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Guidelines for corrosion monitoring

in oil and gas production

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Guidelines for corrosion monitoring in oil and gas production


M.J.J. Simon Thomas, S. Terpstra and J.F.M. van Roij

Keywords: corrosion monitoring, pipelines, facilities, wall loss

A guideline is presented for the design of corrosion monitoring systems for upstream environments, such
as pipelines or oil and gas separation and processing facilities. The guideline includes an appendix with
an overview of monitoring techniques and their capabilities.

In the section on the design of a monitoring system criteria can be developed that can subsequently be
used to select a system. Relevant properties of a monitoring system are described as well as the corrosion
control aspects of the corrosion environment. A selection process is presented in the form of a flow
diagram, that guides the user step-by-step through the relevant points to derive a list of requirements that
a monitoring system has to satisfy.

In Appendix 1 an overview is given of capabilities of corrosion monitoring systems. This is structured in

a uniform way and is addressing the properties of corrosion monitoring systems for which criteria are
developed in the design process.

Certain aspects of the design of a corrosion monitoring system are not satisfactory: what lacks is an overall
definition of the confidence of the results produced by a corrosion monitoring system, in other words, in
how far a user can rely on the output of a corrosion monitoring system. It is recommended to develop
a definition of confidence obtained from a corrosion monitoring system. Also it was found that quantitative
data of corrosion monitoring techniques is lacking, and that industry has not adopted a uniform way to
define capabilities and performance of monitoring systems.

Amsterdam, December 2002

OG.02.20773 -i- CONFIDENTIAL



1. Introduction 1

2. Corrosion monitoring and asset integrity 2

2.1 Where does corrosion monitoring fit? 2

2.2 The role of a corrosion monitoring system 2

2.3 Corrosion monitoring for corrosion control 3

2.4 Corrosion monitoring for problem solving 4

2.5 Corrosion monitoring for inspection planning 4

3. Corrosion monitoring tools and techniques 5

3.1 Description of tools 5

3.2 Application of monitoring tools 6

3.2.1 Measurement of physical metal loss 6
3.2.2 Measurement of electrochemical properties of
corroding surfaces 6
3.2.3 Monitoring of process parameters and chemical
analysis 6
3.2.4 Other measurements 7

4. Corrosion monitoring system design 7

4.1 Monitoring objective 8

4.2 Selection of monitoring parameters 9

4.3 Selection of the monitoring technique 9

4.3.1 Matching technique and monitoring parameter 9
4.3.2 Select monitoring location 9

4.4 Sensitivity and response time 10

4.5 Stability of a monitoring system 12

4.6 Data communication requirements 12

4.7 Data documentation and storage requirements 12

4.8 System reliability 13

4.9 Corrosion monitoring system selection 13

OG.02.20773 - ii - CONFIDENTIAL

Contents (cont'd)


4.10 Managing corrosion monitoring 15

5. Corrosion monitoring in practice 16

5.1 Classifying monitoring performance 17

5.2 Examples of corrosion monitoring to manage corrosion

control 19
5.2.1 Inhibited systems, sweet corrosion 19
5.2.2 Inhibited systems, sour corrosion 21
5.2.3 Corrosion controlled by routine pigging 21
5.2.4 Systems suffering from oxygen corrosion 22
5.2.5 Systems suffering from bacterial corrosion 22
5.2.6 Systems with process control 23

5.3 Examples of corrosion monitoring to optimise inspection

planning 23
5.3.1 Wall thickness monitoring 23
5.3.2 Corrosion rate monitoring 24

5.4 Examples of corrosion mechanism studies 24

6. Discussion 24

7. Conclusions 26

8. Recommendations 26

Table 1 Application windows of typical monitoring applications 19

Table 2 Applicability of Various Monitoring Techniques by Corrosion Circuit 27

Figure 1 Place of corrosion management in the life cycle of an asset 2

Figure 2 Corrosion control loop, showing an active and passive mode of
control 3
Figure 3 Managing asset remnant life using corrosion monitoring 3
Figure 4 Managing inspection planning using corrosion monitoring 5
Figure 5 Building blocks of the corrosion monitoring process 8
Figure 6 The measurement of the corrosion rate is dependent on the error in the
thickness measurement and the elapsed time between the
measurements 11
OG.02.20773 - iii - CONFIDENTIAL

Contents (cont'd)

Figure 7 Flow diagram to support selection of a corrosion monitoring system 14
Figure 8 Managing the Corrosion Monitoring process 16
Figure 9 With a Sensitivity-Response plot the performance of a corrosion
monitoring technique can be characterised (with an S-R line) relative
to the application window of a typical application 17
Figure 10 Application Windows depicted in the S-R-plot. The size range of the
application windows is given in Table 1. 18

Appendix 1 Properties of corrosion monitoring tools 29

Appendix 2 Assessing Sensitivity and Response of CM-systems 80

OG.02.20773 -1- CONFIDENTIAL

1. Introduction
There are significant incentives to monitor corrosion in oil and gas production. Monitoring can
provide a warning of high corrosion rates. It can also be used to measure loss of wall thickness,
to verify the effectiveness of corrosion control or to support remnant life extension. As such it is
part of the battle against premature degradation that can have cost penalties due to lost
production or unplanned replacements or ultimately compromise safety and the environment.

This report provides an overview of corrosion monitoring (CM) aspects that are relevant for oil
and gas production. It includes the place of CM in the asset integrity management process,
a description of all common corrosion monitoring tools and techniques, how to select the right
technique and how to manage the collected data. Examples of practical applications and suitable
key performance indicators (KPI) are also given.

Input from OU representatives has been used for this report along with the authors experience.

It is difficult to draw the line between corrosion monitoring and inspection. On one end of the
spectrum of techniques we find such methods as weightloss coupons and electrochemical probes,
on the other end there are techniques that provide a complete picture of a system such as
intelligent pigging and ultrasonic scans of extensive areas. For the purpose of this report we
define corrosion monitoring as any approach that makes use of one or several local
measurements to help diagnose the corrosion of the whole system. For this purpose corrosion
monitoring will typically focus on corrosion in a relatively early stage. The approach makes use of
intrusive techniques to measure corrosion or corrosivity, sample analyses, monitoring of critical
process parameters and wall thickness measurements.

The scope of this document is limited to internal corrosion (either pitting or more general
weightloss). Hence it does not include other degradation types such as fatigue, cracking, or
erosion, although some of the techniques can be applied for such purposes.

The scope of this document in relation to other reports and guidelines is shown in the overview

SIEP 98-5200 DEP

Maintenance Selection of Materials DEP
Level 1 Management For Lifecycle Pipeline Engineering
Guideline Performance (EP)

SIEP 98-5212 DEP SIEP 99-5023 DEP

Corrosion Management Carbon Steel Pipeline Integrity Chemical Injection
Level 2 Corrosion Engineering Management Facilities
Manual (EP)


Linepipe for Linepipe for Piping Classes - EP
non-critical service critical service

SIEP 98-5703 OG.02.20620

Guidelines for the
Level 3 Pipeline Risk Based (Updated by
design and operation
Inspection On-line Help Manual
of corrosion inhibition
in the software)
systems in
oil and gas production
SIEP 97-6059
Planning and
Application of This report OG.02.20555
Pigging Operations Guidelines for the
Selection and testing
of corrosion inhibitors
OG.02.20773 -2- CONFIDENTIAL

2. Corrosion monitoring and asset integrity

2.1 Where does corrosion monitoring fit?

Corrosion monitoring is an integral part of the asset integrity management process (Figure 1).
Corrosion monitoring plays a role the design phase, the operational phase, and in the deviation
control process.


Figure 1 Place of corrosion management in the life cycle of an asset

By making corrosion monitoring an integral part of the design of an asset, a strong economic
incentive is reduction in over-design or avoiding conservative selection of materials; reducing
capital costs could make projects commercially attractive that would otherwise not be viable.

In the operational phase corrosion monitoring can support the three processes Operations,
Maintenance and Inspection in various ways (see below), with clear economic advantages arising
from the potential for reducing down time and preventing or postponing early replacement.
Moreover, monitoring can be used to enhance safety and protect the environment.

In the deviation control process support can be given to studies to enhance the operating window
(e.g. de-bottlenecking to increase throughput), or to remedy corrosion problems that were not
expected in the design phase.

2.2 The role of a corrosion monitoring system

Corrosion monitoring is by definition part of a process with a feedback loop. However, corrosion
monitoring can be an active part of the loop or, and this is the more common role, a more or less
passive one. An active role is for instance when the corrosion monitoring system is directly
providing the input data for corrosion control, for instance by adjusting throughput, temperature,
or inhibitor concentration. A passive role is when the corrosion monitoring system is monitoring
the performance of the corrosion control process.

For both purposes one has to consider what is required of the system in view of its sensitivity,
response time and reliability. This evaluation should be part of the design of the corrosion
monitoring system, which is further discussed in Section 4.1.
OG.02.20773 -3- CONFIDENTIAL

Corrosion Control Loop

Active - -process
conditions Passive
- -fluid
analysis Corrosion
- -corrosion
- -wall
probes (verification)
- -inhibitor

- -throughput Analyse
Analyse throughput
Is target for remnant
- -temperature
Are parameters temperature
life met?
- -pressure
within operating Is target for
- -CO2,
window? integrity met
- -inhibitor

- -operating
- -materials
- -corrosion

Figure 2 Corrosion control loop, showing an active and passive mode of control

2.3 Corrosion monitoring for corrosion control

The ultimate goal of corrosion control is to manage asset remnant life, in order to safeguard
capital invested. Different strategies can be applied, i.e. keeping the plant in green state (e.g. if
no end of field life can be defined), or allowing for controlled degradation during asset life.
Generally this means that remnant life of the asset (or a component) will have to be longer than
the economic service life of the asset (see Figure 3).

Corrosion Monitoring for Corrosion Control


nominal thickness

corrosion allowance

minimum allowable

TEnd of Life Tremnant life

Figure 3 Managing asset remnant life using corrosion monitoring

OG.02.20773 -4- CONFIDENTIAL

Corrosion monitoring is used to assure that asset life is not jeopardised by too many high
corrosion rate-periods, thus to prevent that the corrosion remnant life, Tremnant life, will become
shorter than the economic life, Tend of life.

The aim during the life of the plant or pipeline is to limit the corrosion events, in other words,
not to consume the corrosion allowance before the plants end of life. Typical examples of
degradation mechanisms that need control during the plants life are:
CO2 corrosion, controlled by inhibition, pigging;
H2S corrosion, controlled by continuous and batch inhibition, pigging and maintaining
protective scales or by process control (sweetening)
Oxygen corrosion, controlled by avoiding oxygen ingress or injecting scavengers;
Bacterial corrosion, controlled by biocide treatment, pigging;
Unacceptable process conditions (temperature; pH; flow velocity), controlled by tuning
process conditions.
In developing the corrosion monitoring approach many of the requirements will stem from the
corrosion design, either defined at the design stage or adapted during the assets life, and these
should be documented in a Corrosion Management Manual. The main factors that govern the
design of a monitoring system are (see Figure 3):
Available corrosion allowance;
Uncontrolled corrosion rate;
Event rate;
Corrosion rate detection sensitivity and response rate;
Required service life.

2.4 Corrosion monitoring for problem solving

A very specialised application of corrosion monitoring is its use for analysis and problem solving;
the aim may be to establish the corrosion mechanism of a system or to fine tune the corrosion
control, e.g. to test corrosion inhibitors, or to adjust the corrosion inhibitor injection rate. Such
measurements can either be carried out on instrumented sections of the actual system or in a side

2.5 Corrosion monitoring for inspection planning

Corrosion monitoring can play a role in the process of integrity management, i.e. the process to
ensure that the pressure envelope of the system is not violated. The time horizon of the integrity
management process can be much shorter than the plant lifetime, by virtue of the definition of

Integrity of an asset is achieved when, under specified operating conditions, there is no

foreseeable risk of failure endangering the safety of personnel, environment or asset value.

Practically, this can be satisfied by ensuring that integrity is maintained up to the next inspection
date (and re-assessed for another period). The Risk Based Inspection process is a structured way
to define such inspection intervals. The basis for the intervals is the expected corrosion rate: the
component is inspected at a defined fraction of the predicted remnant life, see Figure 4. Hence,
when a less conservative estimate of the corrosion rate can be made the inspection interval will be
longer. This illustrates one of the benefits of corrosion monitoring.
OG.02.20773 -5- CONFIDENTIAL

Corrosion Monitoring for Inspection Planning

nominal thickness

corrosion allowance

minimum allowable Estimated

thickness worst case

nominal thickness

corrosion allowance

minimum allowable
Less conservative
worst case corrosion rate,
based on monitoring

TLast Insp Time

TInspect Tremnant life

Figure 4 Managing inspection planning using corrosion monitoring

The graphs show the lines indicating the likely corrosion rate (solid line, which is also the actual
corrosion rate at Tlast Insp) and the worst case corrosion rate (dotted line). The latter is the
corrosion rate on which the corrosion remnant life is based.

Corrosion monitoring data may reduce the uncertainty in the prediction of the corrosion rate. This
then allows less conservative corrosion rates to be used for the inspection planning; however,
availability of a corrosion model is vital in order to interpret corrosion monitoring data in terms of
wall loss damage; also, to determine how representative the corrosion monitoring data is for
locations away from the point of measurement. A corrosion model may use a balance of
a theoretical model and practical data, making use of process data and inspection data.

Corrosion monitoring may contribute to the inspection planning of so-called age related
degradation, with a gradual degradation rate, for which inspection intervals can be defined.
Non-age related degradation is characterised by a high or unknown degradation rate and often
occurs when a system is operating outside its material operating window, e.g. occurring during
an up-set condition. For inspection planning a monitoring system can play a vital role by flagging
the up-set condition and thereby dictate an event-based inspection.

3. Corrosion monitoring tools and techniques

3.1 Description of tools

An overview of all corrosion monitoring tools has been compiled by Van Roij [Ref.1) and is
reproduced in Appendix 1.
OG.02.20773 -6- CONFIDENTIAL

3.2 Application of monitoring tools

Corrosion monitoring tools can be divided into four groups by virtue of what parameters are
measured. These are addressed in the following sub-sections.

3.2.1 Measurement of physical metal loss

These techniques measure the change in the physical geometry of the corroded metal, either on
a sensing element, or directly on the material. These methods may be used in virtually any
environment, since they do not require a conductive medium in which to operate. However,
corrosion rates must be determined by the change in metal loss over some finite period of time.
The response time to corrosion rate changes depends on the sensitivity and frequency of
measurements (see Section 4.4). The sensitivity of each method normally dictates the
measurement frequency. Examples of methods to measure physical metal loss are:
Weightloss corrosion coupons;
Electrical resistance probes (ER) and related methods using AC signals (CEION, Microcor);
Direct electrical measurements (FSM);
Ultrasonic thickness measurements (UT);
Pulsed Eddy Current (PEC);
Surface activation and gamma radiometry;
Visual inspection.

3.2.2 Measurement of electrochemical properties of corroding surfaces

Techniques in this category control either potential or electrical current density across a metal and
conductive fluid interface and measure the other. A requirement for these techniques is that there
is a known (wetted) electrode surface area for determination of the current density and
a sufficiently conductive environment between the electrodes. If it is difficult to realise this in the
system itself, then measurements in a side stream of the system should be considered.

Linear Polarisation Rate (LPR) probes;
Potentio-dynamic polarisation probes;
AC impedance spectroscopy, or electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS);
Potential measurement probes;
Electrochemical noise probes;
Galvanic probes.

3.2.3 Monitoring of process parameters and chemical analysis

These measurements (temperature, pressure, pH, chloride content, flow, inhibitor concentration,
etc.) are used to monitor the process parameters, which impact or even control the corrosion. If
such parameters can be identified, this can be a very convenient and often inexpensive way to
monitor corrosion. Obviously, a good understanding of the corrosion mechanism is conditional
for the use of such indirect monitoring.
OG.02.20773 -7- CONFIDENTIAL

3.2.4 Other measurements

These other techniques measure the by-products of corrosion, e.g.
Hydrogen probes;
Acoustic emission (AE).
Hydrogen probes measure atomic hydrogen produced from the cathodic corrosion reaction. They
are usually applied to detect the risk of hydrogen induced cracking and as such are outside the
scope of this document. Although they can, in principle, be applied to monitor fluid corrosivity
that could result in weightloss corrosion, the only documented success with such applications is to
monitor Hydrogen Induced Cracking. Therefore they are not recommended for monitoring
weightloss corrosion.

Acoustic emission measures the acoustic energy level which is emitted by active corrosion
processes. These are the phenomena related to scale growth and cracking of scales etc.
Quantification is very hard and can only be done on basis of experience.

(N.B.: Two modes of acoustic emission are distinguished. The passive listening mode is being
used for monitoring weight loss corrosion (widely used on storage tanks) or used to monitor
development of cracks (more a specialist application, e.g. to detect SCC). The active listening
mode is used in combination with pressurisation of the component, to activate a defect. The latter
mode of AE is outside the scope of this document.

4. Corrosion monitoring system design

To support the discussion on the design of a corrosion monitoring system an overview is
introduced of the main elements of a corrosion monitoring process, as shown in Figure 5.

The Design and Operating parameters are the result of a corrosion control philosophy, and
create the boundary conditions for the corrosion monitoring system. The Corrosion Model allows
us to identify Monitoring Parameters with which we can effectively monitor the corrosion
conditions. Then a measurement system has to be identified that is able to effectively measure the
selected Monitoring Parameter. A monitoring system will result in Corrosion Monitoring Feedback
that can act on any of the design and operating parameters.

It is noted that of the five elements only Monitoring Parameters and Measuring System are
subject of this report; the other three elements are not further discussed in this report (reference is
made to the scope of related reports and manuals, in Section 1).
OG.02.20773 -8- CONFIDENTIAL

Building blocks
of the Corrosion Monitoring Process
Design and Corrosion Model Monitoring Measuring system
Operating Parameters
- Hydrocor - FSM; PEC;
- Degradation Library - wall loss - coupons, ER-probes,..
- Plant design - - inhibitor residuals - inspection tools
- Material selection - fluid sampling (pigging; UT, RT, )
- Process conditions Inspection Model - pH - polarisation; ..
- Corrosion reduction - operating parameters - fluid analysis
(inhibition; pigging,.. - .. - oxygen-, pH-probe
- ... - NII
- DCS (ops control)

Corrosion Monitoring
- do nothing all things okay
- change inhibitor (-level)
- change scavenger (-level)
- remedy O2-ingress
- change throughput
- change product mix
- plant change (material, )
- change inspection

Figure 5 Building blocks of the corrosion monitoring process

4.1 Monitoring objective

Before selecting a corrosion monitoring tool or technique, it is essential to define the exact
objective. This will help with focussing on viable options and determining the required sensitivity
and response time. The different objectives (as discussed in Section 2) are 1) management of
corrosion control, 2) monitoring the wall thickness or the corrosion rate for the purpose of
inspection planning and 3) short term corrosivity studies.

When one has to identify the prime objective of any particular monitoring scheme a guiding
question to ask is: What will be the action if the monitoring data would indicate unacceptable
degradation rates?. The performance of a monitoring system has to match the system objective.

For instance, a high demand is put on the reliability of a monitoring system if it is an active
operational component. An example is to control the inhibitor concentration of a system with
a high uninhibited corrosion rate. Large economic losses could be incurred if the monitoring
system would fail. For such an application a quantitative reliability study of the monitoring system
may be warranted.

