Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 22

Best Practice

SABP-A-014
8 September 2009
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control
Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control Standards Committee

Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards


Table of Contents
1
2
3
4
5

Scope and Purpose........................................ 2


Conflicts and Deviations................................. 2
References..................................................... 2
Abbreviations and Definitions......................... 3
Process Considerations................................. 4
5.1 Introduction............................................. 4
5.2 Process Description................................ 5
5.3 Corrosive Species.................................. 8
Damage Types............................................... 9
6.1 Damage Mechanisms............................. 9
6.1.1 Hydrogen Induced Cracking/
Blistering................................9
6.1.2 Under Deposit Corrosion.............. 9
6.1.3 Soil Corrosion............................... 9
6.1.4 Fatigue Cracking.......................... 9
6.1.5 Microbiologically
Influenced Corrosion.................. 10
6.1.6 Erosion/Erosion Corrosion.......... 10
6.2 Damage Locations............................... 10
Corrosion Control Options............................ 12
7.1 Materials Selection............................... 12
7.2 Coatings............................................... 14
7.3 Cathodic Protection.............................. 16
Corrosion Monitoring.................................... 17
8.1 Techniques........................................... 17
8.2 Locations.............................................. 18
8.3 Inspection............................................. 18
Contributing Authors.................................... 22

Previous Issue: New Next Planned Update: TBD


Page 1 of 22
Primary contact: Barout, Mohammed Fahad on 966-3-8760251
CopyrightSaudi Aramco 2009. All rights reserved.

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Scope and Purpose


This Saudi Aramco Best Practice (SABP) provides guidelines that will improve the
integrity of atmospheric oil degassing, spheroids, and stabilization units through a
fundamental understanding of the applicable damage mechanisms, process parameters,
inspection techniques, corrosion monitoring, and corrosion control options.
It is based on current industry experiences and recent integrity assessments of
Atmospheric oil degassing, spheroids and stabilization units in Saudi Aramco operating
facilities by an inter-departmental and multidisciplinary team of experts. It is only
meant for internal use.

Conflicts and Deviations


If there is a conflict between this Best Practice and other standards or specifications,
please contact the Coordinator of ME&CCD/CSD for resolution.

References
This best practice is based on the latest edition of the below references, unless otherwise
indicated.

Saudi Aramco References


Saudi Aramco Engineering Procedures
SAEP-20

Equipment Inspection Schedule

SAEP-1135

On-Stream Inspection Administration

Saudi Aramco Engineering Standards


SAES-H-002

Internal and External Coatings for Steel Pipelines


and Piping

SAES-L-133

Corrosion Protection Requirements for Pipelines,


Piping, and Process Equipment

SAES-P-111

Grounding

Saudi Aramco Materials System Specifications


01-SAMSS-016

Qualification of Storage Tanks and Pressured


Equipment for Resistance to Hydrogen-Induced
Cracking

01-SAMSS-035

API Line Pipe


Page 2 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Saudi Aramco Inspection Procedure


00-SAIP-75
4

External Visual Inspection Procedure

Abbreviations and Definitions


BS&W

Basic Sediment and Water

CO2

Carbon dioxide

GOSP

Gas Oil Separation Plant

HC

Hydrocarbon

HIC

Hydrogen Induced Cracking

H2 S

Hydrogen Sulfide

LPG

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

MFL

Magnetic Flux Leakage

MIC

Microbiologically-Influenced Corrosion

mpy

Mils per Year

NDT

Non-Destructive Testing

O2

Oxygen

OSI

On Stream Inspection

PFD

Process Flow Diagram

RVP

Reid Vapor Pressure

SCADA

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition

SOHIC

Stress Oriented Hydrogen Induced Cracking

Spheroid

A spherical tank, operated at near atmospheric pressure, for the purpose


of making the final step in lowering the crude pressure.

