Erosion Corrosion – Learning from Humber Estuary

January 27, 2009

Muhammad Abduh (abduh@reksolindo.co.id)

On 16 April 2001 a fire and explosion occurred at Humber Refinery following the catastrophic failure of an overhead gas pipe. Investigation was carried by The Competent Authority and the plant operator company by legislative mechanism under Control of Major Hazard (COMAH) Regulation 1999. Humber refinery was one of approximately 1000 major hazard site under this regulation. The competent authority consisted of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) UK and Environment Agency (EA).

p4363

The cause of the piping system failure was the erosion corrosion
of the 6-inches diameter pipe, known P4363, which carried the overhead line from the De-ethanizer (W413) to the heat exchanger (X452) in saturate gas plant (SGP) unit. The failure occurred down stream of a closely water injection point. Examination to thefailed elbow recovered from the damage site showed wall thickness thinning from 7-8 mm to a minimum 0.3 mm. When the pipe failed it burst open catastrophically causing a full bore type of release the pipe contents.

The water injection point was not the original design of the piping system. Water injection to the vapor stream between the top de-ethanizer column and the heat exchanger was addressed to solve the previous problem of salts or hydrates fouling in heat exchanger X452/3. An injection point was created in P4363 by piping water to an existing 1 inches vent point on the pipe without injection quill or dispersal device and made the water entering the pipe as a free jet.

Erosion-Corrosion
There are studies that noted the synergistic effect ofmechanical impingement and electrochemical corrosion result in greater rate of metal loss than the sum of the two mechanism ( S. Zhuo, N. Stack & R.C Newman)

The highest rate of erosion-corrosion occurred in stagnant region, immediately beneath the jet, where the particles impacted the surface at an angle of 90°, This critical erosion-corrosion region in a piping system are found at the outer side of elbow where the fluid impinges the wall directly at an angle 90°.

NACE 34101: Refinery Injection & Process Mixing
Points

One of the generic guidance to overcome the problem of erosion corrosion in refinery process is NACE 34101 which gas already published as recommended practice for the design consideration of  injection system.

RBI Regime was not Effective
This accident also has shown the effect of in-effective implementation of RBI for inspection management. RBI as a comprehensive method shall be supported with complete and adequate data. The ignorance of the operator company for the significant risk contribution of the injection system to the piping were resulted in the failure.

Similar Accidents:

1. Wilmington California United States – October 8,1992
2. North Rhine West Phalia Germany-  December 10,1991
3. Yokkaichi Mie Japan – May 2, 1997
4. Mina Al-Ahmadi Kuwait-  June 25, 2000

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Gulf of Martaban Pipeline Leaking

June 6, 2008

Muhammad Abduh (abduh137@gmail.com)

Figure showing one of the production Platform in Yetagun Field (Marinerthai)

Subsea pipeline transporting gas from Yetagun and Yedana Field Gulf of Martaban Myanmar to Thailand was reported to have leaking in April 2, 2008 (Irrawaddy, Reuter). The operator company reported that there were two cracks causing ruptures found in the line close to Thailand-Myanmar border. Yetugun field was started up for production in 2000, with 400-500 million cubic feet per day gas production (mmcfd), while Yedana Field with 700 mmcfd two years earlier. Gas from these fields are exported to Thailand through 700 km of pipeline system (~80% subsea pipelines).

The leaking was to said not to disrupt Thailand electricity supply as the gas from these fields account only 15 percent of total consumption. However, largely Thailand industrial gas consumer will be in excess of gas shortage of about 5,800 million cubic feet and moreover owner company to suffer about USD 60,000,000 production lost (at natural gas rate = USD 10 per mmbtu).

Field Information (PTTEP, OilOnline)

  • Yadana: Located in the Gulf of Martaban, in blocks M5 and M6, the Yadana offshore project is in the production phase, supplying Thailand with about 600mmcf/d of natural gas through a 409km pipeline, 345km of it subsea, to the Thai-Myanmar border at Ban I Thong. Partners: PTTEPI (25.5%), TotalFinaElf Myanmar (31.2), Unocal Myanmar (28.3%), Myanmar Oil & Gas Enterprise (15%).
  • Yetagun: This field is now in production from Myanmar blocks M12, M13 and M14 in the Gulf of Martaban. A 277km gas pipeline, 210km of it subsea, takes gas from Yetagun to the Thai-Myanmar border at Ban I Thong. In 2002, gas production reached 300mmcf/d. Phase III front-end engineering and design has been completed and construction and installation is under way. Partners: Premier, operator (26.6%), Petronas Carigali (30%), Nippon Oil (14.2%), PTTEPI (14.2%) and Moge (15%).
  • Related Post: Palembang Pipeline Leaking – Aging Pipeline to Raise Risk Exposure