If a monitoring system has a passive role, for instance used to verify that corrosion conditions
have been within expected limits, a more qualitative analysis of the performance of the corrosion
monitoring system might be adequate. Besides, one has to establish whether the role of the
monitoring system is critical (is it the only source of information on the corrosion condition?; is it
providing the single warning for extreme degradation?). An analysis of failure modes of the
corrosion monitoring system may be opportune, looking at the total design of the system; it could
spot critical properties of the corrosion monitoring system that, if its function fails, would lead to
unacceptable risk.
OG.02.20773 -9- CONFIDENTIAL

4.2 Selection of monitoring parameters

An important step in the design of a corrosion monitoring system is to identify the monitoring
parameters. These are physical properties of the system that are measured and that are expected
or known to be related to the corrosion in the system. A monitoring system is effective when the
parameters have a strong relation with the actual wall loss or the (potential) corrosion rate; also,
when the location where the parameters are measured is representative for the rest of the system.

The task of selecting monitoring parameters requires a thorough understanding from the
corrosion engineer of the corrosion mechanisms and the specific properties of the plant or
pipeline that govern the corrosion degradation. The basic information may be found in the
plant/pipeline-specific Corrosion Management Manual or can be derived from a dedicated
corrosion design study.

4.3 Selection of the monitoring technique

Once suitable monitoring parameters have been identified the next step is to identify the
technique. An overview of the techniques and the potential use for various types of service
conditions is summarised in Table 1.1 in Appendix 1. For this selection some basic properties of
the corrosion system (i.e. the corrosion mechanism(s) in combination with the plant specific
circumstances) need to be addressed, as described below.

4.3.1 Matching technique and monitoring parameter

Questions to be answered are:
Can the technique measure the parameter at the prevailing conditions (temperature, pressure,
fluid or gas composition)?
What type of access is required and what type is available (intrusive, via nozzle, spool,
retrofit to external surface, sample point)?

4.3.2 Select monitoring location

Questions to answer are:
How is the corrosion distributed i.e. general, local but widespread, local in a few places?
Is the corrosion phenomenon predictable, leading to corrosion hot spots, e.g. induced by
flow velocity or temperature, gravity, deposits?
How well does the corrosion parameter represent the location where the most severe
corrosion occurs?
Corrosion monitoring will be the most powerful if the corrosion process is homogeneous,
uniformly distributed and corrosion hot spots are predictable. However, this is often not the
case in practice, and this could severely decrease the confidence in the monitoring result.

Some measures are available to increase the confidence level, for instance increasing coverage.
For this purpose statistical sampling can be used. Inspection programs might be used to enhance
the understanding of the corrosion mechanism, by characterising the corrosion distribution and
thereby optimising the corrosion monitoring design.

To arrive at an optimal design of a corrosion monitoring system a good balance has to be struck
between the limitations resulting from the characteristics of the corrosion distribution and the
capability of the corrosion monitoring system.
OG.02.20773 - 10 - CONFIDENTIAL

4.4 Sensitivity and response time

The usefulness of a corrosion monitoring system strongly depends on its capability to deliver
a warning of an unwanted corrosion condition. Two properties describe this capability:
The sensitivity to detect a certain corrosion rate; i
The response time, i.e. the time it requires to detect such a change.
By virtue of the measuring principle of many systems, there is an interrelation between sensitivity
and response time, which provides us with a convenient way to describe the properties of
a corrosion monitoring system, with the so-called S-R plot (Sensitivity-Response plot), introduced
below and explained in more detail in Appendix 2.

Several definitions are required to describe the measurement process:

To characterise a corrosion monitoring system we are generally interested in the corrosion
rate sensitivity (this is either the threshold level at which we start to detect a certain corrosion
rate (say, 0.4 mm/y), or the threshold to detect a change in a corrosion rate, (say,
an 0.4 mm/y on top of 0.1 mm/y).
The basis for a corrosion rate is the sensitivity to measure the corrosion parameter (the
change in e.g. wall thickness, pH, O2-concentration, etc.); if the corrosion parameter is not
the wall thickness itself but for instance a pH or O2-concentration, is has to be translated into
a corrosion rate; for this purpose a model is required.
The elapsed time between the measurements is the second factor that determines the
corrosion rate sensitivity. Normally we can neglect the error in the timing of the
A corrosion rate can be derived from a minimum of two measurements, as is shown in Figure 6

i For corrosion monitoring systems it is convenient (and common practice) to represent the
performance in terms of the sensitivity to measure a change in corrosion rate and the
response time; both can be displayed in a single graph, the S-R-plot. It is not common to
represent the performance in terms of the sensitivity to a change in wall thickness, as this
has the drawback that it has no time dimension in it and cannot be related to response time
without separately defining the elapsed monitoring time.
OG.02.20773 - 11 - CONFIDENTIAL

WT2 dWTo
* *

(a) short interval TIME


* WT2

T12 * CR

(b) long interval TIME

2 dWTo
Error in CR (2 points): dCR = ---------------------

Figure 6
The measurement of the corrosion rate is dependent on the error in the thickness measurement
and the elapsed time between the measurements.

The corrosion rate (mm/year) is simply derived by dividing the change in wall thickness (mm) by
the time interval (year). However, the random measurement error in the wall thickness propagates
into the error in the corrosion rate (dCR); and although the error in the time interval is normally
neglected, the error in the corrosion rate is proportional to 1/T, as shown in the formula in
Figure 6.

This effect of the time interval on the error in the corrosion rate is explained in the two graphs in
Figure 6: In case (a) a short time interval results in a change in wall loss that is comparable to the
measurement error; this results in a large uncertainty in the corrosion rate. However, as shown in
case (b), a long measurement time and the same corrosion rate result in a larger change in wall
loss; hence, the same system is able to measure the corrosion rate provided it is given enough

A system is said to have a high sensitivity if it the error in the measured corrosion rate is small, so
that it can detect a small change in the corrosion rate, and vice versa.

This time required to detect a certain corrosion rate is called the response time. As the error in the
measured corrosion rate (dCR) is inversely related to the response time (cf. a 1/T relation) this
relation becomes a straight line in a log-log plot. This provides us with a conveniently graph, the
so-called Sensitivity-Response (S-R)-graph. This shows the sensitivity of a system (with a given
measurement accuracy) for any response time. Such graphs are used to quickly identify typical
requirements for a corrosion monitoring system, which is further explained in Section 5. A more
detailed explanation on how the graph is developed can be found in Appendix 2.
OG.02.20773 - 12 - CONFIDENTIAL

4.5 Stability of a monitoring system

When a monitoring system has to detect a small corrosion rate by measuring over a long time
scale, it may be limited by lack of stability of the system. Lack of stability might be the result of
deterioration of the sensor, drift of the electronics, etc. Also inspection data may be used for
trending corrosion rates and may suffer lack of stability: ultrasonic key point thickness data may
drift due to changes in systems used or calibration over the years, or the effect of changes in paint
thickness. For systems that have to measure with high sensitivity and over a long interval it is
recommended to check aspects related to long term stability. Some further guidance is given in
Appendix 2.

4.6 Data communication requirements

It is important to define the full data communication chain, from the sensor detecting a change in
the corrosion parameter to the analysis of the data and possibly the implementation of a remedial
action. The times for each step in the chain should be in proportion to the overall response time
required, as it is of no use spending a large sum of money on a system with a response time of
one day that requires weeks of data processing, or requires remedial action that takes several
months to implement.

The following persons may be involved in the communication process:

(1) Process plant operator, to collect data;
(2) Corrosion monitoring specialist (corrosion or inspection engineer), to process data;
(3) Corrosion engineer, to assess information and determine follow up;
(4) Operations or maintenance engineer, to plan and implement remedial action.
The response time from sensor-to-desk for the steps 1-3 determine the actual response time
obtained from a corrosion monitoring system. For a highly critical monitoring task the data might
go directly to the party responsible for remedial action (e.g. to the control room, for action by
operations). The requirements to the sensor-to-desk-response time will have implications for the
kind of data communication system required. This might range from manual data collection to
automated data collection; from batch data transmission to real time, on-line, data transmission;
from single-user access to multi-user data access.

The data communication properties of a corrosion monitoring system are not intrinsically
dependent on the kind of monitoring technique; the availability of various levels of data
communication for a given technique depends on the system provider (see also the system
descriptions in section 4.8 on System Reliability).

4.7 Data documentation and storage requirements

For effective corrosion monitoring and control it is vital that all of the relevant data can be easily
accessed, cross-referenced and analysed. Therefore, requirements should be defined to data-
access and data-analysis in order to enable correlation with process conditions and comparison
with other corrosion monitoring data, to understand plant upset behaviour.

Although data access and data analysis capability is very much a corrosion monitoring system
property, which is not intrinsically dependent on the kind of monitoring technique, this may be
a limiting factor to achieve proper corrosion monitoring performance. The methods used to
analyse corrosion monitoring data will depend on the number, location and variation in
monitoring methods employed.
OG.02.20773 - 13 - CONFIDENTIAL

Typically in any production operation the data will be held on different databases and in
a variety of formats (spreadsheet, database, paper file). Therefore, it is essential to compile the
relevant communication networks to facilitate this process. There are several proprietary database
packages, which can be used to do this. Typically they:
Generate monitoring and inspection reports;
Generate inspection schemes, work scopes and plans;
Demonstrate integrity status for certification purposes (KPI tracking).
The main limitations of this type of package are the time taken to input data into the system and
the lack of flexibility. However, such systems have the capability to become the main corrosion
database for all the monitoring data. Another, albeit less efficient approach is to access all the
databases and extract the relevant information. This is time consuming if undertaken manually
and impacts on the effectiveness of any monitoring programme.

Experience has shown that data management is often a weak point of the monitoring system. It is
important that corrosion monitoring results are easy to retrieve and process. Otherwise it is
difficult to compare the results to other corrosion monitoring data (historical or other techniques)
and process parameter data (temperature, pressure, velocity, etc.). There is no general rule how
to handle corrosion monitoring data. Obviously, there is no need for a high-tech computerised
system for a small plant with only a few probes and a low sampling frequency. However, for
a larger plant and to enable pro-active use of data, a suitable computerised data management
system, preferably linked to the process data system, is necessary.

4.8 System reliability

System reliability is related to its availability. When designing or reviewing the reliability of
corrosion monitoring systems it is important to oversee the whole data chain, from sensor to desk.
Criteria for system reliability (required uptime) can be derived from the design of the corrosion
monitoring system, by considering the required response times and the cumulative effect of
unwanted corrosion events that can be allowed. Consideration can be given to the failure rate of
the system, the testing regime (the time the system may be down unnoticed) and any repair time if
it breaks down.

4.9 Corrosion monitoring system selection

In this section an outline is given of the process to select a corrosion monitoring system. To
structure the process it is important to first establish design criteria before actual systems are
selected or designed (composed). The selection process is structured such that a match between
requirements and system properties is obtained in the quickest way (sieving the options), with
an early check on limiting boundary conditions (e.g. access; temperature; etc). The process is
depicted as a flow diagram in Figure 7. At each step references are made to the relevant sections
on this report.

This starts by deriving high level objectives from the corrosion control approach applied in the
plant (step 1). This should provide the input for a corrosion monitoring design study that identifies
an effective corrosion monitoring approach (selecting corrosion parameters, step 2, and locations
for monitoring, step 3). Then an inventory is made of requirements imposed by access, process-,
and physical conditions (step 4). From the corrosion study and a remnant life study the
requirements for Sensitivity and Response time are identified (step 5), which is extended to the
complete data communication chain and the method to analyse the data (step 6), and to the
requirements for reliability/uptime (step 7).
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With the above requirements a method and an outline for the required system can be selected
(step 8). Practical aspects such as commercial availability, services, etc need to be checked, and
now an estimate of the cost can be made (step 9). This should be completed with an estimate of
the cost of ownership by also including involvement of own staff in operating and managing the

Step 1 Monitoring Objective Sect. .2 & 4.1

Step 2 Select
Monitoring Parameter Sect. 4.2, 4.3.1
(P; T, pH, WT, )

Step 3 Sect. 4.3.2
monitoring location(s)

Define access Match with Match with

Step 4 - (non) intrusive; process conditions physical conditions
- fitting required? - fluid properties - P; T; WT;
- contamination - weather; vandalism

Table 1.1 Table 1.1 Table 1.1

Step 5 Specify Sensitivity

and Response Time Sect. 4.4; App.1; App.2

Define Data Define Data

Step 6 Communication Requirement Analysis Requirement
(sensor-to-desk) (data-to-response)

Sect. 4.6 App. 1 Sect. 4.7 App. 1

Step 7 Define System

Reliability Sect. 4.8

Step 8 Select Corrosion

Monitoring System

Step 9 Check Commercial

Availability and Costs

Step 10 Check Cost of


Figure 7 Flow diagram to support selection of a corrosion monitoring system

Examples of levels of system

Data monitoring equipment is now supplied in a whole range of configurations ranging from
single point portable data collection units to sophisticated multi point data collection and storage
facilities that also process the information into the required format, e.g. average corrosion rate
values. The selection of the most appropriate data collection system should be matched with the
corrosion monitoring system design, the personnel involved in the corrosion monitoring process
and the required form of the output. The main types of equipment are described briefly below.
Detailed performance limits should be obtained from the manufacturers as equipment varies.
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Portable, direct data collection units are the simplest equipment. These require manual collection
of data from the probe site and manual recording of the data, i.e. the portable tool is simply
plugged into the probe and the data is collected by the operator.

Automated (portable) data-loggers are similar but enable the stored data to be remotely collected
by the instrument and subsequently downloaded to a PC or a central information system upon
retrieval from the field.

Single and multi-channel linear transmitters are available for the direct relay of electrical signals
from the probe sites into distributed control systems (DCS). These are remotely located but they
are linked to the control room or a central point for direct read-out or further data processing.

Transmitter/receiver combinations can also be purchased for stand-alone operation of remote

corrosion monitoring tools. In situations where there is no PC or central communication system
available the receiver is used to store up to several days data and can also be used to display this
in a digital form.

Dedicated on-line multi-channel monitoring systems consist of alarm systems that can remotely
monitor multiple probes and continuously display either real-time corrosion data or fluctuations in
the readings. In addition, this type of equipment often has the facility to monitor signals from
temperature or pressure transducers in the system.

The most sophisticated type of data collection system offers a computer-controlled network of
corrosion monitoring devices. This is a dedicated corrosion computer storing and analysing data
from a whole range of data collection units connected by cable link. The configuration of the
network, i.e. number and types of probes connected can be designed to the requirements of the
individual plant or unit.

Many manufacturers/contractors also offer stand-alone software packages for downloading,

analysis and display of the collected data in an array of different formats e.g. graphical display
of corrosion rates over a period of time etc. These are available in various forms offering a wide
variety of data input choices, data handling systems and analysing/processing facilities. Most
packages are compatible with hardware collected from a range of probe types and

4.10 Managing corrosion monitoring

The overall effectiveness of a corrosion control programme is dependent on the general quality of
the data taken as part of the monitoring programme, interpretation of the data, determination of
proper corrective action and execution of that action. This is in fact a small business process that
would require a manual describing the process steps, and is typically managed using the Plan,
Do, Analyse, Review approach, as shown in Figure 8. Well selected KPIs (Key Performance
Indicators) can play a vital role in managing the effectiveness of the process.
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Plan Strategy

Monitoring Design

Schedule and Execute

data read out

Assess Corrosion
Monitoring Data



Improve Mitigation and

remedial work

Figure 8 Managing the Corrosion Monitoring process

Corrosion monitoring programmes may vary from limited checks on a few items of equipment to
comprehensive surveillance of all main process systems. The scope of the monitoring programme
will be governed largely by a combination of economics and safety considerations and as a result
will relate to the importance of the system in terms of production value and to the perceived safety
risks associated with the process.

This perception of the importance of the system and the selected monitoring strategy has to be
mirrored by commitment of all individuals that are involved in integrity management, i.e. the asset
holder, usually operations, but also maintenance and inspection staff, corrosion engineering,
production chemists and sometimes the corrosion monitoring or chemical treating contractor. It is
essential that the approach is agreed and implemented by a team that includes these individuals,
who together decide not only how corrosion should be controlled, but also how this approach is
implemented. This includes agreeing what and how data are to be gathered, what corrosion
rates, wall thickness, etc are acceptable, who takes action in case of non-compliance and what
action is taken.

5. Corrosion monitoring in practice

In this section examples will be given of corrosion monitoring applications under various
conditions, complemented with a summary table showing which monitoring techniques are
applicable to a certain corrosion environment.
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First a classification scheme will be introduced with which a quick assessment can be made of the
required performance of the monitoring system.

5.1 Classifying monitoring performance

A quick classification of the performance of a monitoring application (a ballpark classification)
can be made by considering the objectives of the corrosion monitoring application. For this
classification we define the typical range for the sensitivity and response time of a certain type of
application, using the so-called S-R plot, which is explained below.

In section 4.4 it was introduced that the capability of a system to measure small corrosion rates
will increase with the time interval between two monitoring measurements (as the error in the
measured corrosion rate shows a 1/T-relation). When we plot the log of the corrosion rate error
against the log of the time interval a straight line is obtained running along the negative
diagonal. Each technique can be characterised by such a S-R-line: the higher the sensitivity of the
technique to measure a change in wall loss the lower the relative position of the line in the plot.

A second property we can represent with an S-R-plot is the so-called application window; this is
characterised by a range of corrosion rates and a range of response times.

An example of an S-R plot with an S-R-line and an application window is shown in Figure 10.
This example application requires a 1-7 days response time and a sensitivity to measure
corrosion rates in the order of 1-20 mm/y. The S-R-line of the monitoring technique in this
example lies below the application window, which means that the technique can provide a high
enough sensitivity (and a short enough response time) for all conditions within the range of this

Sensitivity - Response time Application Windows

Day Week Month Year 10 Years


CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)


Response time:11--77days
time: days
0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Response Time (hours)

Figure 9
With a Sensitivity-Response plot the performance of a corrosion monitoring technique can be
characterised (with an S-R line) relative to the application window of a typical application

In the S-R plot in Figure 10, the application windows of typical applications are indicated:
To the left, at the fast end of the range, are monitoring applications suited for corrosion
studies; such studies are very demanding in terms of sensitivity and response as the
investigator normally wants a quick answer by measuring, say, a few hours or days.
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The most demanding operational applications are related to inhibition control in critical
systems and detection of upset conditions; response times are in the order of (part of) days to
weeks in order to flag unwanted conditions that need to be remedied.
Checking the performance of the corrosion control of less critical system (verification of
performance) may be in the range of a week to several months.
When corrosion rates are measured for the purpose of improved inspection planning this
requires a response time in the order of a month (to recognize relatively short-time corrosion
events) up to half a year. A meaningful response time needs to be a fraction of the
inspection intervals that has to be optimised, so typically 0.1 0.5 times the length of the
inspection interval (as an example: with a response time of 0.5 year an planned inspection
may be extended to, say, 4 years).
The longest term monitoring is more likely obtained with inspection data, which may span
time intervals of, say, 3 months to 10+ years. This includes for instance ultrasonic key point
measurements on pipework and intelligent pig inspections.
The application windows are also represented in table-format, showing the typical sensitivity
range and response range (Table 1).