Stabilization The process consisting of heating followed by vapor stripping of the


crude; intended for control of the vapor pressure and H2S content of the
crude.
TVP

True Vapor Pressure

WFMPI

Wet Fluorescent Magnetic Particle Inspection

Page 3 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Process Considerations
5.1

Introduction
The purpose of the atmospheric oil degassing, spheroids units and stabilizers is
to process the produced crude into clean marketable products: crude oil and
associated gas. Therefore, contaminants must be removed to meet export
specifications. Removal of these contaminants also prepares the crude for
processing in Saudi Aramco domestic and export refineries.
Crude oil fed to the atmospheric oil degassing, spheroids and stabilizers units
has varying amounts of the following contaminants:

Water - Emulsions (up to 3% of crude) - Free water (above 3-50%)

Salt - 50,000 to 250,000 mg/liter formation water

HC Gas - associated gas (up to 600 scf/bbl crude)

H2S - up to 27,000 ppm

Sour wet crude must be treated to make it safe and environmentally acceptable
for storage, processing, and export. The concerns, due to various contaminants,
are shown in Table 1.
Table 1
Contaminant

Safety

Environmental

Corrosion

Water

Salt

HC Gas

H2S

There are typically three steps in the crude treatment process to remove the
contaminants to levels suitable for export or refinery processing. The process
steps and the materials removed from the crude in each are shown in Table 2.
Table2
Process

Water

Salt

Gases

GOSP

Spheroid &
Degassing Tank

Stabilizer

H2 S

X
X

Page 4 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

The gas is removed first to reduce the pressure of the crude. This makes control
of all processes simpler and reduces the cost of equipment for subsequent
treatments. Gas is evolved from the produced crude when the pressure is
reduced to the crude bubble point. For example, if a liquid is held at a constant
pressure, but its temperature is increased, a point is reached at which bubbles of
gas begin to form in the liquid. This is the bubble point. Similarly, if a liquid is
held at a constant temperature but the pressure is reduced, the point at which gas
begins to form is the bubble point. The volume of gas associated with such
typical crude is shown graphically in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Vaporization and Expansion


5.2

Process Description
5.2.1

Degassing Tanks and Spheroids


Although still commercially available, spheroids are not widely used
today, since spheres are generally more economical. Low pressure
degassing tanks are more economical for degassing high water cut
(emulsion) crudes. Saudi Aramco GOSP spheroids and low pressure
degassing tanks are used as the last or atmospheric stage separation at 3
to 15 psig to release most of the remaining dissolved gases contained in
crude oil. The shape of a spheroid approximates the ideal shape of a
freestanding liquid droplet in which the shell stresses are theoretically
equal in all directions. With this type of configuration, the shell plates
are used more effectively than in cylindrical tanks to resist the liquid and
gas pressures within the vessel. In larger sizes (above 30,000 to
40,000 bbl) spheroids are constructed with one or more nodes and are
known as noded spheroids. These have been built with capacities up to
100,000 bbl. A typical spheroid, used to reduce the crude pressure to
very near atmospheric pressure, is shown in Figure 2.
Page 5 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

The liquid level in the spheroid is held at approximately 30% to allow


mist in the vapor to settle out and return to the liquid. Additional
processing is required to release the final portions of associated gas as
well as the H2S present in the crude.

Figure 2 Typical Spheroid


5.2.2

Stabilizers
The objective of crude stabilization is to remove light hydrocarbons and
H2S from the crude in order to achieve an acceptable level of volatility
for storage and transportation and an acceptable concentration of H2S.
Generally, it is not desirable to remove from the crude any hydrocarbons
beyond the required minimum. There are two obvious advantages to
retaining the lighter hydrocarbons in the stabilized crude. First, liquids
can be stored and transported to the user more economically than gas.
Second, retention of the lighter hydrocarbons in the liquid phase is
especially important when the separated gas has no market value.
Conversely, retention of too many light ends can cause problems.
The quantity of light ends that must be removed from the crude oil is
controlled by the composition of the oil, the ambient air temperature,
method of transportation, and economic considerations.
Refineries and tankers require crude oil to meet its maximum vapor
pressure specifications. If the crude contains H2S, its concentration must
be lowered to reduce toxicity and corrosion and to meet sales
Page 6 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

