffered severe corrosion damage. Similarly, the tubing steel with a tempered martensitic microstructure without chromium addition (< 0.1 wt%) also suffer severe corrosion damage. But, a tubing steel with the combination of a tempered martensitic microstructure and chromium content > 0.5 wt% suffered little or no corrosion damage. These findings stress the significant role that the microstructure and alloying chemistry play in enhancing the corrosion resistance performance of grade L-80 tubing steel for seawater injection service. Keywords: seawater injection corrosion, steel microstructure, steel chemistry, chromium, well tubing steel corrosion