Se nsitivity - Re sponse tim e Applica tion W indow s

Day Week Month Year 10 Years


CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)





0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Re s pons e Tim e (hour s )

Corrosion study
Inhibition control
Upset Corrosion control
Corrosion control performance demonstration
Optimising (RBI) Inspection Planning

Figure 10
Application Windows depicted in the S-R-plot. The size range of the application windows is given
in Table 1
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Table 1 Application windows of typical monitoring applications

Application Sensitivity range Response time

Corrosion tests 0.1 - 100 mm/y 1 hour - 5 days

Inhibition control 0.1 - 20 mm/y 0.5 day - 2 weeks

Corrosion control monitoring (critical 1 - 100 mm/y 6 hour - 2 weeks

inhibition systems; upset conditions)

Corrosion control monitoring (control 1 - 10 mm/y 1 week - 3 months

performance demonstration)

Inspection planning 0.2 - 10 mm/y 1 month - 0.5 year

Inspection 1 - 20 mm/y 3 months 10 year

The application windows in the above table are depicted in Figure 10 with their respective

5.2 Examples of corrosion monitoring to manage corrosion control

In this section the preferred ways of corrosion monitoring are indicated, and suggested key
performance indicators are given. An overview is given, in table-format (Table 2), showing which
monitoring techniques can be applied in a certain corrosion environment.

For pipelines it can be assumed that if the potential corrosion rate is significant, intelligent pigging
(IP) will be carried out. Hence in most cases the local corrosion monitoring addressed here is
intended to detect deviations from the intended operation and to adapt IP intervals.

Note that a combination of KPIs may be required where corrosion is controlled by multiple
techniques e.g. where inhibition and pigging are used together both these sets of KPIs should be

Different KPIs need to be assigned to different parties in the organisation, who have control over
that particular KPI. For example the operator who takes a sample for inhibitor residual assessment
cannot be given the KPI that the inhibitor residual reading is within acceptable limits (since this is
not within his control) but can be given a KPI relating to frequency and number of samples taken.
Someone else in the organisation should have the KPI relating to achieving inhibitor residual
targets (which may be the asset owner or the corrosion engineer). The roles and responsibilities
need to be defined and assigned, together with communication and data flow requirements e.g.
when inhibitor residual measurements are taken who needs to know this data. This is particularly
important when a number of different companies are involved in the overall process.

5.2.1 Inhibited systems, sweet corrosion

In inhibited systems it is important to monitor the availability of the inhibition system (pump
on/off, inhibitor tank level) as this is one of the most essential input parameters for the risk based
inspection analysis in order to optimise the inspection frequency (e.g. intelligent pigging). In
exceptional cases, where the inhibitor availability has to be very high (e.g. greater than 99 %),
availability records are used to decide whether to shut down production in case of non-
compliance. Residual inhibitor concentrations, e.g. at the end of a pipeline can be used to the
same end. To monitor the effectiveness of the inhibition it can be considered to measure
OG.02.20773 - 20 - CONFIDENTIAL

corrosivity, either by measuring the wall thickness or the corrosion rate in the system. In these
cases there has to be a high level of confidence that the worst location can be identified, i.e.
a water-wet location at a suitable temperature, pressure, velocity, etc. E.g. in a subsea flowline,
the highest projected corrosion rate is at the beginning of the line on the bottom of the sea, which
is not an easy location to access. Moreover, this location has to be accessible. If all these
conditions are fulfilled, sufficiently sensitive measurements using ER- or CEION-probes, LPR
measurements or mounting an FSM or a permanent PEC probe can be considered. Iron counts
have been used in this type of application, but are only successful if very regular analyses are
made and the results are used for trend analysis. Individual values are usually meaningless
because of background levels of dissolved iron.

Protecting a pipeline system by inhibition is based upon the concept that the corrosion rate will be
kept to an acceptable level, if the inhibitor gets to all parts of the pipeline at the required
concentration, for a certain (high) percentage of the time. It is not possible to measure the
inhibited corrosion rate on all parts of the line on a daily basis nor to determine if the inhibitor is
being effective because classical corrosion monitoring is limited to certain locations and
monitoring system response time is slow. Typically inhibitor residuals are used as a secondary
measurement. The assumption is made that if the inhibitor residual concentration in the water
phase exiting the pipeline is above a certain target level then the whole pipeline is protected by
inhibition. If the inhibitor is properly selected and applied, the line well designed (no dead legs)
and kept clean (no risk of under deposit corrosion), this is a reasonable assumption. However
inhibitor residuals are not a good primary day to day monitoring method good samples are not
always easy to obtain (e.g. in situation with low water cuts, or where sampling is only possible
when a pipeline is being routed through the test separator) and inhibitor residual sampling and
analysis take time. Therefore a tertiary measurement, the inhibitor injection concentration, is used
for day to day system assessment. It is assumed that if the inhibitor is injected into the pipeline at
the right concentration, the inhibitor residuals in the water phase exiting the pipeline will be
acceptable and the whole line will be protected by inhibition.

So for an inhibited system:

Inhibitor injection concentration at the required target is used as the key performance
indicator of day to day system operation (daily assessment);
Inhibitor residual in the water phase exiting the pipeline is used as a less frequent control, as
a cross check and for optimising the inhibitor injection concentration (usually 2 4 week
Corrosion monitoring is used as a cross check that the inhibitor system is working. This is
point monitoring measuring the corrosion at the location of the monitoring equipment,
which is not necessarily the location of highest potential corrosion rate (usually 3 monthly
assessment, though high accuracy fast response system can give data in a few hours);
Intelligent pigging carried out to measure the residual wall thickness on all parts of the
pipeline. From this data the actual integrity status of the pipeline is assessed and corrosion
rates can be estimated. Required intelligent pigging frequency is set based on the corrosion
risks and how well the inhibition system is operated, by carrying out a risk based
However it should be noted that corrosion rates from intelligent pigging data have a rather low
sensitivity and by their nature - a long response time, which makes the results suitable for
verification, but not for active control. As an example, long inspection intervals (say 5 years) and
a relatively high accuracy (10 %) of the intelligent pigging tool would be required to detect
corrosion rates of, say, 0.3 mm/y, which could represent an unacceptable loss of wall. Moreover,
it should be realised that the pigging data provide average corrosion rates; from the point of view
of improving the corrosion control system the average corrosion rate will not show the relation
between the availability of the corrosion control system and specific uninhibited events.
OG.02.20773 - 21 - CONFIDENTIAL

Key performance indicators:

Pump on/off percentage
Inhibitor injection targets met (or amount of CI pumped)
Inhibitor residual sampling to planned frequency
Inhibitor residuals analysed and injection rates optimised
Frequency of tank levels below low limit
Total consumption compared to projected use (corrected for any variation in production
Average corrosion rate as compared to target inhibited corrosion rate. For ER, CEION, LPR
this can be a daily rate, for FSM and PEC this would be e.g. an average weekly or monthly
Changes of dissolved iron levels as a function of time

5.2.2 Inhibited systems, sour corrosion

Corrosion control in these systems differs from sweet systems in that often a combination of
continuous and batch inhibition is required. If elemental sulphur is produced, sulphur solvent is
injected as well as corrosion inhibitor. As the corrosion tends to be very localised but the
corrosion rates can be extremely high, it is often not feasible to rely on local monitoring
techniques. An exception may be the use of monitoring techniques that cover larger areas such as
FSM, UT mats and PEC, although it should first be verified that the attack in the monitored area is
indeed such that corrosion will be detected reliably. ER type probes are less suitable due to the
interference of conductive iron sulphides. Electrochemical techniques also cannot be used for
continuous monitoring, because reference electrodes become contaminated in sour service. As
iron is typically bound to sulphide in the form of iron sulphides, monitoring of iron levels is

Key performance indicators:

Pump on/off percentage of corrosion inhibitor and sulphur solvent chemical
Frequency of tank levels below low limit
Average corrosion rate as compared to target inhibited corrosion rate. Only FSM, UT mats
and PEC may be suitable and in that case provide e.g. an average weekly or monthly rate
Total consumption compared to projected use (corrected for any variation in production
Batching executed as per schedule
Pigging executes as per schedule
Sulphur solvent batching executed as per schedule (if applicable). Sulphur solvent overflush
executed as per schedule.

5.2.3 Corrosion controlled by routine pigging

If a pipeline relies on routine pigging as a means to control corrosion, the compliance with
pigging frequency, the state of maintenance of the pigs and pig traps, and the state of cleanliness
of the line are the most critical variables. It can also be attempted to measure the corrosion that
will occur under debris if the cleaning is not effective, but this is a form of localised corrosion and
hence difficult to locate with certainty. Therefore this corrosion is best evaluated on the basis of
intelligent pig inspections.
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Key performance indicators:

Compliance of pigging frequency compared to planned frequency;
Compliance of pig consumables (cups, brushes) replacement and pig cleaning (gauging and
clearing ports) with agreed schedule;
Compliance of pig trap maintenance (valves, trap seals) with agreed schedule;
Assess volume of debris received and collect sample for analysis. Although it is difficult to
collect all debris, since most disappears through the kicker line, it is still useful to record
debris observed in the pig receiver on a continuous basis and to note significant increases.
Analyse debris collected, assess source and control / remedial measures (if applicable)

5.2.4 Systems suffering from oxygen corrosion

In systems that are known to suffer from oxygen corrosion a variety of methods can be used
depending on the type of system and problem. Clean water (e.g. injection water) systems that rely
on oxygen scavenging are best controlled with continuous monitoring using on-line oxygen or
galvanic probes. In addition the same checks as mentioned above for inhibitor injection control
can be carried out (pump and chemical level checks). Systems that suffer from oxygen ingress are
controlled most effectively by regular inspection and maintenance of the ingress locations. For
continuous oxygen measurement systems care should be taken not to get probe contamination
when the system is dirty.

Key performance indicators:

Oxygen scavenger injection pump on/off percentage;
Injection rate correctly set
Frequency of scavenger tank levels below low limit;
Total scavenger consumption compared to projected use;
Ingress point inspection and maintenance records;
Dissolved oxygen concentration.

5.2.5 Systems suffering from bacterial corrosion

Systems suffering from bacterial corrosion should be treated with biocide, usually by means of
batch treatments. The effectiveness in sweet systems can be monitored by means of H2S
measurements, e.g. at the end of a pipeline. Most other systems are best monitored using bacteria
cultures at a suitable location, e.g. at each end of a pipeline. It should be noted that such
measurements are at best semi-quantitative and should be carried out regularly. Multiple
readings are required to draw reliable conclusions. Some systems that require very tight control,
e.g. injection wells in tight formations can be monitored with bio-probes. In systems suffering from
bacterial corrosion routine cleaning, e.g. by means of regular pigging is essential and hence the
measures mentioned for routine pigging control apply.

Key performance indicators:

Biocide injection batch treatment compliance;
Frequency of biocide tank levels below low limit;
Total biocide consumption compared to projected use;
Percentage of bacteria cultures with negligible bacteria as a function of time;
Percentage of bio-probe results with negligible bacteria as a function of time.
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5.2.6 Systems with process control

In systems that depend on process control to ensure that operation remains within the agreed
operating envelope, the key parameters, e.g. temperature, velocity or water dew point can be
monitored. Such indirect measurements can be used as input for risk based inspection analyses.
In some cases they are used to take immediate action such as process changes, adjustment of
inhibitor injection rates or even shut in of production.

For inhibited systems it is important to define the operating window of the inhibitor, check that the
system continues to operate in this window and look for trends where the conditions may be
moving out of the operating window.

For sour systems the corrosion control requirements are based on a combination a 3 main
factors: presence of elemental sulphur, chloride content of the water, flow regime. The risk of
elemental sulphur being present or not is unlikely to change over the field life, but the chloride
content and the flow regime may change so should be monitored.

Key performance indicators:

Compliance of process parameters with agreed limits.

5.3 Examples of corrosion monitoring to optimise inspection planning

In RBI-schemes the future - corrosion rate is a prime factor determining the length of inspection
intervals. The corrosion rate is normally estimated from several sources, which can be
a theoretical model of the corrosion rate, experience with the mechanism and the actual plant
history (inspection data). These sources may contribute with a different weighing factor,
dependent on the specific mechanism and conditions.

Inspection data, if available, have the advantage that they show the actual corrosion rate,
whether of a general or local nature. But there are conditions in which corrosion monitoring data
can enhance the estimation of the future corrosion rate, by taking away uncertainties and reduce
the conservatism in the estimated rate. Examples are when corrosion conditions are high during
certain operational conditions, so that the average rate over a long period is determined by the
number of such events; a corrosion monitoring system can help to make a more accurate estimate
of the cumulative corrosion. If the corrosion is related to rather rare events the inspection could
even be planned conditionally, i.e. inspection is only carried out when such conditions are
flagged. The planning of inspection for non-age related degradation is using this approach
already. In pipeline integrity management increasing use is made of corrosion monitoring to
determine the need for expensive intelligent pigging inspections.

The monitoring of unacceptable defects with the aim to extend the life of a component is more an
inspection activity and is outside the scope of this report (i.e. to diagnose the corrosion condition
of the whole system in an early phase by means of local measurements).

5.3.1 Wall thickness monitoring

Wall thickness monitoring techniques that can be used are FSM, FSM-IT, PEC, ultrasonics or
permanently mounted ultrasonic mats (see Appendix 1). In view of the sensitivity of these methods
they provide a semi-continuous or discontinuous record of the wall thickness of a (set of)

Key performance indicators are in all cases recorded wall thickness (loss) compared to the target
wall thickness.
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5.3.2 Corrosion rate monitoring

For corrosion rate monitoring the intrusive methods are often more suitable as they are able to
measure in the real system and offer the benefit of studying the probe that has been exposed to
the actual fluid. Aspects of the distribution of the corrosion (homogeneity) as discussed in Section
4.3.2 need to be considered with care, however.
The most suitable methods are considered to be ER probes and CEION. In view of the fluctuations
of the corrosion rates it is important to keep a continuous record and to consider significant
changes as well as absolute rates. Weightloss coupons are frequently used for this purpose, but
the results are not adequately quantitative to derive a corrosion rate. They can be used to set an
upper limit, e.g. as a rough performance indicator of the effectiveness of a corrosion inhibition
programme. An advantage of weightloss coupons is that they provide an impression of the mode
of attack and that they can be used to collect deposits for further analyses, e.g. bacteria culturing.
In rare cases surface activation and gamma radiometry are used.

Key performance indicators:

Measured corrosion rate compared to target corrosion rate;
Compliance of the type of attack with that anticipated.

5.4 Examples of corrosion mechanism studies

This very specialised type of corrosion monitoring is intended to establish the corrosion
mechanism of a system or to fine tune the corrosion control, e.g. to test corrosion inhibitors or to
adjust the corrosion inhibitor injection rate. Such measurements can either be carried out on
instrumented sections of the actual system or in a side stream.

With side stream monitoring, the corrosion monitoring takes place in a by-pass or slip stream of
the actual corroding system. Although the use of side-streams for corrosion monitoring can be
successful, there are potential problems:
Process conditions in the by-pass may differ from the actual system (e.g. temperature,
pressure, flow conditions);
The fluid composition in the by-pass may differ from the main stream.
Shell Global Solutions has developed special equipment and field expertise to carry out slip
stream monitoring. The equipment that is used for this application is also sold to Operating Units
along with the appropriate training. Since these are typically short-term measurements that are
performed by specialists with detailed knowledge of equipment and interpretation of results, the
number of applications are limited. However, there are many more techniques, in particular
electrochemical methods, that can be used. These include AC impedance, linear polarisation rate,
potential monitoring, in some cases galvanic probes (O2 activity) and in others electrochemical
noise. On line oxygen measurements are feasible for such temporary tests, because the probe can
be cleaned and checked regularly. For corrosion rate measurements ER probes and CEION are
suitable tools. FSM and PEC can be considered for confirmation purposes, but react too slowly to
adjust inhibitor rates during the course of a test that lasts days or a few weeks.

6. Discussion
Several observations can be made on the subject of managing the knowledge infrastructure
related to corrosion monitoring; this concerns the areas of the corrosion monitoring design
process, the corrosion engineering knowledge to support this process, and the knowledge of the
properties of the corrosion monitoring systems (the joint responsibility of corrosion engineers,
equipment suppliers as well as inspection engineers).
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Design process:
Corrosion monitoring is characterised by a broad spectrum of requirements and a multitude of
technique options. The design process in its current form guides the user, in a superficial, or
rather qualitative manner. There are several aspects identified that may help to improve the
current design process:

A confidence model that shows how the properties of the corrosion system and the
monitoring system contribute to the confidence in the corrosion monitoring data (how
well does the data represent the conditions we actually want to monitor).

A model that relates the design life of a component to corrosion control requirements
(how many uncontrolled events can we allow), and translates this into monitoring
requirements (in terms of sensitivity and response time);

Derived from the above, a model that provides an indication for the reliability of the
corrosion monitoring system (% availability of the system);

Corrosion engineering knowledge:

Properties of the corrosion mechanism that have a major effect on the overall confidence in the
corrosion monitoring results are homogeneity of the corrosion parameter and, for all corrosion
parameters except wall thickness, the relation with the actual corrosion rate at the wall.

Homogeneity is a measure for how uniform the corrosion parameter is throughout the
system. This property determines the number of monitoring locations to obtain
a representative sample for the whole system.
As an example, a single temperature measurement may suffice for a corrosion loop;
Inhibitor residual measured at the end of a line may indicate whether the levels upstream
are adequate; however, a separate study is still required to assess whether local
conditions may occur that do not see inhibitor despite adequate bulk concentrations.

It is recommended to develop a methodology to derive a confidence factor for the

homogeneity of the corrosion parameter; this can then be used to derive an overall
confidence in the monitoring results.

A qualitative or quantitative relation is required between the corrosion parameter (pH;

O2-concentration; flow; etc) and the corrosion rate, in order to design the system (select
sensitivity, response time, set alarm levels). If a corrosion parameter has an accurate
relation with the corrosion rate this may lead to very effective monitoring; on the other
hand, if the corrosion parameter has a rather inaccurate relation with corrosion rate this
will lead to a monitoring system that has to use very safe (conservative) alarm levels,
used in a role to provide early warnings of possible problems or provide verification
afterwards of the corrosion conditions.

It is recommended to qualify the available corrosion models for the purpose of relating
corrosion parameters to corrosion rates.

Corrosion monitoring systems:

The monitoring tools and their specifications develop continuously; therefore it is recommended to
maintain the knowledge base on the corrosion monitoring tools via a web-based guideline. This
will also allow quick selection of tools on the basis of main characteristics (such as sensitivity -
response time, temperature, applicability to a certain corrosion environment, etc).

The specifications of corrosion monitoring systems do not apply uniform definitions to specify their
performance; therefore it is recommended to give support to initiatives in the industry to develop
a protocol for the specification of the performance of a corrosion monitoring system.
OG.02.20773 - 26 - CONFIDENTIAL

7. Conclusions
(a) The design of a corrosion monitoring systems should match the design of the corrosion
control system;
(b) Corrosion monitoring systems are usually specified by their technical capabilities (response
time and sensitivity) and by the reaction time they provide to the corrosion control system
(e.g. inhibitor availability). The confidence in the corrosion monitoring result should be
added to fully characterise the corrosion monitoring system;
(c) Within the industry there is no generally accepted protocol for evaluation of the performance
of corrosion monitoring systems; this inhibits straight forward comparison of techniques.
Therefore the review of the corrosion monitoring techniques is incomplete.

8. Recommendations
(a) It is recommended to develop integrated design requirements for corrosion monitoring
systems, including a confidence factor;
(b) It is recommended to develop a protocol for the evaluation of the performance of corrosion
monitoring systems against which systems can be tested and evaluated;
(c) It is recommended to develop a web-based technique guideline with which users are kept up
to date; preferable it includes a facility to which the users can add experiences, with which
the guideline is updated regularly.