specifications. For Saudi Aramco units, the H2S content is generally the
controlling specification. The H2S content specification in the stabilized
crude leaving the units generally varies between 1 and 70 parts per
million (ppm). At such low H2S contents, volatility specifications, for
example, 13 psia Reid vapor pressure (RVP) are normally met. The
maximum allowable H2S content in the stabilized crude is 70 ppm;
however, Ras Tanura Refinery requires a lower H2S content when
maximizing NGL.
Figure 3 illustrates a typical stabilization unit. Desalted crude at the
ambient temperature is fed to the top tray. A set of reboilers provides the
driving force for stripping light material and H2S. Live steam is also
injected in the reboiler return line. The bottoms temperature is a
function of the quality of stripping and is a good indication of the H2S
content in the bottoms. The gas from the column overhead is sent to
compression and recovery of light hydrocarbons. The bottoms, the
stabilized crude, is cooled and then stored or shipped.

Figure 3 Typical Crude Stabilization Unit


While the degassing tanks and spheroids are usually located at Wet
Crude Handing Facilitates such as Abqaiq, Safaniya, Tanajib and Qatif,
the crude stabilization processing are always centrally located. Figure 4
shows the overall crude processing employed at Abqaiq, including
spheroids, crude stabilization, and gas recovery.

Page 7 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Figure 4 Abqaiq Plants Processing


5.3

Corrosive Species
Below is a list of corrosive species that are found in crude oil which needs to be
accounted for in the design of crude oil spheroids and stabilizers:
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, poisonous gas that has a characteristic
rotten egg odor at low concentrations; it is often present in crude oil
production. H2S dissolves in water to from a weak acid. The weak acid
dissociates to hydrogen ions. The hydrogen ions are responsible for the
corrosion nature of H2S. H2S usually causes pitting in steel. Other
problems that may result from H2S include blistering of steel, Sulfide
Stress Cracking, Hydrogen Embrittlement and Hydrogen Induced
Cracking.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide may result from the decomposition of bicarbonates
present in or added to crude, or from steam injection used in the
stabilizer process. CO2, when dissolved in water, forms carbonic acid.
This acid may attack metallic equipment, in particular carbon steels and
low-alloy steels. The corrosion can be mostly in the form of pitting and
localized thinning.

Page 8 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Oxygen (O2)
Oxygen can enter spheroids and stabilizers systems in many places.
Oxygen can enter through the pumps mechanical seals or loose
mechanical couplings such as Victaulic or threaded couplings. Also,
oxygen can be sucked into tanks when the liquid level is lowered or
through a line under pressure through small leaks in case of a high fluid
velocity. Oxygen when dissolved in water corrodes steel in the form of
accelerated pitting more rapidly than does an equivalent amount of CO2
or H2S. Oxygen can cause corrosion at concentrations as low as 50 parts
per billion (ppb). Oxygen reacts with H2S to produce active sulfur
compounds that are very corrosive.
Salts
Dissolved salts are often present in crude oil either in suspension or
dissolved in entrained water. Salts have a major effect on the corrosivity
of water. The conductivity of water increases as dissolved salts content
increases. The kinds of salts dissolved in water also affect the corrosion
rate. For example, Research shows that chloride ions aid corrosion more
that sulfate, bicarbonate or carbonate ions. Chloride ions prevent uniform
corrosion deposits from forming a protective film on many corroding
metal surfaces and consequently pitting can occur in these environments.
6

Damage Types
6.1

Damage Mechanisms
6.1.1

Hydrogen Induced Cracking/Blistering


HIC may form as surface bulges on the ID surface, or within the wall
thickness of a pipe or pressure vessel. Blistering which is a special type
of HIC, results from hydrogen atoms that form during the sulfide
corrosion process on the surface of the steel, that diffuse into the steel,
and collect at a discontinuity in the steel such as an inclusion, dislocation
or lamination. The hydrogen atoms combine to form hydrogen
molecules that are too large to diffuse out and the pressure builds to the
point where local deformation occurs, forming a blister.

