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Understanding the Total Cost of a Corrosion Issue in the Oil and Gas Industry

Case study: A Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage facility in northern Alberta, Canada is examined as it experienced two very similar failures in heat exchanger tubes within 2 years of each other due to a boiler feedwater tank without a nitrogen blanket and a low flow condition.

Product Number: 51317--9286-SG
ISBN: 9286 2017 CP
Author: Laura Cardenas
Publication Date: 2017
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The total cost of corrosion in the oil and gas industry is an often overlooked subject when evaluating the impact of an upset or failure due to corrosion. Costly issues can arise when as little as a single piece of equipment is not designed to properly mitigate corrosion. Not only is there a need to replace the failed piece of equipment but there are many other costs to consider including but not limited to: environmental and cleanup costs safety related costs unnecessary corrosion inhibition costs and costs associated with potential future failures at other projects that have utilized similar designs and processes.In this case study a SAGD facility in Northern Alberta is examined as it experienced two very similar failures in heat exchanger tubes within 2 years of each other due to a boiler feed water (BFW) tank being operated without a nitrogen blanket and a low flow condition. High amounts of oxygen were able to dissolve into the BFW which led to several problems downstream of the BFW tank particularly in the tubes of the heat exchangers. The low flow conditions present in the system led to a buildup of solids which also aided in an accelerated corrosion rate.The case study is used to illustrate how money spent during the design stage would have saved the same dollar amount many times over during the operation stage.

Key words: boiler feedwater, SAGD, oxygen, tuberculation, concentration cell, aqueous corrosion, oxygen scavenger, heat exchanger, cost, net present value.

The total cost of corrosion in the oil and gas industry is an often overlooked subject when evaluating the impact of an upset or failure due to corrosion. Costly issues can arise when as little as a single piece of equipment is not designed to properly mitigate corrosion. Not only is there a need to replace the failed piece of equipment but there are many other costs to consider including but not limited to: environmental and cleanup costs safety related costs unnecessary corrosion inhibition costs and costs associated with potential future failures at other projects that have utilized similar designs and processes.In this case study a SAGD facility in Northern Alberta is examined as it experienced two very similar failures in heat exchanger tubes within 2 years of each other due to a boiler feed water (BFW) tank being operated without a nitrogen blanket and a low flow condition. High amounts of oxygen were able to dissolve into the BFW which led to several problems downstream of the BFW tank particularly in the tubes of the heat exchangers. The low flow conditions present in the system led to a buildup of solids which also aided in an accelerated corrosion rate.The case study is used to illustrate how money spent during the design stage would have saved the same dollar amount many times over during the operation stage.

Key words: boiler feedwater, SAGD, oxygen, tuberculation, concentration cell, aqueous corrosion, oxygen scavenger, heat exchanger, cost, net present value.

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