Amsterdam, June 2001

Table 2 Applicability of Various Monitoring Techniques by Corrosion Circuit
Circuit Type Wet Wet Gas Dry Gas Dry Gas / Wet Wet Oil Wet Dry Oil Dry
Multiphase Condensate Multiphase Condensate Condensate
Gas Oil

Alternative Name Gas flowline Wet Oil flowline Stabilised Stabilised Dry Dry Stabilised
Separated Oil/Water Condensate/ Stabilised Condensate
Gas Water Oil
Dewpoint No No Yes Yes No No No No No
Water in oil/ condensate Yes (3) Yes (3) No Yes (1) Yes (2, 3) Yes (2, 3) Yes (3) Yes (1) Yes (1)
Inhibitor injection rate If CI used If CI used No If CI used If CI used If CI used If CI used No No
Hydrocarbon and water flow Yes (3) Yes (3) No Yes (1) Yes (2, 3) Yes (2, 3) Yes (3) Yes (1) Yes (1)
Inhibitor Residual If CI used If CI used No If CI used If CI used If CI used If CI used No No
Liquid Phase Velocity No No No No Yes (2) Yes (2) No No No
- 27 -

Concentration of corrosive Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No

species (e.g. CO2, H2S, organic
acids) (4)
Water Composition (4) If CI used If CI used No If CI used If CI used If CI used If CI used No No
Iron counts (trends only) Yes Yes No No No No Possible No No
Pig debris analysis Yes Yes Possible Possible Yes Yes Yes Possible Possible
SRB counts (5) No No No No Possible Yes Possible No No
Coupons Yes Yes Yes (6) Yes (6) Yes Yes Yes Yes (6) Yes (6)
ER probes Yes Yes Possible Possible Yes Yes Yes Possible Possible
LPR Possible (7) Possible (7) No No Possible (7) Possible (7) Possible (7) No No
Hydrogen probe possible possible No No possible possible possible No No
UT Yes (8) Yes (8) Possible Possible (6) Yes (8) Yes (8) Yes (8) Possible (6) Possible (6)
Table 2 (cont'd)
Circuit Type Wet Wet Gas Dry Gas Dry Gas / Wet Wet Oil Wet Dry Oil Dry
Multiphase Condensate Multiphase Condensate Condensate
Gas Oil

Fleximat, Possible (9) Possible (9) No No Possible (9) Possible (9) Possible (9) No No
Fast Response Systems
FSM Possible (10) Possible No No Possible (10) Possible (10) Possible (10) No No
CEION Possible (10) Possible No No Possible (10) Possible (10) Possible (10) No No
Microcor Possible (10) Possible No No Possible (10) Possible (10) Possible (10) No No
High Sensitivity ER Probes Possible (10) Possible No No Possible (10) Possible (10) Possible (10) No No
- 28 -

1 Checking for zero free water measurement at defined conditions for confirmation that corrosion control system is working
2 To check whether a free water phase will occur
3 For inhibited systems to check that the inhibitor injection rates are correct
4 Check at initial production, any significant well changes and verify annually
5 Only risk of SRB contamination is through untreated water entering the line (hydrotest water, acidising fluids etc.). These fluids need to be carefully
controlled and monitored.
6 Checking for zero corrosion for confirmation that corrosion control system is working
7 Requires free water phase to function; rarely used continuously typically used for corrosivity assessment programmes and inhibitor field testing
8 Sensitivity too low for corrosivity assessment for control purposes; used for long term integrity assessment
9 No significant improvement on sensitivity over conventional UT. Niche market for inaccessible area, compliance issues, monitoring known defects.
10 Considered where fast response corrosion monitoring is required, usually in inhibited systems with high uninhibited corrosion rates
OG.02.20773 - 29 - CONFIDENTIAL

Appendix 1
Properties of corrosion monitoring tools



1. Set up of this appendix 34

1.1 Common aspects of Corrosion Monitoring systems 34

1.2 Specific properties of corrosion monitoring systems 34

2. Overview of common system properties 35

3. FSM 36

Part I:

3.1 Description of method 36

3.2 Description of system 36

3.3 Application 38

3.4 State of development 38

3.5 Provider 38

3.6 Cost 38

3.7 References 39

Part II:

3.8 Sensitivity - Response time 39

3.9 Monitoring performance 40

3.10 Data communication properties 41

3.11 Data processing and analysis requirements 41

3.12 System reliability aspects 41

4. PEC 42

Part I

4.1 Description of method 42

4.2 Description of system 43

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Contents (cont'd)

4.3 Application 44

4.4 State of development 47

4.5 Provider 47

4.6 Cost 47

Part II:

4.7 Sensitivity - Response time 47

4.8 Monitoring performance 48

4.9 Data communication properties 49

4.10 Data processing and analysis requirements 49

4.11 System reliability aspects 49

5. Ultrasonics 49

Part I:

5.1 Description of method 49

5.2 Description of system 50

5.3 Application 52

5.4 State of development 53

5.5 Provider 53

5.6 Cost 53

5.7 References 53

Part II:

5.8 Sensitivity - Response time 53

5.9 Monitoring performance 54

5.10 Data communication properties 55

5.11 Data processing and analysis requirements 55

5.12 System reliability aspects 55

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Contents (cont'd)

6. Corrosion coupons 55

Part I:

6.1 Description of method 55

6.2 Description of system 57

6.3 Provider 57

Part II:

6.4 Sensitivity response time 57

6.5 Monitoring performance 60

7. Visual Inspection Techniques 60

Part I:

7.1 Description of method 60

7.2 Performance 60

8. Radioisotope based methods 61

Part I:

8.1 Description of method 61

8.2 Description of system 61

8.3 Application 62

8.4 State of development 63

8.5 Provider 63

8.6 Cost 63

8.7 References 63

Part II:

8.8 Sensitivity - Response time 64

8.9 Monitoring performance 64

8.10 Data communication properties 64

8.11 Data processing and analysis requirements 65

8.12 System reliability aspects 65

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Contents (cont'd)

9. Electrical Resistance (ER) probes 65

Part I:

9.1 Description of method 65

9.2 Description of systems 65

9.3 Application 67

Part II

9.4 Sensitivity-Response time 68

9.5 Monitoring performance 69

10. Electro-chemical noise method 70

Part I:

10.1 Description of method 70

11. Galvanic probe technique 70

Part I:

11.1 Description of method 70

11.2 Application 70

11.3 Monitoring performance 70

12. Potential measurement probes 71

Part I:

12.1 Description of method 71

13. Linear Polarisation and Potentio-dynamic methods 72

Part I:

13.1 Description of method 72

13.2 Description of system 72

13.3 Application 73

13.4 Monitoring performance 73

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Contents (cont'd)

14. AC Impedance spectroscopy 73

Part I:

14.1 Description of method 73

14.2 Application 74

14.3 Monitoring performance 74

15. Monitoring process parameters 74

Part I:

15.1 Description of method 74

16. Chemical analysis 74

Part I:

16.1 Description of method 74

17. Hydrogen probes 77

Part I:

17.1 Description of method 77

17.2 Description of system 77

17.3 Application 77

17.4 Monitoring performance 78

18. Acoustic Emission for corrosion monitoring 78

Part I:

18.1 Description of method 78

19. Erosion monitoring probes, ER and AE 79

Part I:

19.1 Description of method 79

19.2 Application 79

19.3 Monitoring performance 79

OG.02.20773 - 34 - CONFIDENTIAL

1. Set up of this appendix

In this appendix the properties of corrosion monitoring systems are described, in a way to
support the selection process, as given in this report. In the first section common properties are
listed; thereafter, more specific properties are given per technique.

More elaborate descriptions of individual techniques can be found in the cited references or in
supplier documentation.

1.1 Common aspects of Corrosion Monitoring systems

The following common aspects are compared for the techniques:
Monitoring parameter measured;
Access, intrusive, non-intrusive;
Compatibility with process medium (gas; non/low/med/high conducting liquid);
Measuring conditions, P, T, WT, weather.

1.2 Specific properties of corrosion monitoring systems

In each section, per technique, the more specific properties of individual methods and techniques
are described. Per technique two parts are given:

Part I: descriptive part, containing:

Description of method;
Description of system;
State of development (as performance testing; maturity, etc.);
Part II: specification part, containing:
Sensitivity - Response time;
Data communication properties;
Data processing and analysis requirements;
System reliability aspects.
Table 1-1 Overview of common system properties

Property of CM system Parameter Access Compatibility process medium Condition

Gas Liquid conductivity: Solids,


Techniques Intr Ext No/ Med/ concrete P T WT

Low High
Group 1 (physical metal loss)
Weightloss corrosion coupons Wall loss     (not <400 bar <800 C N/A
Electrical resistance probes (ER) and related Wall loss  <400 bar <500 C N/A
method using AC signals (CEION, Microcor)
Direct electrical measurements Wall loss      N/A <500 C 5-100 mm
Ultrasonic thickness measurements (UT) Wall loss      N/A <350 C 1-500 mm
Pulsed Eddy Current (PEC) Wall loss      N/A <550 C 5-30 mm
FSM Field Signature Measurement Wall loss      N/A <400 C 1-30+ mm
Surface activation and gamma radiometry Wall loss      N/A High* 1-500 mm
Visual inspection Wall loss      N/A N/A N/A
Group 2 (electro-chemical)
- 35 -

Linear Polarisation Rate (LPR) probes only with <400 bar <150 C N/A
  +/-  conductive fluid
Potentio-dytnamic polarisation probes only with <400 bar <150 C N/A
  +/-  conductive fluid
Tafel analysis only with <400 bar <150 C N/A
Overview of common system properties

  +/-  conductive fluid

AC impedance spectroscopy only with <400 bar <150 C N/A
  +/-  conductive fluid
Potential measurement probes only with <400 bar <150 C N/A
  +/-  conductive fluid
Electrochemical noise probes only with <400 bar <150 C N/A
  +/-  conductive fluid
Galvanic probes only with <400 bar <150 C N/A
  +/-  conductive fluid
Group 3 (process and medium parameters)
Process parameters      N/A N/A N/A
Chemical analysis     <400 bar N/A N/A
Group 4 (others)
Hydrogen probes     N/A <275 bar <250 C N/A
(HIC only) (HIC only) (HIC only)
Acoustic emissions      N/A <400 bar <250 C *)

 = Applicable;  = not applicable; +/- = limited *) see technique specific section for detailed comment on this property
OG.02.20773 - 36 - CONFIDENTIAL

Below is a summary graph of Sensitivity-Response curves of techniques, discussed in more detail

in the appendices. In this graph a representative S-R curve is selected for each technique, so that
the relative performance can be seen compared to the others. It is noted that all the corrosion
monitoring techniques come with different qualities, so that the S-R curves span a certain range;
therefore this graph should not be used for a critical comparison or selection of techniques.
Instead, reference should be made to the respective parts in the appendix.
Corrosion tests
Sensitivity - Response time for all techniques
Inhibition control

Corrosion monitoring for upsets

10.000 Corrosion monitoring for performance

Inspection optimisation
CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)


UT Manual - precision/ No/Mild corrosion (0.2 mm)


PEC - Basic sensitivity (0.2%)

0.010 FSM - basic sensitivity (0.1%)

one month

Radioactive tracer technique (2 micron)

one week

one year

10 years
one day

Small Coupon (60 x 20 x 3) large w eight error

Corrosometer probe S4
0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Cormon CEION F40
Response Time (hours)

Figure 1-1
Overview of the Sensitivity-Response curves of corrosion monitoring techniques. Note that of each
technique only a representative S-R curve has been selected.

3. FSM

Part I:

3.1 Description of method

FSM (Field Signature Method) is based on a potential drop method; a high current (order
100-200 Amps) is fed into the wall of the object such that it is homogeneously distributed. Then
the potential drop is measured between pins stud-welded on the external surface.

3.2 Description of system

The early FSM systems were permanent system for monitoring corrosion in pipelines. These were
mounted on a spool that was built in into the pipeline, with continuous readout of data and often
remote transmission of data.

A new version, FSM-IT has been developed, that can be retrofitted to a pipe of vessel wall. The
system components are displayed in Figure 1-1. Main components are the pin matrix array with
connector, a battery operated readout unit, called FSM-IT. With this system an operator can
collect the data (a single data point).
OG.02.20773 - 37 - CONFIDENTIAL

A new system being built is a datalogger based on FSM-IT technology. It can be permanently
installed (Ex-1 compliant) and be read out manually by connecting a PC or remotely (wire
connected) to a data communication box (for dial-in remote data transmission).

Figure 1-2 Overview of typical system components of an FSM_IT system

Salient properties of the system are:

FSM can measure general wall loss, or local wall loss with reduced sensitivity (and originally
developed for monitoring cracks);
With the standard pin spacing of 3xWT, and 56 pins per matrix, an area of about
0.3x0.3 m2 can be covered (assuming WT=15 mm);
(N.B.: large area monitoring at reduced sensitivity is being explored, with pin spacing
20xWT, covering an area of 2x2 m2 (assuming WT=15 mm))
Pins are stud welded on the surface; can be done on component while in-service or on pre-
prepared spool. Experiments with clamp-on pins are performed as well;
Temperature correction is most crucial, as it affects the signal much more than change in wall
loss. For temperature compensation, FSM applies a reference plate that is placed external to
the wall, in thermal contact, as well as 2 thermocouples placed in the area measured. The
system is calibrated (base-line) after installation to derive temperature compensation factors;
Simple, pre-analysis for on-line data monitoring possible; detailed, off-line analysis to
enhance accuracy/confidence; enhanced temperature compensation with processing
algorithm, by developing actual temperature characteristics during 1st month;
Single point sensitivity is 1 ppt (0.1 %) on wall thickness; can be enhanced by averaging;
Original systems for subsea pipelines, on pre-instrumented spools. Mostly equipped with
local data logger and remote data transmission;
In 1999 a new, low cost version (FSM-IT) became available for topside and plant application.
OG.02.20773 - 38 - CONFIDENTIAL

3.3 Application
FSM is a non-intrusive corrosion monitoring technique. Highest sensitivity achieved on
general corrosion; local defects detectable, sensitivity initially low, increasing with pit depth
(Validation for Shell Expro, Ref. FSM.1);
Pipeline corrosion monitoring, typically 1 m long spool; measurement on parent pipe and
welds; FSM distinguishes corrosion in top and bottom of the line when pins are placed at full
FSM can measure at/near complex geometry's, like Tees, valves;
Has been applied up to 400 degrees C, in refineries; problems with wire degradation
A feasibility study by CorrOcean is carried out for measurement at 1000 degrees C;
High sensitivity obtained with short pin-spacing (1 ppt); larger areas can be covered, but with
reduced sensitivity;
Large area monitoring in preparation (full surface of critical vessels, 16 m high) in chemical
For support to implementation an FSM checklist is available from CorrOcean, together with
a standard drawing for the temperature reference plate.

3.4 State of development

FSM is a proven technique in the area of pipeline corrosion monitoring;
Various systems exist to suit local demands on data communication (remote, via satellite) and
to resolve power requirement;
Since 1999 topside applications are being developed; temperature induced degradation of
cables is solved (up to about 400 degrees C). Penetration mainly in UK market, starting on
continent (Benelux, Germany, Italy, as per Q1-2001));
Between 1991 and 1999 some 80 systems have been installed world wide (see Ref. FSM-2
for details);
Since 1997 new processing software (FSM-Trend) under windows, with enhanced
temperature compensation. Regular updates to improve temperature compensation.

3.5 Provider
Single source: CorrOcean, main office: Trondheim, Norway; offices in Aberdeen, UK,
Leidschendam, NL.

3.6 Cost
Subsea system: range USD 200-500k, integrated system including comms;
Topside system: USD10k for installation and calibration of pin matrix; read out by
CorrOcean engineer on call-off basis, or by user, purchasing an FSM-IT data logger (USD
Service costs for various types of systems indicated in Ref. FSM-2.
OG.02.20773 - 39 - CONFIDENTIAL

3.7 References
1. FSM.1 FSM IT Validation test for Shell, May 1999, Trondheim, For Shell Expro,
D. Queen, witnessed by D.A. Kronemeijer, Shell Global Solutions OGEI/3
2. FSM-2 UK FSM User group. Response to points raised at FSM user group meeting
23rd November 1999.
3. FSM-3 Personal communication Terpstra - D. Morton/D. Parr, January 2001

Part II:

3.8 Sensitivity - Response time

CorrOcean specifies the following sensitivities (Ref. FSM-2)
Table 1-2 FSM sensitivity for various systems and various types of corrosion

Type Of Corrosion Sensitivity Type Of Installation

Even corrosion typ. 0,03 % of w.t on-line power, one reading per hour

Even corrosion typ. 0,1 % of w.t battery powered, one reading/day

Even corrosion typ. 0,5 % of w.t. FSM-IT, off-line

Pitting/local corrosion Typ. 0,3 % of w.t on-line power and one reading per

Weld groove corrosion Typ. 0,2 % of w.t on-line power

Weld groove growth Typ. 20um

The system has a basic sensitivity to detect general corrosion of 0.1 % of WT. This sensitivity can
be increased in several ways: by averaging data points noise is reduced, but it takes longer to
collect a set of data points, hence a larger response time. By using so-called long pair pin
combinations the sensitivity is increased. It requires general corrosion extending over the span of
the pin pair. A 5x better sensitivity is indicated by CorrOcean (Ref. FSM-2).

The slower response time is often limited by the requirements on battery replacement interval;
typical fast rates are 1 - 24 hours. For very fast measuring rates the real-time availability will be
dependent on the processing system installed and the automation of e.g. trigger alarms (another
use of fast response time could be the need for time correlation of events).

The resolution for local thinning (pitting) is dependent on pin separation and pit depth: shallow
pits cannot be sized that accurately (large absolute error, order 15 % of pit depth).
The detection threshold for pits is in the order of 0.4 % of WT for a pit with a diameter of 1xWT.
as the current tends to flow around a local defect. The deeper the defect the closer the sensitivity
will be near to the 0.1 %WT-level. A validation test for Shell Expro showed pit detection
sensitivities in the range of 0.5 % to 1.4 % for a pit of diameter 1x WT and pins spaced 2xWT
apart (Ref. FSM-1).
OG.02.20773 - 40 - CONFIDENTIAL

Sensitivity - Response time for FSM


Corrosion tests

10.000 Inhibition control

Corrosion monitoring for upsets

CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)

Corrosion monitoring for performance

Inspection optimisation


0.010 FSM - basic sensitivity (1 ppt)

one month
FSM, 12mm WT; 9 point (0,03%)

one week

one year

10 years
one day

FSM, 12mm WT; 24 point; ling pair (0,009%)

0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Response Time (hours)

i) short response time limited by practical system limits, such as available battery life
combined with required system life; typical fast rate is 1 to 6 hour;
ii) 0.03 % sensitivity: 9 samples requires about 10 hours to 2.2 days sampling, dependent on
base-sampling interval;
iii) 0.009 % sensitivity: 24 samples requires about 25 hours to 6.2 days sampling, dependent
on base-sampling interval;
iv) note that at short response times the measurement can be temporarily blinded by recovery
from large temperature changes (see also sections on monitoring performance and
Data processing).
Figure 1-3
FSM Sensitivity-Response curves, made up for general corrosion and a 1 standard deviation

3.9 Monitoring performance

Actual performance achieved in the field is referenced here. This encompasses technique and
system performance, as well as services.

The first user group meeting in November 1999 was held to address complaints and feelings of
discomfort with the systems and services. CorrOcean replied extensively to the request tabled,
Ref. FSM-2. As indicated by CorrOcean (Ref. FSM-3), many availability problems are related to
the data communication aspects of the system on which they often do not have complete control
(cf. subsea systems; offshore visits required). Another general area is the response for service
request, which they have worked on in recent years.