6.1.2

Under Deposit Corrosion


Under deposit corrosion is a form of localized corrosion and pitting that
occurs underneath deposits due to a formation of a localized corrosion cell
which results in higher corrosion rate when compared to the bulk fluid.
Page 9 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

6.1.3

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Soil Corrosion
Soil corrosion is the localized deterioration and corrosion of metal in
contact with soil. Corrosion is determined by many factors including
temperature, moisture and oxygen availability, soil resistivity (soil
condition and characteristics), soil type (water drainage), and
homogeneity (variation in soil type), cathodic protection, stray current
drainage, coating type, age, and condition.
Example: Abu Ali, E/W pipeline and Abqaiq Plants experienced soil
corrosion on Spheroid or degassing tank bottom plates in contact with
oily sand and in situation where no cathodic protection (CP) exists.

6.1.4

Fatigue Cracking
Fatigue cracking is a mechanical form of degradation that occurs when a
component is exposed to cyclical stresses for an extended period, often
resulting in sudden, unexpected failure. Vibration-induced fatigue due to
fluid flow has often caused fatigue cracking in some equipment.
Example: Abu Ali and Abqaiq Plants Spheroid riser caps encountered
vibration induced fatigue due to fluid flow causing fatigue cracking in
some equipment.
Mechanical fatigue cracks at the top and bottom structure tie members
weldments caused by the structure vibration due to incoming crude high
velocity flow rate: additional structure supports and oil deflector caps
were installed to eliminate the vibration problem. There was no more
vibration taken place within all spheroid tanks after the modifications
were implemented.

6.1.5

Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion


Microbiologically induced corrosion is the deterioration of metals due to
the direct or indirect activity of living organisms. Bacteria are usually
classed as aerobic or anaerobic (the ability to grow with or without the
presence of oxygen). Anaerobic bacteria, including the type most
commonly associated with corrosion, Sulphate Reducing Bacteria
(SRB), function in situations where little or no oxygen is present. SRB
act to produce H2S and water from sulphates in the environment, by the
consumption of hydrogen.

Page 10 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

6.1.6

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Erosion/Erosion Corrosion
Erosion corrosion is acceleration in the rate of corrosion attack in metal
due to the relative motion of a corrosive fluid and a metal surface. The
increased turbulence caused by pitting on the internal surfaces of a tube
can result in rapidly increasing erosion rates and eventually a leak. A
combination of erosion and corrosion can lead to extremely high pitting
rates.

6.2

Damage Locations
Figures 5 & 6 provide the different damage mechanisms and their locations for
Oil degassing, Spheroids and Stabilizers respectively:

Figure 5 Typical Potential Damage Mechanisms


for Oil Degassing and Spheroids

Page 11 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Figure 6 Typical Potential Damage Mechanisms for Stabilizers


7

Corrosion Control Options


7.1

Materials Selection
Carbon steel is the basic material of construction for degassing tanks, spheroids
and stabilizers. In some cases, alloy materials have been used to help resolve
some corrosion problems.
7.1.1

Degassing Tanks and Spheroids


Materials selection by equipment is as follows:

CS Carbon Steel
Equipment

Materials

Spheroid

CS

Degassing Tank

CS

Page 12 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

7.1.2

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Stabilizers
Materials selection by equipment:

CS Carbon Steel

SS Stainless Steel
Equipment

Materials

Stabilizer Column

CS

Tray

410 SS

Top section

Monel lining

Stabilizer Reboiler
Tube sheet

CS

Tube

CS

Shell side

CS

Stabilizer fin fan cooler


Tube sheet (header)

CS

Tube

CS

Stabilizer bottoms pump


Casing

CS

Impeller

CS or SS (martensitic)

Piping

CS

Valves

CS (Trim 12 - martensitic SS)