    Balongan Unplanned Shutdown

    May 28, 2008

    Muhammad Abduh (abduh137@gmail.com)

    Balongan LPG Plant, Indonesia largest LPG producer, had a major accident in May 10, 2008 and had to shutdown plant for eighteen days for repair. The accident occured probably because of critical failure in a fluid catalytic cracking unit. Failure consequence is significant as the plant supply 30% of LPG national market and the company is in the excess of 12 million US dollar production loss. As production interruption occurred in a time of government campaign energy conversion from fuel to gas, gas consumer especially food and restaurants industries, and largely household consumer in central to west Java region will suffer the lack of LPG supply in the following days.

    TV News covering Balongan Refinery Shutdown (Liputan6.com, MetroTV), LPG Lack of Supply (Liputan6, MetroTV)

    Lesson Learned: Un-anticipated in Service Damage of Process Plant Critical Equipment

    Failure is likely to occur in high pressure system, study by The Health and Safety Executive UK (HSE UK) indicated that inability to predict or inability to anticipate in-service damage as one of the dominant root causes of failure in pressure system. Well established risk management should be able to predict or anticipate in service damage. Risk is a function of failure probability and failure consequence. Risk assessment methodologies are long time developed by American Petroleum Association (API), American Society for Mechanical Engineer (ASME), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environment Protection Agency (EPA). Front-end, structurized, and industrial standards risk assessment for process plant are API RP-581 Risk Based Inspection together with API 580 Based Resourced Document.

    We can simply understand that if an equipments have a higher risk profile, than the operator should perform any necessary mitigation to keep the risk as low as reasonably practical. Back to Balongan Refinery case, the FCC is a relatively high risk unit (higher probability of failure and higher of failure consequence). As a high risk unit, operator company should have conducted detailed inspections and comprehensive assessments by means of:

    – Utilizing high resolution inspection tool that should be able to locate and sizing surface or sub-surface defect, uniform or localized defect with the advance technology of field signature method, phased array UT, or multi array sensor.

    – Defect assessment or fitness for service to assess (to study comprehensively) the remaining life of equipment against in-service damage.

    Speculating cost efficiency by reducing inspection or condition assessment cost is rather contra-productive especially in strategic national plant in a time of energy crisis.



    Heat Exchanger In- Service Damages

    May 24, 2008

    1. Excessive mineral deposits on the cooling water side of ammonia reactor effluent gas cooler.

    2. Ice and fouling in a condenser tube.

    3. Shell-side bacteria growth in cooling water heat exchanger

    4. Fin Cooler tubes severly corroded

    5. Deposits build-up on the inside of a heat exchanger tube

    6. Plugged exchanger tube

    7. Scaling on the inside diameter of a cooler tube

    8. Deep Pitting in Exchanger Tubes

    9. Cluster Pitting from Sour Glycol

    10. Shell-side Pitting

    11. Cooler Tube Rupture

    12. Tube Failure Due to Thinning

    13. Shell-side ruptured tube

    14. Wall thinning led to this catastrophic failure of an exchanger tube

    Image Source: Maverick Inspection

    Book on Heat Exchanger Fouling: Heat Exchanger Fouling: Mitigation and Cleaning Techniques


    Implementation of Asset Integrity Management System

    May 4, 2008

    Muhammad Abduh (abduh@reksolindo.co.id)

    Print-Version Published for PetroEnergy Magazine April – May 2008 Edition

    Asset integrity nowadays is considered as one important element to improve productivity in oil and gas production facilities (production, refining, and distribution). In the development, asset integrity arise from technical issue (maintenance, inspection, engineering assessment) to a higher level of corporate management policy. Asset integrity can be defined as the ability of the asset to perform its required function effectively whilst safeguarding life and the environment. Asset Integrity Management System (AIMS) is the means of ensuring that people, systems, processes and resources, which deliver integrity, are in place, in use and fit for the purpose over the whole lifecycle of the asset.

    As a management process, AIMS process shall include policy development, organizing, planning and implementation, measuring performance, and audit and review, Figure 1. Guideline to develop AIMS for offshore production facilities was developed by a joint industry project between UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA), Step Change in Safety, The Health and Safety Executive UK in 2006 publishing Asset Integrity Toolkit.