The performance of a system is a function of not only the hardware design (pin spacing; wall
thickness; monitoring interval, etc) but also of external conditions, notably temperature variations
(think of the close in of subsea wells or plant operating within a large temperature band) but also
the corrosion morphology (local variation in wall loss). Currently there is not a simple way to
define system properties like sensitivity and response time when temperature fluctuations are
present; it requires an FSM-specialist to advise on system properties (cf. to define how well
temperature effects can be compensated for).
OG.02.20773 - 41 - CONFIDENTIAL

For verification of the influence of corrosion morphology limited data is available; most has to
come from laboratory tests, some from FSM-spools removed from field use. On the other hand,
confidence can be gained if a system produces consistent results, qualitatively in line with
corrosion conditions (e.g. showing periods of non-inhibition, preferential local attach of welds or
bottom of the line corrosion).

3.10 Data communication properties

For integrated continuous monitoring systems (like for subsea pipelines): data logged for
capturing 100 days; remote read-out to initiate data transfer from FSM and dial-in telecom
communication for remote data transfer. For pipelines use is made of the Flight Refuelling
system (using the line as the communication channel);
FSM-IT is a data logger and requires manual intervention (connecting FSM-IT to connector of
pin matrix. Data downloaded to PC, for evaluation with FSM-Trend or by FSM specialist;
For on-line systems the data recording frequency is dictated by required response time and
battery life.

3.11 Data processing and analysis requirements

Temperature correction:
Raw data is heavily distorted by effect of temperature changes of the spool;
For mildly fluctuating temperature: correct data using calculated correction factors and
difference of temperatures of spool and reference plate (as implemented in FSM-Trend
release as per 15-05-00); a data trace is obtained with residues of uncompensated
temperature effects;
For large temperature fluctuations the first processing step is to remove extreme temperature
drops (typical on sub sea flow line when well is shut in) by blanking the response (requires
knowledge that corrosion is negligible during low temperature period);
Second processing step: Correct for temperature variations; a data trace is obtained with
residues of uncompensated temperature effects;
Third processing step: cosmetic changes by FSM-operator, e.g. to smooth the data to remove
irrelevant variations (requires qualified FSM operator and good understanding of the system
Analysis for local defects:
General wall loss is calculated using the program FSMTrend, as part of the FSM system; local
defects are more or less represented by their volume; to derive their depth a more
sophisticated analysis is required;
Analysis of data on the presence of local defects is an activity that can be done by a few
Use is made of dedicated programmes like FCON (for isolated pits), NISA (a finite element
program to model various forms of corrosion, and model temperature effects), and
a dedicated program to model weld root erosion;
CorrOcean has proposed to integrate the models, but this requires a significant effort
(proposed to carry out in a JIP-sponsored programme).

3.12 System reliability aspects

Non-availability of the system often related to break down of the communications system. In
minutes of the user group meeting these aspects have been addressed (Ref. FSM-2).
OG.02.20773 - 42 - CONFIDENTIAL

4. PEC

Part I

4.1 Description of method

The PEC technique measures the decay of an eddy current, induced in the surface of a steel plate
by switching off an induced magnetic field. The signal received shows a decay pattern from
which the wall thickness can be derived, see figures below.

Figure 1-4
Principle of Pulsed Eddy Current technique. The probe induces a strong magnetic field, and
detects, after switching off the field, the decay signal of the induced eddy currents

Working Principle of Pulsed Eddy Current

PEC signal

Eddy currents diffuse

Back wall is hit

Signal-decay increases sharply

1 2 3

Figure 1-5 The PEC signal shows a strong effect from the wall thickness

PEC is suitable for wall loss monitoring because of the extreme repeatability of the measurement:
by placing the probe in the same position a reading can be reproduced to within 1 ppt (0.1 %) of
the wall thickness.
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A PEC measurement is sensitive for temperature effects; therefore the reading needs correction for
temperature differences between successive measurements.

PEC is a non-contact technique that can measure through coatings and insulation (but C-steel
cladding can disturb measurements).

PEC is capable of measuring general wall loss as well as local wall loss, albeit with reduced
sensitivity. The minimum size of defects that can be detected with a PEC probe is related to the
size of the footprint. Probe diameter selected for a job are dependent on the stand-off required
for the measurement, and range from 3-4 when measuring through 2 insulation, down to
smaller than 1 for probes placed close to the surface.

4.2 Description of system

A PEC system consists of a PEC apparatus, and a probe connected via a 2-30 m long cable.

Figure 1-6 Pulsed Eddy Current system

To produce repeatable data with the PEC system two aspects have to be cared for: the probe has
to be repositioned on the same spot, and the temperature needs to be measured accurately. It has
been demonstrated in various field trials that manual probe positioning is adequate when use is
made of a probe with fixed pins, that are re-positioned in punch-marks in the surface of the wall.
To achieve the specified repeatability accurate temperature measurements have to be carried out,
using thermocouples attached to the steel wall, see Figure 1-8

Alternatively, probes can be mounted permanently, and be connected to a system for regular
data read out.

When the PEC system is used in a plant the work has to be covered by a hot work permit. The
PEC system is not certified for an Ex-type intrinsic safety rating.

The monitoring data can be processed on-line when the unit is connected to a PC; to achieve
a higher sensitivity the data need to be processed off-line for detailed analysis. Processing of
monitoring data requires a PEC specialist, and this analysis is mostly carried out remotely after
transfer of the data via e-mail. Remote system diagnostics of the PEC apparatus can be carried
out by connecting it to a modem.
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For underwater inspection applications (wall thickness readings) PEC systems have been made
waterproof by building them into a watertight canister. In principal monitoring under water is
possible as well; however, special, more robust, probe re-positioning systems would be required
that comply with the capabilities of an ROV to position the probe.

PEC probes are available in different sizes, and that relates to two aspects:
1) Size determines the stand-off the probe can work with (e.g. when one has to measure
through insulation);
2) Probe size also determines the minimum detectable local corrosion defect. A rule of thumb is
that defects should not be smaller than half the foot print. Probes can be selected that
measure through 4 insulation, down to mini-PEC probes that are put on the surface; this
provides PEC with a range of detection characteristics for local defects.

4.3 Application
PEC monitoring has been used in refineries, chemical plant and on typical EP-production
facilities, to monitor wall loss, mostly in pipework. PEC has been used at temperatures ranging
from ambient to 420 degrees C. PEC has been used in different ways, to support different
monitoring strategies; it has been applied to specific locations where corrosion was expected, to
monitor the rate of degradation (often to enhance corrosion control so to reach a planned shut
down in a safe manner). PEC has also been used to verify the effect of corrosion control measures
(e.g. re-positioning a wash water inlet point in a refinery plant) by taking manual sample
readings on different parts of the system, with the aim to verify the effect of the change. In this
application the strength of PEC is in the ease of applying measuring points at random (and
changing at will if corrosion wall loss is expected in other places).

End 2000 more refined temperature measurements were used to enhance the sensitivity, using
permanently installed thermocouples and more sophisticated temperature correction algorithms.

In all applications considerations have to be given to the morphology of the corrosion and
whether the PEC probe selected is suitable to measure on that form of corrosion.
OG.02.20773 - 45 - CONFIDENTIAL

Figure 1-7
Monitoring wall loss with the PEC system. The probe is re-positioned accurately using punch-
marks in the surface and a 3-pin-shoe under the probe.
OG.02.20773 - 46 - CONFIDENTIAL

PEC Probes

Figure 1-8
PEC probes mounted permanently on a pipe operating at 320 degrees C. Cables were connected
to a PEC-system in a nearby safe area

PT 100 K couples
Figure 1-9
For enhanced sensitivity accurate temperature measurements must be made to allow effective
compensation for temperature changes
OG.02.20773 - 47 - CONFIDENTIAL

4.4 State of development

The main application for PEC has been wall loss monitoring, starting of around 1997 with a new
generation of robust field systems. First monitoring applications were trailed in 1999. Since then
the monitoring approach has been modified and improved, but is still further developed.

PEC has been developed into a reliable field system that is used in hot and cold environments.
Second generation software for management of data in the PEC apparatus and for down loading
of data into a PC is simple to operate; new users typically require a day instruction to operate the

4.5 Provider
Currently, PEC services for corrosion monitoring are provided by Shell Global Solutions.
Traditional PEC services are also offered in different geographical areas around the world, by
several inspection companies with a licence to use PEC.

4.6 Cost
Due to the one-off nature of the PEC monitoring jobs there is as yet no set price for corrosion
monitoring services.

Part II:

4.7 Sensitivity - Response time

The basic sensitivity of PEC is 0.2 %WT, but it might vary between 0.6 % and 0.06 %, dependent
on the size of the temperature variations and the accuracy with which these are measured.

For a low sensitivity, using simple temperature compensation, the response time is governed by
the measurement frequency; this can be hourly or daily intervals. For high sensitivity data has to
be processed off-line; a practical response time is then typically 3-5 days. This is reflected in the
S-R curves.
OG.02.20773 - 48 - CONFIDENTIAL

Sensitivity - Response time for Pulsed Eddy Current


Corrosion tests

10.000 Inhibition control

Corrosion monitoring for upsets

CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)

Corrosion monitoring for performance


0.100 Inspection optimisation


PEC - Sensitivity Manual (0.6%)

one month
PEC - Basic sensitivity (0.2%)

one week

one year

10 years
one day

PEC - Sensitivity High (0.06%)

0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Response Time (hours)

i) short response time limited by practical system limits, such as available battery life
combined with required system life; typical fast rate is 1 to 6 hour;
ii) 0.2 % basic sensitivity: assumes permanently installed thermocouples, combined with
manual probe placement or permanently installed probes;
iii) 0.6 % sensitivity: assumes manual readings with PEC probe and temperature gauge;
iv) 0.06 % high sensitivity: assumes permanently installed system; the shorter response time is
limited by off-line temperature corrections;
v) note that the sensitivity can deteriorate when large temperature changes occur (see also
section on monitoring performance).
Figure 1-10
PEC Sensitivity-Response curves, made up for general corrosion and a 1 standard deviation

4.8 Monitoring performance

PEC has been demonstrated in various field applications where it was implemented by a PEC-
specialist, and where repeat measurements were in several cases collected by a local inspector.
With the latter mode of operation the integrity of the data acquired is controlled to a certain
extent when analysing the data as secondary checks are made on the data (cf. equipment
lift-off). This makes this form of operation robust, and attractive as low cost labour can be used to
acquire data.

So far, PEC has been applied where general wall loss occurred; its monitoring performance has
not been tested yet on local defects.

Temperature changes can be corrected for when they fall within a reasonable band and have
been included in the calibration. Work is ongoing to determine how the system sensitivity
decreases when temperature fluctuations exceed a specified band around the working
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4.9 Data communication properties

A data file has to be read from the PEC apparatus via a link to a PC; the data can then be
processed and analysed on the PC, or the data can be e-mailed for off-line processing by a PEC-

4.10 Data processing and analysis requirements

PEC data requires a primary processing step to correct for temperature effects. For this purpose
the system needs calibration against the range of operational temperatures in use. Once set up
for a certain probe configuration the processing can be run repeatedly.

A secondary analysis would be required if there was a possibility for local defects to develop.

4.11 System reliability aspects

The PEC system has proven to be reliable in operation in various environments. However, long
term installation, e.g. for continuous monitoring, has not extensively been experienced yet.

5. Ultrasonics

Part I:

5.1 Description of method

With the ultrasonic technique wall loss can be monitored, in principle by measuring the travel
time of an ultrasonic echo, using compression waves around 5 MHz.

Like with other wall loss monitoring systems, ultrasonic techniques perform best when the wall loss
is even (across the diameter of the beam, typically 5-15 mm). When measuring on local wall loss
the confidence in the measurement is very much dependent on the positioning of the probe
relative to the defect, and the reflection characteristics of the corroded surface, as is shown in
Figure 10.


amplitude A B C



Figure 1-11
Ultrasonic wall loss is very much governed by the reflection properties of the corroded surface; for
monitoring of local defects the confidence in the measurement is highly dependent on correct
positioning of the probe above the defect
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At the low performance end, using ultrasonics as an inspection tool, spot measurements are made
at regular intervals, by an operator positioning the probe at the same location. This way of
measurement results in relatively large errors due to variation in probe location; system
calibration; read out; coupling variation, etc. Typical wall thickness checks on pipework show
an accuracy in the order of 5-10 %.

With precision measurements 1-2 % accuracy can be achieved (see section below on
performance) in a refinery environment non-corroded or mildly corroded walls; however, this
requires a dedicated investment in measuring skills of inspectors and NDT operators. Such
an approach, implemented by Shell in the USA, has been shown to be successful and rewarding
(Ref. UT-2). An initiative within European Shell refineries has resulted in procedures that give
a similar performance figure (Ref. 3; note that 2-standard deviation figures are used in this
reference, contrary to the 1 standard deviation used in this report).
This high accuracy will deteriorate in places with significant wall loss variation, typically a factor
of 2; however, a significant benefit of the higher measuring accuracy comes from locations where
no corrosion occurs (the majority of key points), where measurements produce less false calls,
viz. more confidence that the corrosion is low indeed.

A significant increase in repeatability over routine manual measurements is obtained by fixing the
probes to the surface. Although expensive when using conventional probes, the use of flexible,
foil-type, probe material has resulted in probe arrays that can easily be attached to curved
surfaces, see below).

Temperature change has a mild effect, in the order of 1.5 % per 100 degrees C change in steel.
However, components in the probe, such as the perspex-type delay line, are much more sensitive
to temperature change; however, such effects can be nulled by using proper reference signals or
using temperature reference plates.

Data read out can be done with a dedicated monitoring system or a generalised ultrasonic system
with data storage capability. With the front end and off-line part of the system a certain
measurement protocol can be executed that leads to the wall thickness reading. To judge system
performance under specific conditions insight is required in the protocol and parameters used.

The geometry of the object has significant influence on the application: in a plan-parallel plate or
pipe wall a normal beam compression probe is most appropriate. On objects with inclined
surfaces (as valve bodies) angle beam shear wave probes might be appropriate. Wall loss in the
root of a weld (such as weld root erosion) cannot be measured with a normal beam probe
because of the presence of the - rough - weld cap; the Time of Flight Diffraction is most
appropriate for such monitoring.

Flexible ultrasonic probes are applicable to all materials that transmit ultrasound at MHz
frequencies. The PARIS system (see below) was apparently developed for rather low frequencies
applied in composites.

5.2 Description of system

For the use of conventional probes for wall loss monitoring, manual or in combination with data
acquisition systems, reference is made to the NDT Guide.

Two flexible ultrasonic probe systems are commercially available.

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The Rightrax system consists of a probe array and data logger, see figures below. Data can be
collected manually or continually by connecting the logger to a PC, from which remote
transmission can be realised, e.g. via an antenna or a telephone system. Dedicated systems have
been developed for remote operation; the power required for the system is generated locally, e.g.
picked up from a pipeline CP system or from the temperature gradient from a hot pipeline; data
transmission can be realised using an antenna (radio transmission) or using the Flight Refuelling
system, that makes use of data transmission along the pipeline modulated onto the CP-current.

Figure 1-12
Rightrax flexible ultrasonic probe with multiplexer; it contains 14 sensing elements, and a
reference element in the multiplexer box

Figure 1-13
Rightrax data logger DL1; it allows manual read-out of the elements, and stores all relevant
parameters for later read out by a PC
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Figure 1-14
Example of data presentation. Note the full capture of echo patterns of each of the 14 element
and the reference signal at the top; the redundant information allows faultfinding in case the
system provides erratic results

The Fleximat system is provided by AEA Technology. The front-end probe is highly similar, but
for the read out a data acquisition system is required such as a Microplus system. Being a high-
end system this creates high operational cost.

In the USA, Failure Analysis and Associates have developed a 2-D flexible ultrasonic array called
PARIS (Portable Automated Remote Inspection System). The original arrays were up to 8 x 8
with a matrix of 32 x 32 sensing elements with elements one quarter inch square down to one
eighth inch square. The array can conform to irregular shapes such as pipe surfaces. Operational
temperatures are specified as from 55 to 75 C. There is currently little information available.

5.3 Application
Flexible probe systems have been used to monitor wall loss in pipelines, vessels and pipework in
refineries and chemical plant and non-oil industry. The strip is applied with a self-adhesive bond,
and the multiplexer box is attached with a temperature conducting paste.

The probe elements (Rightrax) are specified for temperatures from -40 C to + 110 C, with
newer versions aiming at 120 C.
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5.4 State of development

The Rightrax system is offered as low end system, thereby very robust. Integrated systems with
remote data transmission are often dedicated designs; they need care to run, dependent on
specific technology used. Rightrax has developed a prototype system that connects angle beam
probes in pitch-catch more as well. This would allow for pulse-echo measurements in combination
with transmission shadow measurements, which could be applied for crack growth monitoring.

5.5 Provider
Rabco/Rightrax, UK
AEA Technology, UK.
PARIS: Failure Analysis and Associates, USA

5.6 Cost
The Rightrax system can be provided complete with data logger. Integrated systems for remote
operation can be provided on demand. Costs of a flexible probe strip are in the order of
US$ 1600,- and a data logger US$ 15.000,-. Prices of systems with remote communication have
to be obtained from the manufacturer.
Fleximat: Data read out using an acquisition system (like Microplus) will be in the order of
US$ 1500,- per day.
PARIS: no information

5.7 References
1) UT.1 Note Shell Global Solutions OGBM/0072/99 by A. Visser,
16th March 1999Justification for a study of flexible arrays for corrosion
2) UT-2 Shell Global Solutions US Inc. training program; course APO-8183 on Ultrasonic
digital thickness gauging
3) UT-3 Report OP-96.20222, J. Wilkie and J.J.M. van Nisselroij, Risk based
non-intrusive inspection / selective inspection: Specifications and procedures for
improved manual ultrasonic wall thickness measurements, 1996.

Part II:

5.8 Sensitivity - Response time

The accuracy of ultrasonic measurements is rather independent of wall thickness (given a certain
UT system) because the measurement is based on travel time. Therefore, relative accuracy
increases for larger wall thickness; for this reason the quoted relative accuracy has to refer to
a specific wall thickness (10 mm in this report).

Manual ultrasonic measurements can show large variations, particularly if they have been taken
over a long time span, and are affected by many uncontrolled variables like change of operator,
procedure, UT -measuring set, re-painting of the surface, and measurement at different
temperatures. Variations of 1 mm occur in key point measurements on pipework, which result in
10 % relative accuracy.

Precision measurements in the field are possible, but only when conditions are controlled. On
a 10 mm thick pipe of >4 diameter an accuracy of 0.2 mm results in a 2 % accuracy.
OG.02.20773 - 54 - CONFIDENTIAL

On corroded surfaces the accuracy increases a factor of 2.

Mechanised or semi-mechanised systems might help to control the variables that cause
measurement errors; however, such systems give no guarantee that a certain accuracy is
achieved, and the same care is required as with manual measurements to control the accuracy.

Permanently installed probes like Rightrax flexible arrays perform slightly better than manual

Response time of a UT Flexible probe system can be in the order of 1 hour if the system is
designed to produce on-line data. However, when expected corrosion rates are well below
100 mm/y then a monitoring interval smaller than 0.5 to 1 day will not show significant change
in the corrosion rate.