Wet H2S damages are usually controlled by proper material selection at


the design phase of a project. 01-SAMSS-035 and 01-SAMSS-016
specify the requirements for testing and qualifying materials for
resistance to HIC.
Example: Abqaiq Plants experienced HIC and blistering in the spheroid
top section and were controlled by Monel lining.
Wet H2S damage has been experienced in 50% of the upper dome
sections of stabilizer columns in the form of hydrogen blistering. As yet
other forms of H2S corrosion have not been seen, but the threat of
continued damage in this area cannot be discounted under the current
operating conditions, and acidic overhead vapor. This section of plant is
by far the area most at risk of corrosion attack, along with the
downstream piping to the overhead Knock Out Drum.
Page 13 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Several mitigation methods can be used to control HIC damage and


blistering. These methods include:

7.2

During design, the use of HIC-resistant steels to minimize the


susceptibility to blistering and HIC damage.

For existing equipment, effective barriers that protect the surface of


the steel from the wet H2S environment can prevent damage
including alloy cladding and coatings.

Coatings
7.2.1

Degassing Tanks and Spheroids


Thick film polymeric coating with 20 mils and above shall be specified
for the internal application for crude spheroid tanks. Glass flake coatings
as per APCS-2G can be used as internal corrosion protection. Solvent
free, 100% solid epoxy phenolic can also be used as per APCS-2E.
The external surface shall receive three coats system consisting of
corrosion resistance primer (polyamide epoxy in APCS-1B, thermal
reflective coating (APCS-5) and top-clear coat for dirt and gloss
retention. This system will reduce the heating build up and maintain
stabilized stored products. The approved thermal reflective coatings are:
Cereatch 901 from Ceratech, Tank-Shield from Thermo Shield,
Supertherm from Superior Inc, Delta T from Mascoat and Ceramic
Cover CC-100 from Envirotrol.
Tank bottom soil side can be coated with coal tar epoxy as per APCS-3 if
the service temperature is less than 70C or can be coated with 100%
solid epoxy as per APCS-113A if the service temperature is not
exceeding 150C.

7.2.2

Stabilizers
Piping and Valves
The 8 inch and above piping with flange connection, sour crude piping
can be protected from under deposit corrosion with glass flake coating,
Polyglass VEF Pipe Grade from Corrocoat or 100% solid epoxy novolac
as per APCS-2E in SAES-H-101. From 8 inches and above, gate or
butterfly valves, can be protected from corrosion and erosion with
ceramic filled epoxy coatings (e.g., ARC-S2 from Chesterton, Belzona
1391S, Ceramkote54).

Page 14 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Under Insulation & Fireproofing


Zinc rich coatings should not be used under insulation operating between
50C and 150C for carbon steel. Use non-halides, non low melting
filled metals in coatings for stainless steel substrates. An immersion
resistance coating such as APCS-2A can be used under insulated carbon
steel from 40C up to 120C. High heat epoxy phenol coating (e.g.,
Intertherm 228) can be used for carbon steel up to 230C. High heat
silicone base coatings (e.g., Jotatemp650, Hi-Temp 1027) are suitable
coatings for carbon and stainless steel substrate up to 650C. Use
polyamide epoxy coating as per APCS-1B under organic fireproofing up
to 120C. Use galvanized structure or mastic epoxy coated with APCS26 or inorganic zinc under concrete type fireproofing material at ambient
temperature. For cycling temperature between -196C- 400C, cold
spray aluminum coating (e.g., Intertherm 751) can be used on carbon and
stainless steel.
Thermal Insulating Coating for Crude Piping, Valves and Pumps
New technology in coating that can provide a hot thermal insulation for
hot piping, valves and pumps. It is applied in the range of 40-120 mils
rather than the thick bulky conventional insulations. This new insulating
coating will eliminate the risk of hidden corrosion under insulation. It
can insulate any irregular equipment such as valve and pump. It is easy
and faster in installation than the traditional insulation. The carbon steel
substrate requires an anti-corrosion primer depending on service
temperature. Polyamide epoxy primer as per APCS-1B can be used up
to 120C. The approved thermal insulating coatings are ceramic cover
CC-100 from Envirtorl, hot pipe coating from Superior Inc, and Delta T
from Mascoat.
Reboilers
Reboilers tubes can be protected from corrosion attack by the application
of heat cured phenolic epoxy coating as per APCS-100 in SAES-H-002.
Internal surfaces of tube sheet and covers can be coated with thick film
100% solid epoxy system manufactured from Saekphen, Belzona, ARC,
Duromar or corrcoat coating companies. If not insulated, the external
surface can be coated with polyamide epoxy as per APCS-1B up to
120C or inorganic zinc coating as per APCS-17A if the operating
temperature is above 150C. High heat silicone coatings can be used if
operating at more than 120C and up to 650C. However, for personal
protection and energy retention, usually heat exchangers have to be