    AIMS elements shall be in accordance to company Quality or HSE Policy. HSE based AIMS has already been implemented by several oil and gas operators in United States and Europe. Asset Integrity Toolkit is also a health and safety based AIMS which is more comprehensive and measurable by several performance indicators that already known well in oil and gas industry. Asset Integrity Toolkit can be proposed as the basis for asset integrity audit for pre-development of asset integrity management system. Asset Integrity Toolkit defines 32 elements of AIMS into 6 six groups as follows:
    1.1. Assurance and Verification;
    Operators shall define safety critical element (SCE) within the facility. SCE is a term in Safety Case (UK Offshore Installation Safety Regulations SI 2005 No 3117) to refer to:
    – Parts of an installation and such of its plant or any part thereof , the failure of which could cause or contribute substantially to a major accident; or
    – A purpose of which is to prevent or limit the effect of a major accident.
    The assurance process is the duty holders responsibility to set out an assurance scheme that defines and manages the activities which ensure required performance standards of SCE are sustainable. While the verification process is the duty holders responsibility to develop verification scheme that provides the evidence to demonstrate the assurance scheme is operating effectively. Independent reports and comments shall be able to define clearly SCE list, assurance activities applied to SCE, and any failures and or anomalies are in communication with the duty holders

    1.2. Assessment/Control and Monitoring;
    The process of assessment/control and monitoring should include the following key elements:
    – Rigorous risk assessment of potential major hazards and threats from plant equipment and operations to the personnel, the environment, and the asset;
    – Identification necessary mitigation and controls in order to lower each of the risks to a level which is As Low As Reasonably Practical (ALARP);
    – Recognition of which of these controls takes the form of SCE and assurance that the associated performance standards are continually maintained. Main issue in this element is engineering integrity. The duty holders should develop strategy to maintain the integrity of plant equipment against mechanical failure, fatigue, corrosion, throughout asset lifecycle. Activities ruled under this AIMS element are:

    – Asset register (asset information system);
    – Risk Assessment (risk based inspection);
    – Mitigation Plan (repair, replace,re-engineering);
    – Inspection and monitoring (NDT, vibration analysis); and
    – Integrity assessment (fitness for service, defect assessment)

    1.3. Competence
    Personnel with the required levels of competence should be supported by commitment of senior management. Duty holders should develop competence system that should: be able to verifiable by audit of training, recruitment process, formal assessment, provides demonstrable capability within their pre-defined and agreed job description, be in accordance with national or equivalent standards, cover third party contractors.

    1.4. Planning
    AIMS should be comprehensively planned for successful implementation. The planning and implementation of an Integrity Management System should includes:
    – Processes definition required to manage the integrity of asset;
    – Resources and Responsibility Allocation;
    – Identification performance against the plan;
    – Identification SCE should be included;
    – Identification business element should be included; and
    – Effective prioritization of activities

    1.5. Maintenance Management System
    Maintenance Management System (MMS) provides the process for managed and control of maintenance program including set of maintenance task and their schedules. Target object of MMS include the following:
    – Maintaining the condition, functionality, operability of equipments;
    – Reducing failure incidence or mean time between failures, downtime after failures or mean time to repair;
    – Reducing critical incidents or near miss accidents;

    1.6. Quality and Audit
    Quality management and audit should be integrated and aligned in every process embedded in every aspects of asset integrity management through out six lifecycle stages. Quality and audit system as to senior management framework to guide organization toward performance improvement can encompass the four C’s of control (defined roles and responsibilities), communication (clear reporting and record keeping), competence (training and supervision), and co-operation (interface management).

    II. Measuring AIMS Performance
    AIMS achievement can be measured by using industry key performance indicator (KPI). Setting KPIs to measure AIMS performance, to refer to RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995), and OGP (The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers), are as follow:
    – Dangerous occurrence;
    – Very High Potential Incident;
    – Loss Time Injury;
    – Major Injury;

    – Hydrocarbon Release;
    – Failure of SCE;
    – Safety Critical Maintenance Backlog; and
    – Overdue Inspection

    Reference
    1. United Kingdom Offshore Operator Association (www.ukooa.co.uk)
    2. International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (www.ogp.org.uk)
    3. The Health and Safety Executive UK (www.hse.gov.uk)


    The 50 Major Engineering Failures (1977-2007) Part-4

    May 1, 2008

    List of Engineering Failures Contributed by Material Failures, Corrosion, Design Flaw, and Construction Defect in Oil and Gas Production Facilities, Hydrocarbon Processing, and Oil and Gas Distribution

    (Part 4 of 5) -Muhammad Abduh (abduh@reksolindo.co.id)