Sensitivity - Response time for Ultrasonics


Corrosion tests

10.000 Inhibition control

Corrosion monitoring for upsets

Corrosion monitoring for performance
CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)

Inspection optimisation


UT Manual - routine (1 mm)

UT Manual - precision/ corroded (0.4 mm)
one month
one week

one year

UT Manual - precision/ No/Mild corrosion (0.2 mm)

10 years
one day

Flexible UT probes - Rightrax (0.1 mm)

0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Response Time (hours)

i) short response time can be applied using manual UT (6-hourly intervals on critical systems have
been used)
Figure 1-15
Ultrasonic Sensitivity-Response curves, made up for general corrosion and a 1 standard deviation

5.9 Monitoring performance

The Rightrax system has been tested by Shell Global Solutions. Several properties were studied:
the minimum wall thickness that the system can handle is dependent on the pulse length of the
back wall echo, the length of the transmitter pulse, as well as a data processing algorithm (the
latter would play a role when the first back wall echo is mixing up with the transmitter pulse,
while at the same time later backwall echoes are still separate. It appears that the system is limited
to wall thicknesses above 4-6 mm. A series of tests were performed to identify how well the
system measures weaker echoes from local defects. Here, amplitude/gain compensation creates
complex behaviour; a preliminary conclusion is that for monitoring local defects the validation of
the readings by an ultrasonic specialist is recommended. Stability of the adhesive bond is crucial
in many applications: temperature cycle tests have been performed over a period of 8 months,
showing that the strips survive when operated within the specified range, as well as slightly
OG.02.20773 - 55 - CONFIDENTIAL

The Rightrax system (with 5 strips) was used in a chemical plant for 1.5 year; some elements
showed erratic data over the period, but the majority of elements showed stable readings
(no-corrosion condition), with variations less than +0.2 mm.

5.10 Data communication properties

Several systems are installed by Rightrax in remote areas that seem to perform well over a
number of years now.

5.11 Data processing and analysis requirements

In 2000 an analysis program has been developed that provides the capability to trend the data
that is collected over a long period of time.

When local corrosion is expected (pitting; bottom of the line corrosion) it could be necessary to
have the data reviewed by a specialist regularly, in order to validate the data.

5.12 System reliability aspects

A low-end system from Rightrax, consisting of strips and a data logger seems rather robust. Little
is known about the integrated systems with dedicated power supply and remote communication.

It is known that the Fleximat probes from AEA Technology have shown some problems with the
durability of the adhesive bond. It is not known whether this happens under specific conditions or
is a general problem.

6. Corrosion coupons

Part I:

6.1 Description of method

Corrosion coupons are metal samples exposed in the system under observation and used to
measure the average corrosion rate over a known period of time by weight loss. In addition, they
permit physical measurements and inspection of pitting, crevice corrosion, heat affected zone
corrosion on welded coupons, stress corrosion cracking (e.g. U-bends) and chemical analysis of
corrosion deposits.

Coupons are the most common corrosion monitoring tool used. They are relatively cheap, very
useful under steady-state corrosion conditions and where electrical devices cannot be used.
OG.02.20773 - 56 - CONFIDENTIAL

Before the exposure test the weight and dimensions of the coupons and, when relevant, details of
the surface conditionii are noted. For an effective analysis of the results of corrosion coupons
exposure besides the exact exposure time also the plant data (environmental conditions,
temperatures etc.) during the exposition period are needed. After the corrosion test the samples
are dried and stored under non-corrosive conditions. For surface scale analyses, the weight
including scale can be determined and samples from the scale analysed. After cleaning of the
samples the weight-loss can be determined and the corrosion rate calculated according to the
following formula:

mm/year = (weight loss in gram) x 3650



A = total exposed surface area [cm2]

d = metal density [g/cm3]
t = time [days]

The background to this formula is described in more detail in Appendix 2.

With the formula above, it is assumed that the corrosion was uniform over the whole coupon
surface. Of course, this is not always true. Therefore, a complete analysis should also include
a visual inspection of the coupon surfaceii to determine the type(s) of attack. For example
a general corrosion rate determined using the above formula doesnt say anything about pitting:
While an acceptable general corrosion rate is found, the presence of small sharp pits can still
perforate the material in a relatively short time. Crevices underneath insulation rings should be
inspected on the presence of crevice corrosion.

The major limitation of coupons is that they have to be removed from the system for measurement
and evaluation of the corrosion occurring.

Advantages Disadvantages

Cheap and easily applied Slow (long exposure time)

Visual examination: Identifying attack mode No continuous (on-line) results

(general attack, localised attack)

Samples available for deposit analysis and May require retrieval and insertion under (high)
metalography (e.g. study cross section on pressure
penetration depths; intergranular attack,

ii A description of the surface condition prior to exposure is especially important when the
samples have to be inspected on localised attack (pitting and cracking). Very small surface
features which look like micro cracks or pits may be present due to machining. It is
important that afterwards a distinction can be made between surface features already
present and (slight) localised attack caused by corrosion.
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Coupon service life:

When selecting the size of the coupon some consideration should be given to coupon life, so that
it will not be consumed under the worst possible conditions and the longest expose time expected
(say, 2 or 3 times the planned replacement interval). Possibly there may be requirements for
mechanical strength or dimensions, resulting from the conditions in which the probe has to

As a simple criterion one could require that the coupon should not be consumed for more than
half its thickness under worst-case conditions, so that it will still show useful information and will
not be lost. For a maximum corrosion rate, CRmax, a maximum expose time, Tmax, this results in a
probe half thickness of:

WTprobe = 4 x Tmax x CRmax

As an example: if a maximum corrosion rate of 2 mm/y is possible (0.5 mm/y expected) and if
the normal replacement interval of 3 months may be deferred several times so that a maximum
exposure time of 9 months, this would require a coupon thickness of [4 x 0.75 year x 2 mm/y] =

6.2 Description of system

6.3 Provider
Applicable standards:
ASTM G4: Conducting Corrosion Coupon Tests in Plant Equipment.
ASTM G46: Practice for Examination and Evaluation of Pitting Corrosion.
ASTM G1: Practice for Preparing of Metallographic Specimens.
ASTM G31: Laboratory Immersion Corrosion Testing of Metals.
NACE RP 0775: Preparation and Installation of Corrosion Coupons and Interpretation of
Test Data in Oil Field Operations.

Part II:

6.4 Sensitivity response time

For coupons the sensitivity to measure a corrosion rate is dependent on its size and the accuracy
with which we can measure (or know) the density, surface area and weight before and after the
exposure. This provides the best achievable capability to detect uniform wall loss on the coupon.
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In practice the sensitivity of coupons is less than optimal because the corrosion is often uneven; as
the coupon measures the average rate it will be less sensitive to detect a corrosion rate that causes
an uneven wall loss on the coupon. The effect is further explained below (see Effect of non-
uniform corrosion).

The ultimate case is corrosion with a very local, pitting type, nature: even significant corrosion
rates may not become measurable by weighing, as a few pits will not cause a measurable wall
loss; however, visual detection of pits and mechanical measurement of their depth (with a pit
depth gauge) will allow estimation of the corrosion rate. As the sensitivity is now directly related
to the accuracy with which the pit depth can be measured an S-R curve results that is similar to,
for instance, the curves for ultrasonic techniques with the same measurement accuracy.
An example of a coupon S-R curve is added where we assume that pits can be measured with an
accuracy of 0.2 mm depth.

The formula for the S-R curve of a coupon is described in more detail in Appendix 2.

Sensitivity - Response time for Coupons



Corrosion tests
1.000 Inhibition control
Corrosion monitoring for upsets
CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)

Corrosion monitoring for performance demonstration

Inspection optimisation
0.100 Inspection
Coupon pitting rate (@ 0.2 mm)
Tanker coupon (200 x 200 x 3)
Small Coupon (60 x 10 x 3) large w eight error
0.010 Small Coupon (60 x 20 x 3) large w eight error
Small Coupon (60 x 20 x 3) small w eight error
one month
one week

one year

10 years
one day


0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Response Time (hours)

Figure 1-16
Coupon Sensitivity-Response curves, for a small and a large coupon, for different corrosion rates.

S-R curves have been calculated for three small coupons (sizes in the typical standard range), and
a large coupon, in combination with different accuracies for the weighing error. A fifth S-R curve
has been determined for pitting corrosion based on the visual detection of a pit on the coupon
and the mechanical measurement of the pit depth.

It can be seen from the S-R curves than the sensitivity performance of coupons spans more than
4 orders of magnitude. To understand where the effect comes from three aspects have to be
compared: coupon dimensions, weighing error and uniformity of the corrosion losses across the
coupon surface. First an overview of the coupon dimensions and weight errors is given in the
table below:
OG.02.20773 - 59 - CONFIDENTIAL

Table 1-3 Overview of coupon parameters

Coupon Length Width Thickness Error Error
(mm) (mm) (mm) (milligram (% coupon
) weight)
#1: Small coupon, small weight error 60 20 3 0.1 0.0004 %
#2: Small coupon, large weight error 60 20 3 10 0.04 %
#3: Small coupon, large weight error 60 10 3 10 0.14 %
#4: Large coupon, large weight error 200 200 3 1000 0.11 %
#5: Pitting rate measurement N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Effect of coupon dimension:

The S-R curves show a slight dependence on the coupon dimensions, intrinsic to the shape of the
coupon, and to a large extend resulting from the surface area (in fact, a larger exposed surface
area will result in a larger wall loss; assuming the same weight measurement error this will result
in a higher sensitivity for the corrosion rate).

Coupon #3 is less sensitive than coupon #2 as a result of its smaller surface area: #3 has roughly
half the surface area of #2 while both are measured with the same weight error.

Effect of weighing error:

The corrosion measurement sensitivity of a coupon is largely dependent on the accuracy with
which the weight can be measured. This is partly intrinsic to the available weighing apparatus
and procedures (thus predictable in principle), and partly dependent on effects of the corrosion
environment in which the coupon operates due to cleaning that affects the weight.

The ultimate performance, with the highest sensitivity to detect a corrosion rate, is obtained when
a very high weighing accuracy can be achieved. For coupon #1 an error of 0.1 milligram has
been assumed (equal to the weighing accuracy of an analytical balance). This assumes that the
cleaning of the coupon after exposure is not introducing an error larger than 0.1 milligram; this
will only be the case when a coupon can easily be cleaned, for instance when it is covered by soft
corrosion products that can be removed without removing metal from the coupon.

A larger weighing/cleaning error might result when a coupon is covered by hard scale; for
coupon #2, with the same dimensions as coupon #1, a 100x larger weighing error has been
assumed. This lowers the sensitivity proportionally by a factor of 100.

To judge the magnitude of the weighing error it is useful to judge the relative error in the weight
of the coupon as a result of 1) the weighing error, and 2) the cleaning error. One has to make
a realistic estimate of the weighing error: in an industrial application the coupon is weighed
before and after exposure, possibly with an interval of many months. In that case the
reproducibility of the weight measurement might be significantly lower than the capability of the
instrument, resulting in a much lower accuracy (think of drift of calibration; personnel changes;
procedural changes).

Effect of non-uniform corrosion:

The calculation of the sensitivity assumes perfectly uniform corrosion wall loss over the area of the
coupon. If the corrosion is non-uniform the coupon will produce an average rate; generally, the
smaller the area corroded on the coupon the less sensitive the coupon will be to detect the
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To illustrate this with an example: if a coupon is attacked by island corrosion of uniform depth, at
50 % of its surface, then the corrosion rate measured with the coupon is half the actual,
maximum, corrosion rate seen by the coupon. Hence, the same weight-loss detection threshold
represents a two times higher corrosion rate, or in other word, the sensitivity to detect this
(maximum) corrosion rate is 2x lower.
Similarly, if only 10 % of the area was corroded it requires a 10x larger wall loss (from a 10x
higher corrosion rate) to produce the same weight loss and become detectable.

Consequently, the S-R curve is shifted upward to a lower sensitivity; if 10 % of the coupon area is
corroded it shifts up by a factor of 10; if 1 % of the area is corroded it shifts up 100x, and the
corrosion pattern will look as localised pitting. It can be seen in the S-R plot that the curves may
now approach the S-R curve for mechanical measurement of pitting corrosion.

6.5 Monitoring performance

Like other tools, coupons are not infallible and many variables can affect the interpretation of the
data they generate, the most important being:
Surface preparation and handling. The condition of the coupons should be consistent with the
system under investigation and not contaminated by external matter;
Storage of the coupons should ensure they are not exposed to atmospheric corrosion;
Location and orientation of exposure: The position of the coupons in the corroding system
should be chosen to reflect the environment as a whole, to avoid localised corrosion or
anomalous corrosion conditions occurring on the coupon;
Exposure period. The time of exposure should be long enough to allow the corrosion
mechanism to develop.

7. Visual Inspection Techniques

Part I:

7.1 Description of method

A technique that is routinely used but often overlooked, as a corrosion monitoring technique is
visual inspection. If a fully dimensioned record of surface condition is made during periodic visual
inspections e.g. scheduled annual shut-downs, then over a period of time an accurate picture of
rate of metal loss will emerge.

To ensure that an accurate picture is recorded, corrosion damage should always be quantified by
physical measurement, with respect to location and damage extent, and whenever possible
photographs of the corroded areas should be included in the visual inspection report.

To quantify the corrosion measurement mechanical callipers of all kind are in use.

7.2 Performance
In terms of sensitivity to measure a certain corrosion rate with a mechanical calliper, reference is
made to the way in which the sensitivity is derived of coupons to detect a pitting corrosion rate.
When the measurement error is known (say, 0.5 mm) one can refer to the S-R curve of an
ultrasonic technique with the same accuracy to characterise the capability of the mechanical
OG.02.20773 - 61 - CONFIDENTIAL

N.B.: One should realise that the monitoring process based on visual inspection followed by
mechanical measurement is dependent on the detection of any corrosion by the visual
examination: if pits are detected when they are 1 mm deep this will produce a threshold
sensitivity for the onset of corrosion which is worse than the sensitivity as a result of the
mechanical measurement (by a factor of 2). In fact, only when pits have become deep enough to
be detected the high sensitivity of the mechanical measurement will become valid.

8. Radioisotope based methods

Part I:

8.1 Description of method

Radioactive isotopes, introduced into the inner surface layer of a wall, can be used to detect
material loss, by measuring the decrease of the activity on the outside of the wall.

8.2 Description of system

On a spot (typically 1 - 100 cm2) of the surface to be monitored, a thin layer of radioactive atoms
is produced by the bombardment with charged particles in a particle accelerator (e.g.
a cyclotron; a Van de Graaff accelerator etc.) The technique is commonly denoted by the
acronym TLA (Thin Layer Activation). As material is worn away from the surface (by corrosion or
erosion processes), the total activity decreases. When the activity of the material can be
accurately determined and if the activity to depth relationship is known, the wear profile of the
material under study can be accurately described. A schematic outline of the technique is
presented in Figure 1.

Thin Layer Activation: Principle

Beam of
charged 100%


100 m
activity-depth curve for 9.2 MeV
deuterons in steel

Figure 1-17
Principle of Thin Layer Activation: A beam of charged particles introduces a well-defined thin
layer of radioactive atoms in a steel surface layer. Surface loss results in the (externally
detectable) decrease in the radioactivity
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The technique requires a spool piece to be prepared, transported to the irradiation facility and
exposed to the beam. There are practical limits to the size of object that can be handled. After
irradiation, the spool piece needs to be introduced into the system.

On the object a radiation detector needs to be mounted that measures quantitatively the radiation
coming from the activated layer and thus provides for a point measurement. For wear monitoring
in process streams, usually TLA is applied at various representative spots throughout the
installation(s). The signal can be automatically corrected for the natural decay (defined by the half
time) of the introduced radioactive materials. TLA has successfully been applied for the monitoring
of surface losses of carbon, aluminium, chromium, manganese, iron, nickel, copper,
molybdenum, antimony, tin and lead containing materials; measuring periods of up to one year
can be realised (depending on the material and total activity introduced in the surface layer).
Also the continuous on-line registration of surface loss (sampling time in the order of
100 seconds) is possible. Using sophisticated (multi-beam) activation techniques, various type of
surface loss (e.g. pitting corrosion versus abrasive actions) can be distinguished.

As the surface layer in which the tracer atoms are shot can be controlled to a certain extent
(controllable range between 5 and 300 microns), the measurement can be made very sensitive by
bringing the tracer atoms in a very thin layer. The drawback might be that the useful
observation life of the surface layer can be comparatively short. A layer thickness of less than
10 up to several 100s of microns can be realised. The sensitivity of the method is commonly
better than 1 % of the totally activated depth.

Safety Aspects

Commercially available radiation measuring equipment does not comply with the safety
regulations in (ignition or explosion) hazardous areas. At SRTCA, standard radiation detectors
have been adapted (by placing the detectors EX-proof stainless steel housings with approved
connectors, to make these ensembles allowed for use in on E&P production locations, gas
handling and treating facilities and refineries). The detectors are coupled (via intrinsically safe
cables) to measuring equipment and a computer in the safe zone. Radiation detectors can be
used on operating plants (no additional protection against rain or frost is required; for
measurements on hot surfaces (above 50C, up to a several hundred Celsius) cooling is applied
for protection of the detectors.

The activity needed for reliable measurements is typically in the order of a few hundred
kilobecquerels (approximately 10 microcuries). This is a very low activity (in some countries close
to or even below the exempt limits for licensing) and its presence does not cause a radiation risk
to staff. These low amounts of radioactive materials also do not interfere with normal operations
or maintenance activities.

8.3 Application
TLA has been found very useful to solve special problems, either related to studies in a laboratory
or to satisfy needs for very sensitive on-line non-intrusive measurement conditions in the field.
Examples of applications include the measurement of corrosion rates of heat exchangers in gas
treating installations (see Figure 1-16); the determination of the effectiveness of additives in
lubricating oils in bearing shell tests and the on-line registration of the wear of locomotive wheels.
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Corrosion of carbon steel in heat exchangers

under various operating conditions
Surface loss (m) after 210 hours

after 528 hours


after 210 hours

0 100 200
Running Time (hours)

Figure 1-18
Surface loss of carbon steel heat exchanger tubes under various operating conditions, as
determined by Thin Layer Activation monitoring

8.4 State of development

The basic equipment needed for TLA measurements is mature and commonly available from
instrument firms dealing with nuclear measuring equipment. Care should be taken to comply with
the safety standards for use in (explosion or ignition) hazardous areas (see also Safety Aspects).
Most applications will have a one-off character and will need dedicated preparation. For the
preparation the support by a radiological expert is required.

8.5 Provider
Various providers for thin layer activation services can be found around the world, as the
accelerators needed are typically in use for research and medical applications.

Support with development of a monitoring system suitable for use at E&P facilities, refineries or
chemical plants can be obtained via Shell Global Solutions, from the group Nuclear
Measurement Techniques at SRTCA

8.6 Cost
The basic cost to set up one measuring point is estimated in the order of 25k US$, with an
additional 5k US % for an extra point.

8.7 References
1. RI.1 A.C. Veldkamp, W.F.A.R. Verbalkel, F.A. Hartog, G. Jonkers e.a., Industrial
applications of radioactive materials in the form of open and contained sources,
report 5041/99.31414/p, NRG Petten, The Netherlands.
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Part II:

8.8 Sensitivity - Response time

The sensitivity of radioactive techniques can be in the order of several microns; on a 10 mm wall
thickness this gives a relative sensitivity of 0.01 %.

The response time for a single measurement cycle is several minutes. Dependent on the
processing and transmitting capabilities the data can be offered to a user within hours or days.

Sensitivity - Response time for radioactive tracer technique


Corrosion tests

Inhibition control
CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)

Corrosion monitoring for upsets

Corrosion monitoring for performance

Inspection optimisation

0.010 Inspection

Radioactive tracer technique (2 micron)

one month
one week

one year

10 years
one day


0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Response Time (hours)

Figure 1-19
Sensitivity-Response curve for radioactive tracer technique, made up for general corrosion

8.9 Monitoring performance

Field applications (on-line monitoring on sour gas treating installations) have demonstrated that
extrapolated corrosion rates of down to 0.02 mm per annum can be predicted after a measuring
period of three weeks. The registration equipment has demonstrated to operate stable over
a period of at least six weeks under field conditions. A major advantage of TLA over
conventional techniques proved to be the option of wear determination as a function of the
plant operating conditions.