Page 15 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

insulated. If it requires insulation, then the new thermal insulating


coating is the best option.
7.3

Cathodic Protection
7.3.1

Degassing Tanks and Spheroids


Cathodic Protection for Equipment Internals
Degassing tanks and spheroids are protected with either magnesium or
aluminum anodes mounted internally on the tank bottom plates (and
inside the sump) to ensure sufficient protection when water accumulates
on the bottom of the tank and/or inside the sump.
Only zinc alloy anodes specified by the manufacturer and approved by
CSD as suitable for service at elevated temperatures above 70C, or
aluminum alloy anodes shall be used in wet crude separation vessels.
Refer to Standard Drawing AA-036389.
Sumps and bottoms of crude tanks, with an exception of jet fuel storage
tanks, shall be cathodically protected by galvanic anodes according to
Standard Drawing AA-036762. Consult with CSD for cathodic
protection of tank bottoms coated with thick type internal coating.
Cathodic Protection for Equipment Externals
New above grade storage tanks are protected against soil-side corrosion
using grid or continuous MMO (Mixed Metal Oxide) anode systems
installed underneath the tank and designed to ensure a relatively uniform
current distribution that maintains all points on the tank bottom within
the required protection criteria limits. The anode system is installed
while the tank is being constructed.

7.3.2

Stabilizers
Cathodic protection is not a common means of preventing corrosion in
stabilization processes.

Corrosion Monitoring
8.1

Techniques
This section describes various methods for corrosion monitoring. Within Saudi
Aramco, the generally accepted maximum corrosion rate is 3 mpy. Corrosion
rates determined through monitoring techniques rarely match exactly the actual
rates experienced in the vessel. Successful corrosion management is obtained
Page 16 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

through building a history of monitoring results and correlating that data to


actual T&I or OSI (On-Stream Inspection) inspection results. The following
methods can be used to monitor corrosion behavior On-line Corrosion
Monitoring:

Weight loss coupons (gives only average rate)

NDT Testing (OSI)

CP Anode Monitoring System (AMS) for the Plant Vessels

Laboratory analyses
o
o
o
o
o

Corrosion product analysis


Iron counts
Bacteria counts
Brine analysis
Hydrocarbon composition, gas composition and acid gas content

Monitoring changes in process variables; i.e., pressure, temperature and/or


production.

Failure analysis

Visual inspection

Record keeping: while not a monitoring function, accurate record keeping is


essential to ensure realistic and representative monitoring analysis

Some methods are useful for on-stream measurements, either continuous or


periodic. Others are methods used during shutdowns. For example, if the intent
is to monitor general corrosion rates over long time, coupons are a good choice.
If the intent is to monitor the efficacy of a chemical inhibition program, then a
more sensitive and real-time system, such as on-line corrosion monitoring,
should be selected. Corrosion coupons and on-line probes are often used in
studying the effectiveness of corrosion inhibitor programs or the effects of
specific process changes on corrosion. However, they do not accurately
measure localized corrosion (pitting).
The corrosion coupons/probes readings should be used to create a corrosion rate
loss indicator through the trending of data. Whenever this indicator shows an
upwards trend, the corrosion inhibition and process parameters of the plant
piping and equipment shall be reviewed by skilled corrosion engineer.
8.2

Locations
The recommended locations of corrosion coupons/probes for oil degassing

Page 17 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

tanks, spheroids and stabilization units are as follows:

8.3

Gas outlet from degassing tank or spheroid

Crude inlet to degassing tank or spheroid

Crude outlet from degassing tank or spheroid

Gas outlet of stabilizer

Crude inlet to stabilizer

Inspection
Inspection should include OSI and T&I activities. OSI shall be performed as
part of the operating plant activities including both visual and NDT applicable
methods. Visual inspection is an external inspection carried out as part of the
00-SAIP-75 requirement. This type of inspection should indicate any leaks
through flanges or due to corrosion of equipment and piping and any other
abnormalities such as loss of insulation, damage to foundations, etc. NDT shall
include UT gauging of piping and equipment as required by SAEP-1135 and
EIS per SAEP-20. This is the first line of defense for inspection in evaluating
the integrity of equipment and piping.
T&I activities cover both visual and applicable NDT methods. Visual
inspection is the primary method of examination for equipment that is taken off
line and can be entered. Additionally, it finds areas where NDT methods are
required for confirmation and evaluation. During the T&I, NDT methods to be
selected should be economical, easy and fast to use and give positive results in
evaluating the integrity of the equipment and piping.
Applicable inspection methods for potential damage mechanisms for degassing
tanks, spheroids and stabilizers are as follows:
8.3.1

Stabilizers
Internals: inspection includes corrosion, erosion, mechanical damage to
trays, bubble caps, tray support rings. Inspect these items visually for
the damage mechanisms above and carry out dimensional checks and
physical measurements of each item and compare to the original
dimensions. Check tray floor with sprit level for evidence of off-level
condition or warping, if required remedial actions shall be undertaken.
Vessel Wall, Heads and Nozzles: These items are inspected visually
for visible cracks, pits, erosion and bulges. Carry out UT thickness
survey to the shell wall, dished heads, nozzles and compare to the
original and or the previous readings to evaluate the corrosion rate.
Page 18 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Clean a minimum of 10% of selected welds and attachment welds and


perform WFMPI test. If cracks are detected, then perform 100%
WFMPI test to ensure the welds are free from defects. If previously
lined, inspect the lining, the welds and the end of welds by DP testing or
include by WFMPI.
8.3.2

Spheroids
Externals: Inspection includes any indications of vibration, metal loss,
CUI. Look for visual signs of vibration and pipe movements. Check for
audible signs of vibration internally or externally from the tank, piping
and valves and conduct visual inspection during transient conditions
(such as startups, shutdowns, upsets, etc.) for intermittent vibration
conditions. Inspection should also include visual and UT thickness
survey along the ladder line and accessible locations including the roof
and nozzles. Berms and tank support shall be visually inspected for any
damages. On supports, remove insulation to a height of one foot and
inspect for corrosion.
Internals: Internal inspection focuses on the damage mechanisms such
as corrosion to tank plates, weld cracking, bulges, pitting, mechanical
damages and vibration induced fatigue cracking. Visual internal
inspection also includes coatings and anode condition, the condition of
inlet piping and water boot, shell plates and roof plates for all defects as
mentioned above. Visually inspect all welds and particular attention to
the T-joints, followed by WFMPI of 10% welds at the bottom and top of
the tank. Continue 100% test in case defects are detected, followed by
MFL testing of bottom plates for corrosion. If MFL is not made
available, then carry out UT survey/scanning to the plates.

8.3.3

Degassing Tanks
Externals: Inspection includes any signs of vibration, pipe movement,
metal loss, CUI, coating failure. Look for visual signs of vibration and
pipe movements. Check for audible signs of vibration internally or
externally from the tank, piping and valves and conduct visual inspection
during transient conditions (such as startups, shutdowns, upsets, etc.) for
intermittent vibration conditions. Inspection should also include visual
and UT thickness survey along the ladder line and accessible locations
including the roof and nozzles. Berms and tank support shall be visually
inspected for any damages.
Internals: Inspection should include any signs of corrosion, HIC,
bulges, vibration, inlet pipe movement, fatigue cracking and coating
damages. Internal inspection will focus on the damage mechanism such
Page 19 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