    39. Roncador Brazil – March 15, 2001 (Tank Leaking, Offshore Platform, 2 killed, 8 missed, USD 515,000,000)

    Figure Showing P-36 listing and arrangement of EDT

    Official investigation report to the fire, explosion, and sinking to P-36 the largest offshore production facility said that the P-36 accident did not occur due to one single cause but was provoked by a series of factors. Chronology of the accident started from the failure of starboard emergency drain tank (EDT). Excessive pressure in Starboard EDT due to a mixture of water, oil, and gas, which caused rupture and leaking the EDT fluids into the fourth level of the column. The unexpected flow through the entry valve of the starboard EDT can be related with the blocking of the vent and the racket absence in the entry valve. The rupture of the EDT caused damage to other vital elements in the column including the sea water service pipe that initiating the flooding of this compartment and released gas to
    and ignited explosion. (Source 1, 2, 3, Location)

    40. Carson City California US – April 23, 2001 (Pipe Leaking, Refinery, USD 120,000,000/124,000,000)

    A pipe segment leak resulted fire in a refinery coker unit. A report said that smoke from the fire rose to over 3,000 feet and the coker unit was shut down for approximately two months. The exact cause of pipe leakin is still under investigation. (Source, Location)

    41. Rawdhatain Kuwait – January 31, 2002 (Pipe Leaking, Refinery, 4 killed,18 injured, USD 200,000,000)

    A pipe leak resulted in major explosion at an oil gathering center killing four people and made 18 other severely injured. Three main facilities at the production site were destroyed. Production restored to its normal 500,000 bbl/day a month later. (Source)

    42. Brookdale Manitoba Canada- April 14, 2002 (Stress Corrosion Cracking, Natural Gas Pipeline, USD 13,000,000)

    A 36-inches diameter natural gas pipeline ruptured at a zone of near neutral pH stress corrosion cracking (SCC). Following the rupture the sweet natural gas ignited. Technical investigation report determined that pipeline ruptured due to overstress extension of pre-existing cracks. The cracks had initiated on the outside surface of the pipe and progressed in a mode of failure of transgranular SCC. The pipeline was constructed I 1970 by double submerged arc welded straight seam pipe by the accordance of API 5L Grade X65. (Source, Location)

    43. Moomba Australia – January 1, 2004 (Liquid Metal Embrittlement, Gas Processing Plant, USD 5,000,000)

    Figure showing failed HE Nozzle of Moomba Gas Plant (Courtesy of AON)

    The gas was released that led to vapor cloud explosion. The gas released was caused by the failure of a heat exchanger inlet nozzle in the liquids recovery plant. The failure of the inlet nozzle was due to liquid metal embrittlement of the train B aluminium heat exchanger by elemental mercury. (Source, Location)

    44. Skikda Algeria – January 19, 2004 (Liquid Metal Embrittlement, LNG Plant, 27 killed 72 injured, USD 30,000,000)

    Figure showing destroyed Skikda LNG Plant

    A report noted that the explosion was the consequence of a catastrophic failure in one of the cold boxes of Unit 40, which led to a vapour cloud explosion of either LNG or refrigerant. The most probable source of ignition was the boiler at the north end of Unit 40. The report concluded that the escaped gas was from the cryogenic heat exchanger. (Source, Location)

    45. Humber Estuary Killingholme UK – April 16, 2001 (Erosion Corrosion, Refinery, USD 82,400,000)

    Figure showing destroyed Humber Estuary Refinery (HSE UK)

    On 16 April 2001 a fire and explosion occurred at Humber Refinery following the catastrophic failure of an overhead gas pipe. Investigation was carried by The Competent Authority and the plant operator company by legislative mechanism under Control of Major Hazard (COMAH) Regulation 1999. Humber refinery was one of approximately 1000 major hazard site under this regulation. The competent authority consisted of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) UK and Environment Agency (EA).


    Figure showing failed elbow of Humber Estuary Refinery (HSE UK)

    The cause of the piping system failure was the erosion corrosion of the 6-inches diameter pipe, known P4363, which carried the overhead line from the De-ethanizer (W413) to the heat exchanger (X452) in saturate gas plant (SGP) unit. The failure occurred down stream of a closely water injection point. Examination to the failed elbow recovered from the damage site showed wall thickness thinning from 7-8 mm to a minimum 0.3 mm. When the pipe failed it burst open catastrophically causing a full bore type of release the pipe contents.
    The water injection point was not the original design of the piping system. Water injection to the vapor stream between the top de-ethanizer column and the heat exchanger was addressed to solve the previous problem of salts or hydrates fouling in heat exchanger X452/3. An injection point was created in P4363 by piping water to an existing 1 inches vent point on the pipe without injection quill or dispersal device and made the water entering the pipe as a free jet.

    Similar Accident: Wilmington California United States 8 October 1992, North Rhine West Phalia Germany 10 December 1991,Yokkaichi Mie Japan 2 May 1997, Mina Al-Ahmadi Kuwait 25 June 2000. (Source, Location)