Comparison tests between on-line TLA measurements and conventional weight loss determinations
(carried out on bearing shells) have demonstrated an excellent agreement.

8.10 Data communication properties

The signal from the detector can be brought to a data recording and processing system in a safe
area, from where the information can be transmitted to a remote user.
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8.11 Data processing and analysis requirements

A prerequisite for the successful quantitative application of TLA is accurate knowledge of the
activity - depth profile. These calibration data are routinely obtained from model calculations,
which are generally verified by a limited number of experimental laboratory measurements. Data
registration by the radiation detector is followed by processing on dedicated electronics and a PC
with dedicated interface cards and data processing software. After the front end processing
further data evaluation is done in a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel).

8.12 System reliability aspects

Radiometric systems are widely used in process operations (cf level detectors, etc.), and can be
designed to a very high standard.

9. Electrical Resistance (ER) probes

Part I:

9.1 Description of method

Electrical resistance (ER) probes measure the resistance change of a corroding metal element to
determine integrated metal loss, thus enabling corrosion rates to be calculated. In many
applications, they are not used for calculating absolute corrosion rates, but to reveal corrosion
trends. For example to indicate a sudden increase in corrosivity (e.g. due to changed process

CorrOcean markets so-called High Sensitivity RR (HS-ER) probes. This type of ER probe is
designed with a longer, thinner element for high sensitivity. CorrOcean claims that
they improved their data-handling software to increase the sensitivity of the probe
to become comparable to that of CEION (e.g. the accompanying HS-ER software
contains algorithms to compensate for quick temperature changes and slight
material differences between the measuring element and the reference element in
the probe). According to CorrOcean, the HR-ER system is cheaper than CEON
because no special probes are needed. However, there are no comparable data (CEON -
CorrOcean HS-ER probes) to back the claims.

9.2 Description of systems

Standard ER probes:
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ER probes are suitable for most metals and alloys in both liquid and vapour systems. After
coupons, ER probes are the second most popular form of corrosion monitoring tool. Like coupons
their data is subject to the same general limitations, i.e. they require appropriate preparation,
handling and locating in the system to ensure that spurious readings aren't generated due to
localised corrosion effects. Their main advantage over coupons is that the probes can be read
directly on-site thus providing up-to-the-minute information.

WT 4/WT8 WL40/WL80 TL 10/20 BAND FL10/FL20 FL10/FL20

Tube Loop Wire Loop TS 10/20 Glass Seal Epoxy Seal

High sensitivity probes

Depending on the observed corrosion rate, the response times of ER probes are rather low. Some
novel types, like the Microcor system have a faster response (hours instead of days).

However, the Microcor system is not proven yet. In 1998 - 1999 Cortest was not able to deliver
a working test system and a field test at a NAM site had to be cancelled.

Cormon markets what appears to be a similar system called CEION. They claim that CEION
delivers a resolution 100 times better than the conventional resistance probe technology and is
able to deliver metal loss data in minutes. Besides metal loss, it also measures the temperature.
Cormon also claims the system to be much less sensitive to thermal changes than conventional ER
systems. The system successfully passed a field trail in a BP Amoco Alaska field (according to
Cormon: Virtually instantaneous detection of corrosion rate changes of 0 - 10 mpy
(0 - 0.25 mm/year) in a multi-phase hydrocarbon environment).
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Water-cooled or gas-cooled ER probes work on the same principal as ER probes but, as the
name suggests, the probes are designed to be constantly gas (or water)-cooled, thus allowing
dew point corrosion to be monitored. The temperature stability of the probe and the quality of the
cooling medium are important (e.g. controlled non-corrosive cooling water quality). Suppliers are
reluctant to offer these type of probes. Rohrback (April 2000 information) stopped manufacturing
this type of probes because they didnt succeed in make a reliable probe. The problem is the
sensitivity of ER probes to (small) temperature fluctuations. Cormon offered a cooled probe based
on their CEION technology to a refinery but dont seem to have much experience with this new
version of CEION (April 2000).

A disadvantage of cooled probes sometimes is that liquid may drip from the probe and cause
localised corrosion on the metal that collects the liquid.

Schematic drawing of an air-cooled CEION probe

9.3 Application
The table below is obtained from Cormon, as a general example. Other manufacturers have
similar probe types and graphs to select a suitable ER probe for an application.
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It is noted that a higher sensitivity probe has a thinner plate and consequently a shorter life time.
E.G for the WT4 probe: at 2 m.p.y. corrosion rate the life time is indicated at 12 months (= one
year). In that time the probe will have lost 2 mil (0.002 inch, as indicated in the column useful

Part II

9.4 Sensitivity-Response time

For two probes of the Corrosometer series of Rohrback-Cosasco the S-R plots are represented: the
S4 probe is the most sensitive probe, the T50 the most insensitive (these probes are comparable to
the WT4, vis. WL80 probes in the Cormon series above).

For comparison the S-R curve of a high sensitivity probe is added, in this case the CEION F40-
probe of Cormon. It is 60 times more sensitive than the S4 probe.
(N.B.: the sensitivity of the CEION probe is roughly confirmed by field trials (see below) but more
accurate analysis of field data is required to confirm the specifications of the manufacturer).
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Sensitivity - Response time for ER-probes


Corrosion tests
Inhibition control

Corrosion monitoring for upsets

CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)

Corrosion monitoring for performance

Inspection optimisation


0.010 Corrosometer probe S4

one month
Corrosometer probe T50
one week

one year

10 years
one day

Cormon CEION F40

0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Response Time (hours)

9.5 Monitoring performance

Results of a field trial for NAM (Dec00-Jan01) with the CEION probe - Well 28: the data shows
clear effects of corrosion in the second half of the graph, but also the strong temperature effect
when temperature changes are outside the temperature compensation range. Further analysis of
this data is required (February 2001).
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10. Electro-chemical noise method

Part I:

10.1 Description of method

Electrochemical noise has been proposed as a means of monitoring localised corrosion and stress
corrosion cracking. It requires the simultaneous measurement and correlation of the corrosion
potential noise and the current and current noise between two coupled electrodes. Hence, it can
only be applied in a conductive environment and it is an extremely sensitive technique. The results
often are difficult to interpret and may require the assistance of an electrochemical corrosion
expert. Currently (2000 - 2001), this method is field tested at a NAM site in the Netherlands.

11. Galvanic probe technique

Part I:

11.1 Description of method

Galvanic corrosion monitors are based on the zero resistance ampere-meter (ZRA) technique. It
monitors the current flowing between two dissimilar metal electrodes. Galvanic probes consist of
twin electrodes made of dissimilar metals, usually brass and steel, that are externally connected to
each other before being inserted into the corroding system. Once the electrodes have reached
equilibrium with the environment, the current flow in the external loop is read at intervals and
related to the corrosivity of the system. Low currents are generated in a non-corrosive
environment and high currents in a corrosive one. Furthermore, it can be identified which
material is anodic or cathodic.

11.2 Application
Application areas:
Measurement dissolved gases such as oxygen;
Galvanic corrosion.
The main benefit of the technique is that the probe response can be related back to operational
data on a similar timeframe. This allows corrosivity changes to be related directly back to precise
operational activities.

11.3 Monitoring performance

The main limitation in this type of probe is that it only provides qualitative checks on the changes
in corrosion rate.

It is important that the probe reflects the application of interest. E.g. the alloy composition and
microstructure of the probe should be representative of the actual system materials;
It is recommended to check the output of a galvanic probe against the results of other
monitoring techniques;
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Care must be taken when using galvanic monitors to monitor dissolved gases such as oxygen
since the measurement will be related to the relative areas of the anode and cathode
Fouling of the probe (e.g. in seawater applications) can reduce the sensitivity;
The technique requires the probe to be continuously water wet. Lack of water wetting is not
the same as low conductivity and cannot be compensated for. Watercuts in excess of
10-20 % are required;
Likewise ER probes, galvanic probe are less suitable when conductive scales (e.g. sulphides)
are formed on the probe. For example flush mounted probes may be short circuited by
a sulphide scale;
When used to monitor / study weld corrosion, the technique is valid only when the corrosion
mechanism is galvanic. E.g. preferential weld attack is related to a corrosion resistance effect
rather than a galvanic mechanism.

12. Potential measurement probes

Part I:

12.1 Description of method

Potential measurement

All alloys have a free-corroding potential (Ecor). This Ecor varies from alloy to alloy and with the
condition of the alloy surface. For example, alloys which produce passivating surface will have
significantly different electrode potentials between the active corroding and passive condition
(= almost no corrosion because of the protection of the surface layer). The technique provides no
information about the actual corrosion rate, it only indicates changes between passive and active
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13. Linear Polarisation and Potentio-dynamic methods

Part I:

13.1 Description of method

Linear Polarisation Resistance (LPR) probes

LPR probes create a small potential difference across two electrodes (typically 10 - 20 mV), made
of the same metal as the system, and the small resultant current is measured. The current is then
instantaneously correlated to a corrosion rate. The relationship of the applied potential change to
the measured current density (E/i) is defined as the polarisation resistance (Rp) which is
inversely proportional to the corrosion rate.

icor = B / Rp

The constant (B) of proportionality is based on theoretical, empirical or pre-characterised

assumptions of the valency of the chemical reaction of the element or elements under test and the
nature of the corrosion. the corrosion rate (Vcor, expressed as a loss of thickness per unit of time
(e.g. mm/year)) can be calculated from:
M M = mol weight
Vcor = icor x C n = number of electrons transferred in the dissolution
dxnxF of one metal atom
F = Faradays number
d = density
icor = corrosion current
C = conversion constant depending on the units desired
For example for the electrochemical corrosion reaction Fe Fe2+:

Vcor [mm/year] = 11.6 x icor [A/cm2]

Potentio-dynamic techniques

Likewise the LPR technique, to obtain information about the corrosion reactions, a working
electrode made out of the alloy of interest is polarised and the current response measured. The
polarisation is larger (typically 100 mV to a few volts, depending on the technique) than with the
LPR method. Potentio-dynamic techniques allow measurements of Tafel-slopes, corrosion rates,
pitting and repassivation potentials. Polarisation of an electrode also means disturbance and
change of the electrode surface condition. In case of the small polarisation range of the LPR
technique, the disturbance is minimal and neglectable. However, the polarisation far beyond the
free corroding potential can change the electrode surface condition. This may require
replacement of the electrodes for each test.

13.2 Description of system

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13.3 Application
The main advantage of the Linear Polarisation Resistance probe is its immediate response and
real-time corrosion rate reading. However, these probes can only be used in electrically
conductive fluids. In low conductive often suitable results can be obtained by applying a IR-drop
correction to correct for the influence of the high resistance of the fluid. Also three electrode
systems are available which eliminate the need for IR-drop correction in low conductive media.

Potentio-dynamic techniques are used primarily as analysis tools rather than continuous corrosion
monitoring. These techniques can only be used in electrically conducting fluids. In some cases
(e.g. presence of additional redox reactions such as oxidation of (organic or anorganic)
compounds in the environment and scale formation), measurement results are difficult to interpret
and may require the assistance of an electrochemical corrosion expert. Note, that commercial
software to measure and analyse electrochemical data do not give a warning when
a measurement is obscured by secondary redox reactions and therefore sometimes give false

13.4 Monitoring performance

Advantages LPR & potentio-dynamic Disadvantages LPR & potentio-dynamic
techniques techniques

Rapid measurement of corrosivity Needs conductive phase

Sensitive to any process changes, flow, General corrosion only (no localised attack)
pressure, temperature, etc.
Measurements are snap-shots (situation on
the time of the measurement); indicative of
general corrosion trends rather than absolute

Probes susceptible to fouling (deposits, partial

wetting by hydrocarbon phase)

Some environments are too complex to analyse

using standard analysis software
(electrochemical corrosion expert needed)

14. AC Impedance spectroscopy

Part I:

14.1 Description of method

AC-Impedance Spectroscopy is based on polarising the working electrode with a small amplitude
(of the order of 10 mV) with respect to the corrosion potential (or another potential of interest).
The polarisation is sinusoidally varied with time and the resulting current density recorded. The
relation between potential and current density is now given by their amplitude ratio and their
relative phase shift, i.e. by a complex impedance (Z=Z+jZ). The complex impedance is
measured for a range of frequencies (of the order of 1 MHz to 10 kHz). Because, contrary to
a DC electrochemical technique such as the Linear Polarisation Resistance (LPR) measurement, this
technique is of a dynamic nature, information about the dynamics of the corrosion mechanism is
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obtained in addition to the steady state polarisation resistance. The latter is generally found by
taking the difference between the low and the high frequency limit of the real part of the complex
impedance. From the results the electrical resistance of the environment and the polarisation
resistance (Rp) can be derived (see LPR method).

14.2 Application
This technique is especially suitable in aqueous environments with a high electrical resistance.

Like the potentio-dynamic techniques, AC-impedance spectroscopy is more an analytical tool than
a CM tool. For practical corrosion monitoring, AC-impedance only has an advantage over LPR in
low conductive aqueous environments

14.3 Monitoring performance

The results sometimes are difficult to interpret and may require the assistance of an
electrochemical corrosion expert.

15. Monitoring process parameters

Part I:

15.1 Description of method

Corrosion monitoring can also be achieved by monitoring of the process parameters that control
the corrosion (e.g. temperature, pressure, pH, chloride content, flow, etc.) throughout operation
and observing any changes in parameters as they occur.

Optimal selection of the monitoring parameters, sampling frequency and sampling location is
dependent on the system under observation. This requires an understanding of the overall
operation of the process under consideration, the involved corrosion mechanisms and the effects
that changes in the routine operational conditions will have on corrosion.

16. Chemical analysis

Part I:

16.1 Description of method

Dissolved iron

One method of attempting to predict corrosion and to evaluate control effectiveness is the iron
content or iron count of the fluid. An iron count study can be broken down into three basic
steps: sampling, analysis an evaluation or interpretation. In some studies, only the produced
water is collected and analysed; however, many companies check iron in the oil or iron in the
total fluid.
This approach is covered in the following recommended practice: NACE RP 0192: Monitoring
corrosion in oil and gas production with iron counts.
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Analysis of the corrosion product

The chemical analysis of samples of corrosion product and deposits from a system can be another
important part of a monitoring program. Samples may be taken directly from the equipment or
from coupons or test nipples. Knowledge of the composition of deposits helps to evaluate the type
of problem and to detect changes in the system.

Again, sample collection and handling are important for proper interpretation of the results.
Sample of corrosion products invariably change chemically once they are removed from
a system. For example, iron sulphides in contact with air oxidise to iron oxide. So, before the
sample reaches the laboratory the black iron sulphide sample may change in a brown iron oxide
sample. Information about the location where the sample was collected, date / time of the
sampling and the colour of the original sample are important.

Gas analysis

Information about the presence of gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, oxygen) can
be very important to predict corrosion. For example traces of hydrogen sulphide can cause
cracking in high strength steels and steels and alloys with a too high hardness (See NACE
standard MR-01-75).

Liquid analysis

Especially water analysis can be of great interest. There are calculation methods to predict if
a certain water quality tends to corrosion or scale forming. Also changes in concentrations of
components can tell something about corrosion rate changes.

Bacterial activity

Bacterial activity can cause a number of problems, particularly in water handling systems, heat
exchanges and (underground) oil (products) storage tanks. There are monitoring methods to
determine the activity of micro-organisms. The API standard and NACE review to cover this area
API RP 38: Recommended practice for biological analysis of subsurface oilfield waters;
NACE/Icorr: Review of current practices for monitoring bacterial growth in oilfield systems;
Document 001/87; 1987.
Bio-probes are used to collect samples of bacteria in gas and oil producing systems. The bacterial
population on a systems metal surface is more relevant to corrosion than the bacterial population
in the systems fluids. This is because only surface or sessile bacteria cause corrosion. Thus
a corrosion control program is ineffective unless it kills those bacteria which have formed attached
biomasses. The same bacteria that cause problems in gas pipelines, tanks, vessels, oil wells, heat
exchangers and water handling systems attach to the bio-probes sample element. And since the
bio-probe is designed for high-pressure access systems, it becomes a convenient and economical
way for sampling corrosion-causing biological activity.
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A bio-probe is installed in the flow stream. The bio-films grow on the probe and the (typically 6)
removable studs. Sequential removal of one or more studs enables to quantify the bio growth over
time and may also provide additional information on the morphology of the corrosion attack.
Typical exposure times for bio-probes are 2-4 weeks.


Currently there are new systems on the market that provide on-line and real-time indications of
biofilm activity on typical metal surfaces. An example of such a system is the BIoGeorge system
of Structural Integrity Associates (SI). The system monitors biofilm activity on the probe surface.
Biofilm formation occurs more rapidly on the probe than on plant piping or heat exchanger
tubes. As a result, maintaining the probe in a clean condition assures that the pipe work and heat
exchangers are clean. This monitoring system can act as a stand-alone system or can provide
an enhancement to specialised monitoring systems used by utilities and other users of cooling
water. The real time indications of biofilm activity permit operators to initiate flow or biocide
treatments as needed, thereby minimising the risks of fouling and corrosion while reducing the
costs of the mitigation approaches and avoiding over-treatment.
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17. Hydrogen probes

Part I:

17.1 Description of method

Hydrogen probes are used to measure hydrogen gas liberated by weight loss corrosion. Under
certain, generally acidic, conditions, atomic hydrogen is generated at the cathode of the
corrosion reaction. This atomic hydrogen can permeate steel to cause Hydrogen Induced
Cracking (HIC) and hydrogen blistering at inclusions. The amount of atomic hydrogen permeating
the steel versus the amount of H2 gas released may vary, particularly with hydrogen sulphide,
cyanide and/or arsenic compounds present.

17.2 Description of system

The most common probe type consists of a slender tube connected to a pressure gauge so that the
hydrogen penetrates in to an annular space to give a pressure reading.

More recently hydrogen "patch" probes have been developed. These consist of sensors that are
attached to the surface of the metal and subsequently measure the hydrogen flux permeating
through the metal wall, thus allowing permeation rates to be calculated. These sensors are difficult
to attach but once a good seal is achieved the hydrogen rate measured appears to be more
accurate than for the conventional probes.

Another development, a variation on the patch probe is the Beta-Foil (Diversity Corporation,
Calgary, Canada). It comprises of a thin foil glued onto the outer pipewall and a vacuum drawn
between the foil and the pipework. As the atomic hydrogen diffuses into the vacuum, and
recombines to form molecular hydrogen the pressure increases. The increase in pressure is
measured via a vacuum gauge or a pressure transducer. No welding is involved in this system
and so it can be retrofitted to any pipework or vessel without the need for stress relieving.
However, it can sometimes be difficult ensuring a gas-tight seal around the foil and in the link to
the gauge.

17.3 Application
Monitoring with a hydrogen probe must be used with caution as a corrosion rate indicator.

Hydrogen probes are typically used in the petrochemical industry to measure mild steel corrosion
in systems containing wet H2S and HCN.
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17.4 Monitoring performance

The location and containment of hydrogen is the most difficult variable to control, giving rise to
uncertainty in the hydrogen liberation rate.