as coating failure, corrosion to tank plate, weld cracking, bulges, pitting,


mechanical damages and vibration induced fatigue cracking. Visual
internal inspection shall include the coating and anode condition, the
condition of inlet piping and water boot, shell plates and roof plates for
all defects as mentioned above.
Visually inspect the coating of the tank for blisters and peel off of
coating. If the coating and anodes are in good condition, further NDT
methods will not be required. If the coating is severely damaged, then
the inspection shall proceed to visually inspect all welds and particular
attention to the T-joints, followed by WFMPI of 10% welds at the
bottom and top of the tank. Continue 100% test if in case defects are
detected, followed by MFL testing of bottom plates for corrosion. If
MFL is not made available, then carry out UT survey/scanning to the
plates.
8.3.4

Reboilers
Tube Bundle: Inspect the tube bundle for corrosion using MFL method,
visually inspect for pitting, ligament cracking and by hydrostatic testing
for tube leaks.
Shell and Heads: Clean and inspect visually and by WFMPI for cracks
on the welds. Thicknesses survey the shell, heads and pass patrician
plates for metal loss.

Advanced Inspection Techniques


The following advanced NDT techniques may be of use in the progressive
inspection of equipment and piping:

Automated UT Mapping (P-Scan)


This method is used to inspect vessels and piping for corrosion, hydrogen
blistering and environmental cracking. This method is very useful
particularly for piping.

Advanced UT Scanner
This technique is used to inspect piping and equipment at elevated
temperatures (550F) and is used to verify stepwise cracking and blistering.

Time of Flight Diffraction (TOFD)


An Ultrasonic system is used to detect and size weld defects and base metal
defects on pressure vessels and piping. This is used at ambient temperature.
Page 20 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

Equipment
Reboilers

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

In Service Inspection

Out of Service Inspection

Visual Test (VT)

Visual Test (VT)

Ultrasonic Thickness (UT)

Wet Florescent Magnetic Particle


Inspection (WFMPI)

Radiographic Testing (RT)

Penetrant Testing (PT)

Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI)


Ultrasonic Thickness (UT)
Radiographic Testing (RT)

Spheroids

Visual Test (VT)

Visual Test (VT)

Ultrasonic Thickness (UT)

Wet Florescent Magnetic Particle


Inspection (WFMPI)

Radiographic Testing (RT)

Penetrant Testing (PT)

Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI)


Ultrasonic Thickness (UT)
Radiographic Testing (RT)

Stabilizer Column

Visual Test (VT)

Visual Test (VT)

Ultrasonic Thickness (UT)

Wet Florescent Magnetic Particle


Inspection (WFMPI)

Radiographic Testing (RT)

Penetrant Testing (PT)

Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI)


Ultrasonic Thickness (UT)
Radiographic Testing (RT)

Contributing Authors
Name

Affiliation

Mohammed Al-Barout

Consulting Services Department

Maslat Al-Waranbi

Consulting Services Department

Faisal Al- Mutahhar

Consulting Services Department

Salah Al-Nujaim

Consulting Services Department

Iyad Al-Buraiki

Consulting Services Department

Husain Al-Mahrous

Consulting Services Department

Abdullah Banihumaim

Process & Control System Department

Abdulgader Seyed

Inspection Department

Maher Al-Khashram

Consulting Services Department

Page 21 of 22

Document Responsibility: Materials and Corrosion Control


Issue Date: 8 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-014
Atmospheric Oil Degassing, Spheroids
and Stabilizers Corrosion Control

Acknowledgement
Technical Contributors
Name

Affiliation

Brian W. Burgess

Northern Area Technical Support Department

Ivan C. Cruz

Consulting Services Department

Robin D. Tems

Consulting Services Department

Mahmood Al- Ridy

Northern Area Technical Support Department

Nassir A. Al-Yami

East/West Pipeline Department

Salman A. Al-Dossary

Abqaiq Plants Operation Department

Arthur K. Debbert

Abqaiq Plants Operation Department

8 September 2009

Revision Summary
New Saudi Aramco Best Practice.

Page 22 of 22