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Susceptibility of Stress Corrosion Cracking in Liquid and Gas Pipelines: A Saudi Aramco Study Using Statistical Approaches

[+] Author Affiliations
William Harper

Otterbein University, Westerville, OH

Nader A. Al-Otaibi, Abdulaziz N. Ababtain, Husain M. Al-Muslim

Saudi Arabian Oil Company, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Thomas Bubenik

Det Norske Veritas, Dublin, OH

Paper No. IPC2016-64348, pp. V001T03A015; 7 pages
  • 2016 11th International Pipeline Conference
  • Volume 1: Pipelines and Facilities Integrity
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 26–30, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Pipeline Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5025-1
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Owned by the Saudi Arabian Government, Saudi Aramco is a fully-integrated, global petroleum enterprise and a world leader in exploration and producing, refining, distribution, shipping and marketing. The company manages the largest proven reserves of conventional crude and the fourth-largest gas reserves in the world. The company runs a vast network of pipelines transporting oil, gas and refined products to processing plants, refineries, export terminals and other customers all over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco maintains its commitment to supply gas to the continuously growing local markets by implementing latest technologies and state of the art engineering solutions.

Since 2009, and as a result of launching an Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) In-Line Inspection (ILI) Program, Saudi Aramco has discovered Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC) defects in a number of its pipelines. Saudi Aramco built on ASME B31.8S criteria for identifying SCC susceptible segments to prioritize its network to manage the utilization of the EMAT technology. The criteria were based on pipeline operating parameters, environment, age and condition. An Extensive Field Verification program was put in action that illustrated the capabilities of the EMAT ILI tools. (Saudi Aramco’s ILI program included a few additional runs of Ultrasound Crack Detection Tool, UTCD, as well).

This paper discusses in more detail how the Study Team enhanced the ASME B31.8S prioritization criteria and the major findings and highlights realized from this activity. A statistical evaluation of the data compiled in the 1st phase of the comprehensive study was conducted along with the literature review. The Study Team used logistic regressions[1,2] to identify factors that increase or decrease the likelihood that cracking is present. The trends that were identified relate to coating type, pipe grade, pipeline age, diameter, thickness, metal loss, cathodic protection (CP) level, slope, and pipe type. The Study Team used the findings to profile crack susceptibility in the pipelines found with SCC and for the Saudi Aramco pipeline network as a whole to identify pipelines susceptible to cracking to include in the future ILI runs.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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