Advantages Disadvantages

No need of a water phase, Will work Only a general indication of corrosivity

wherever corrosion occurs (and hydrogen is
liberated as part of the corrosion process) Sensitive to environment changes which
affect the hydrogen combination process

Direct measurement of hydrogen liberated by No localised corrosion information

the corrosion process
Detailed understanding of corrosion
Does not have to be intrusive mechanism required before application

18. Acoustic Emission for corrosion monitoring

Part I:

18.1 Description of method

Acoustic Emission (AE) is a technique by which acoustic signals are detected which are generated
by active corrosion- and erosion processes and by phenomena related to crack extension
(dislocation movements, plastic zone extension, crack propagation). The latter may occur under
active loading conditions or may be process induced, e.g. stress corrosion cracking. The cracking
phenomena are outside the scope of this report.

For monitoring of active corrosion processes, such a in the bottom plates of vertical atmospheric
storage tanks, AE is widely applied. It cannot measure wall thickness, but on the basis of
a severity grading one gets an indication about the severity of the corrosion activities. Advanced
data analysis can indicate the presence of scaling which is the result of wall loss. Absence of AE
signals is a clear indication for the absence of active corrosion processes. The actual test in the
field is very simple but the data interpretation requires extensive experience, whereas the major
drawback of the test is the sensitivity for disturbance by environmental noise (pump noise; flow
noise; rain; wind).

AE monitoring for sand erosion is described separately.

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19. Erosion monitoring probes, ER and AE

Part I:

19.1 Description of method

Erosion is caused by (high velocity) flow of particles (e.g. solids such as sand, catalyst). For the
detection of these particles, to limit or prevent erosion, two types of techniques are used: ER and
acoustic emission (AE). With the electrical resistance technique, material loss is converted into
a sand production rate. Corrosion resistant elements can be used to measure erosion only. With
the AE technique, acoustic emission associated with particle impact is converted into a sand
production rate. This specialist application is outside the scope of this report.

19.2 Application
In refineries erosion probes are, for example, used in catalyst dosing systems. To rapidly detect
erosives with the ER technique, an ER system with a fast and accurate response is needed (e.g.
CEION or a sensitive conventional ER probe type). In erosive environments a sensitive probe will
have a short lifetime.

The ER based erosion monitoring technique is also suitable for monitoring erosion - corrosion
(erosion-corrosion occurs in environments which have the potential to be both erosive and

19.3 Monitoring performance

Advantages ER technique Disadvantages ER technique

Direct measurement of metal loss Requires maintenance, (may require) retrieval

and insertion under (high) pressure

Works in all environments (gas, liquid, Suitable for general corrosion only (not
conductive, non-conductive) suitable for measuring localised attack)

Quicker response than corrosion coupons Affected by conductive scales (e.g. sulphide

Also suitable for other metal loss conditions Trade off between probe life and sensitivity
such as erosion and cavitation
Sensitive to thermal changes
Output is cumulative material loss; slope is
used to determine the corrosion (erosion) rate. FSM, CEION, MicroCor: Initial costs high
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Appendix 2
Assessing Sensitivity and Response of CM-systems



1. Accuracy to measure a corrosion parameter (like wall thickness) 81

2. Measuring the corrosion rate 82

3. Sensitivity to detect the onset of corrosion 84

4. Prediction with the Trending Software Tool 89

5. Stability of a monitoring system 90

6. Sensitivity requirements for actual applications 91

7. Sensitivity-Response curve for coupons 92

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In this appendix the performance of a corrosion monitoring system is explained related to its
sensitivity and response time, and the relation of these parameters with the measurement
accuracy and several types of errors in the measurement.

In the first 6 sections systems are described that are based on a wall loss measurement. In
Section 7 the R-R curve for coupons are described.

Systems might process the incoming data in different ways; in this section only a simple 2-point
corrosion rate analysis is treated as this is a simple way to define the shortest response time. More
sophisticated analysis of point measurements requires more complete and complex statistical
models and techniques. An example is the Trending Software Tool developed by Shell Global
Solutions, briefly described here. For continuous trending of on-line data dedicated curve fitting
methods might be required, specific for that particular technique. Such specific processing
software is not treated here, as it mostly contains specific sections dealing with systematic errors
(like temperature compensation), after which a certain form of trending analysis is applied.
Judging the performance of such a processing approach is a dedicated job that requires
knowledge of all aspects of the system as well as the application.

The simple statistical model to assess a data point is valid for all techniques that measure some
form of wall loss, such as ultrasonics, PEC, FSM, but also electrical resistance probes (including
Cormons CEION probes).

The following terms are frequently used:

Accuracy: Typically used for the error in the actual value measured and related to the
standard deviation of the measuring technique, applied to e.g. a wall thickness,
pH, O2-concentration, etc.
Sensitivity: Used to indicate the threshold of a system to detect a change in a measured
parameter, which can be a wall thickness, a corrosion rate, change in pH or
Response time: The time within which a change in the corrosion rate is detected, with a specified
confidence level.

1. Accuracy to measure a corrosion parameter (like wall thickness)

Any measuring system, whether for measuring wall loss or indirect corrosion parameters, will
show a variation of the measured value around the actual value, resulting in a measurement

The magnitude of this error becomes visible when we would repeat the measurement: the
measured values will scatter around the actual value and will show, in many cases, a probability
distribution (often a normal distribution) with a typical mean value and a spread, the latter
described by the standard deviation () of the normal distribution (also termed WT, to distinguish
it from the standard deviation on the measured corrosion rate, CR).
OG.02.20773 - 82 - CONFIDENTIAL

For our purpose the question is the other way around: if we know the performance of the
measuring system, the question is how well the measured value is a correct estimate of the actual
value. As shown in Figure 2-1, we can draw the probability distribution around the measured
value and define a so-called error band of, for instance, + wide. Related to this error band is
a probability that the actual value falls within the band; for a + wide error band this probability
is 68 %, for a +2 wide band this probability is 95 %.

WT value:

WTo = actual
wall thickness

Width =
2 x standard

Figure 2-1
The measuring error of a technique shows up when many measurements are made: the measured
values spread around the actual value in a normal distribution. This distribution is characterised
by a mean value and a spread, defined by its standard deviation

A method to increase the accuracy of a measurement is to average a number of measurements:

averaging N measurements, each with a (random) error of dWTo, will result in an error of
dWTo/(N) in the average value. So by taking 9 measurements the error improves with a factor
of 3.

2. Measuring the corrosion rate

Although monitoring is basically a measurement of a change in the wall thickness (measuring
a change in mm), in corrosion control design it is more practical to relate this change to
a corrosion rate (in mm/year) and to specify systems by their capability to detect a certain
corrosion rate.

If we want to measure the corrosion rate we have to measure wall loss over a certain time interval
(in units of, say, mm/year), as shown in Figure 2-2.
OG.02.20773 - 83 - CONFIDENTIAL


* WT2
* CR


WT2 - WT1
Corrosion rate: CR = ---------------------

Figure 2-2
To measure the corrosion rate requires at least two wall thickness readings, taken at different

Wall loss is the difference of two wall thickness measurements, which are both subject to the
measurement uncertainty. The resulting error in the corrosion rate (CR) is mainly dependent on
errors in the wall thickness measurement, as errors in the measurement time can mostly be
neglected. However, the time interval between the measurements plays a major role: the larger
the interval, the lower the error in the corrosion rate, despite the same basic accuracy of the
technique used, as is depicted in Figure 2-3.

WT2 dWTo
* *

(a) short interval TIME


* WT2

dT12 * CR

(b) long interval TIME

2 dWTo
2 measurement points: dCR = ---------------------

Figure 2-3
The error in the corrosion rate measurement (CR) is determined by the error in the wall thickness
measurement and the length of the time interval. Increasing the time interval is a most effective
means to reduce the error in the corrosion rate.
OG.02.20773 - 84 - CONFIDENTIAL

3. Sensitivity to detect the onset of corrosion

Scope of use: We anticipate active monitoring of a corrosion process (for some purpose) with the
aim to detect the instant that the corrosion rate increases, detected at the shortest possible
response time.

(The response time is relevant, for instance when controlling and/or monitoring inhibition
effectiveness, also, to correlate corrosion events with - short term - operational events. On the
other hand, if the corrosion monitoring system would be used for reviewing the amount of
corrosion then the sensitivity and accuracy might be the more important property.)

The sensitivity is defined as a threshold at which a certain corrosion rate can be discerned.
Related to this sensitivity are two other important properties: the response time required and the
confidence level we achieve when a change is observed above the defined threshold level. The
relation is explained below.

In Figure 2-4 a (simulated) data set of measured wall loss (top lines in blue) is shown,
representing steady wall loss (dotted line) setting in after a period of nil corrosion. The measured
data points have random measurement errors, represented by a band of +/- one standard
deviation () around the actual wall thickness.

When the corrosion increases it takes some time before the increased wall loss is discernible from
the random variations.
We define the basic response time of a technique by the time required to develop a wall loss
that exceeds a defined error band.
For the purpose of comparing corrosion monitoring techniques the error band chosen for the
basic response time is CR = 2*WT (standard deviation).
N.B.1: The factor 2 is to normalise on the error in corrosion rate, not the error in wall thickness.
This factor has (arbitrarily) been chosen to allow comparison of techniques, as some
manufacturers of systems seem to use this definition to specify their systems sensitivity, whereas
others prefer to specify the error in the measurement of the wall thickness.

N.B.2: It is noted that for field applications an error band of 2 or more would be more
appropriate (to enhance the confidence that a detected increase in the corrosion rate is real, see
discussion below); however, a 1 error band is used by most manufacturers of systems (obviously
a small error band presents the system more favourably).

The basic error of CR = 2*WT results in an upper error bound giving a confidence level of 82 %
that the actual corrosion rate will be lower than the measured value.

In practice a user of the data might have to use a more conservative upper error bound before he
accepts that a high corrosion rate is regarded real, if the effect of a false call is expensive
(cf. initiating expensive remedial action). By using a threshold that is 2x or 3x larger than the
basic error (from 1CR to 2CR or 3CR) one reduces the probability of a false call (creating
an upper bound confidence level of 97.7 %, viz. 99.9 %).
OG.02.20773 - 85 - CONFIDENTIAL

WT loss CR

Error band

Response time

Actual wall thickness
Measured wall thickness
Sensitivity threshold for one standard deviation

Figure 2-4
From wall loss measurements (solid blue line) a change in wall loss can be noticed. The basic
sensitivity-response of a technique is derived by determining the point where the actual corrosion
curve has increased by one standard deviation

Next it is shown what the trade-off is between the response time and the error in the measured
corrosion rate, for a 2-point monitoring procedure (i.e. deriving the short term corrosion rate).

From the wall loss data points a corrosion rate is calculated (by using 2 consecutive data points),
as plotted in green in Figure 2-5. With a relatively short measuring interval a wide scatter band
might result (shown as the shaded green area). In this example this error is so large compared to
the change in corrosion rate that has to be detected (shift in dashed green line) that it is not
possible to reliably determine the change in the corrosion rate.
OG.02.20773 - 86 - CONFIDENTIAL

WT loss CR


* * *
corrosion rate based on 2 points

Actual wall thickness
Measured wall thickness
Actual corrosion rate
Measured corrosion rate (based on 2 WT-points)
Sensitivity threshold at one and two standard deviations

Figure 2-5
From wall loss measurements (solid blue line) the short-term corrosion rate can be derived using
two data points

To improve the sensitivity of this system one could determine the corrosion rate over a longer time
interval. As an example, shown in Figure 2-6, every 4th data point is used to determine the
corrosion rate. This reduces the variation in the corrosion rate, but it delays the information, and
thus reduces the response time.

There are numerous other methods to determine the corrosion rate over a number of data points:
one could chose a group of wall thickness data points, say four consecutive points, and determine
the average, fit the corrosion rate on the four points, or using any kind of running average filter.
OG.02.20773 - 87 - CONFIDENTIAL

WT loss CR

* *
* *
corrosion rate based on 4 points

Actual wall thickness TIME

Measured wall thickness
Actual corrosion rate
Measured corrosion rate (based on 4 WT-points)
Sensitivity threshold at one standard deviation

Figure 2-6
An increased sensitivity can be derived from the same wall loss data by deriving the corrosion
rate over mere than 2 points. The penalty is a delay in information, cf. a longer response time

The relation between sensitivity and response time is a simple 1/T relation, shown in
Figure 2-7(a). To be able to display this over a large range the same relation can better be
displayed in a log-log plot, as in Figure 2-7(b). In a log-log plot the sensitivity-response
(S-R)-curves become straight lines, running down along the diagonal (because of the
OG.02.20773 - 88 - CONFIDENTIAL

S - R- Curve
for 2-point measurement
Sensitivity - response relation
(linear plot)

CR Sensitivity (mm/year)


80 2-point measurement @
0.1% accuracy on 10 mm
60 WT








Tim e Interval (days)

Sensitivity - response relation
(log-log plot)
CR Sensitivity (mm/year)


10 2-point measurement @
0.1% accuracy on 10 mm
1 WT


0.01 0.10 1.00 10.00 100.00 1000.00
Tim e Interval (days )

Figure 2-7
Relation between sensitivity and response time (S-R-curve); the sensitivity improves for longer time
intervals. In (a) the sensitivity is plotted on a linear scale as a function of response time, but that
shows only a part of the working range of the monitoring system. In (b) the same S-R-curve is
plotted on a log-log scale, displaying the full range.
OG.02.20773 - 89 - CONFIDENTIAL

Response times of corrosion monitoring systems vary over many orders of magnitude; a fast
CEION electrical resistance probe specifies 0.02 mm/y corrosion rate measured in 12 minutes,
while an intelligent pig measurement would only pick that up over nearly a 100 years interval
(6 orders of magnitude difference). The curves relating sensitivity versus response time of a large
number of monitoring systems are displayed in log-log plot in Appendix 1.

4. Prediction with the Trending Software Tool

As shown in the above section, the analysis of corrosion monitoring data requires the user to
specify properties such as the threshold corrosion rate to be detected, the response time, as well
as the confidence level related to detection threshold for the corrosion rate. All these properties
are interrelated. Moreover, a user has to give attention to variations and errors that are not the
result of only random measurement errors, such as operator errors (errors in kind resulting in
outliers), or changes not related to corrosion.

Shell Global Solutions has developed a software tool to support the user with assessing the trend
in wall loss data as measured with manual ultrasonics (typically key point data).

The Trending Software Tool (TST) is a computer model that, based on a series of wall thickness
measurements in time, predicts the corrosion rate and the wall thickness at a future moment in
time. It also gives an indication of the remnant life of the pipeline, vessel or other structure and
detects anomalies in the trend and/or measurements.

The main model (1) implemented in TST is a dynamic linear growth model, i.e. the parameters of
the model, the level and the slope, are allowed to vary slowly in time. Furthermore three
alternative models have been implemented, to cope with discontinuities (anomalies) in the data
Model 2, representing a wrong measurement (outlier);
Model 3, representing a sudden change in level;
Model 4, representing a sudden change in slope (change in corrosion rate).
These different models are illustrated in Figure 2-8. Each time a new observation is available the
likelihood of all 4 models are updated and a new prediction is generated, which is a weighted
average of the individual forecasts. When the posterior probabilities of (one of) the alternative
models is high, a warning signal is generated. Thus, the user will be warned when a wrong
measurement, a change in level, or a change in slope has been detected. This detection makes
the program very suitable for analysis of corrosion monitoring data.
OG.02.20773 - 90 - CONFIDENTIAL

Model 1 - Linear Model 2 - Outlier

mm mm

time time
Model 3 - Change in level Model 4 - Change in slope
mm mm

time time
Figure 2-8 Models used in the multi-process dynamic linear model

TST also calculates the errorband for the different predictions. This errorband depends on
measurement error, uncertainty in the model and the (user specified) confidence level. A more
accurate estimate of the corrosion rate can be accomplished by reducing the measurement error,
by increasing the sample size and by increasing the spread of the measurements in time. Within
TST it is possible to incorporate subjective knowledge, e.g. prior estimates, bounds on
parameters, changes in the process, etc.

5. Stability of a monitoring system

Apart from limitations on short time scales, a monitoring system can be limited to measure
accurately over long time scales, because of limited stability of the system. Stability in this sense is
the change in the wall thickness- or corrosion rate reading as a result of changes in the
measuring system (drift). This might be the result of deterioration of the sensor, ageing of the
electronics, etc. Figure 2-9 shows that for corrosion systems with a significant corrosion rate (say
more than 0.1 to 1 mm/y) a stability of 1 % per year or better is sufficient. However, one has to
realise that such a level of stability is not good enough, and more stable systems have to be
looked for, if one wants to demonstrate the absence of corrosion at levels below ,say, 0.5 mm/y.
OG.02.20773 - 91 - CONFIDENTIAL

S - R curve
compared with stability

CR Sensitivity (mm/year)

10.000 2-point measurement @

0.1% accuracy on 10 mm
1.000 WT
0.100 Maximum apparent CR for
a stability of 1%/year
0.010 @10mm WT

0.01 0.10 1.00 10.00 100.00 1000.0
Tim e Interval (days)

Figure 2-9
Effect of long term stability on sensitivity. The stability of 1 % per year would produce an apparent
corrosion rate of 0.1mm/y after a year, or proportionally less for shorter intervals. The crossing
of lines shows that only after 150 days this system would start to suffer from lack of stability.

6. Sensitivity requirements for actual applications

When designing requirements for a corrosion monitoring system a user has to define several
parameters of the system. As these are related and as some might be fixed (e.g. being the design
intent, or because of system limitations) an iterative process might be required to find an optimum
system design.

The following is a short guideline through the design of requirements for the sensitivity and
response time.

Say one wants the following properties of a corrosion monitoring system:

1(a) To flag a first warning if the corrosion rate reaches a level of more than 10 mm/year during
more than 1 days (as this indicates loss of inhibition, to be followed up with preparations to
send an operator to the platform to remedy the inhibition system);
1(b) The system should also give a reliable warning within 3 days when the corrosion exceeds
10 mm/y. After 3 days without remedial action the line will be shut down;
2 For verification purposes, to demonstrate that the cumulative corrosion within any 3 months
is not exceeding 0.25 mm (which equals 1 mm/y).
These so-called working points are displayed in the graph below, together with a typical S-R-
curve for a system with a sensitivity of 1 ppt (0.1 %) on a 10 mm wall thickness at 1 standard
deviation (red curve) as well as the S-R curves for 2 and 3 standard deviations (green, viz. purple
OG.02.20773 - 92 - CONFIDENTIAL

Sensitivity - Response time Application Windows


CR-Sensitivity (mm/year)

Basic S-R-curve 1 ppt @ 2 st.dev's.

1.000 Basic S-R-curve 1 ppt @ 1 st.dev.
Basic S-R-curve 1 ppt @ 3 st.dev's.
0.100 10 mm/y in 1 day
10 mm/y in 3 days
0.010 not exceeding 0.25 mm in 3 months


0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000
Response Time (hours)

Figure 2-10
Requirements for corrosion monitoring displayed in a S-R-diagram. The dots are required
working points for the CM system, the lines are related to the S-R-curve of a system with a 1 ppt
sensitivity on a 10 mm wall thickness, with a confidence band of 1, 2 and 3 standard deviations.
Note that the lines are not equi-distant on the log-log scale

Evaluation of suitability of the 1ppt-CM system:

Below an assessment is made of a CM system with a 1 ppt S-R-curve, against the requirements
stated above:

Re item 1(a): The red point indicates that the system is fast and sensitive enough to sense the
change within 1 day. As it lies close to the 3- line the chance of a false call will be
in the order of 1 % (i.e. every 100 days on average a preparation for an offshore
trip will be initiated);

Re item 1(b): The blue point indicates the system can detect this corrosion rate with a very high
confidence (over 4-); this means that the chance of shutting down the line is
comparably low. Actually, the real system will develop a trend over the 3 days
which allows building up confidence in the data even more;

Re item 2: The green point is well above the S-R curves, indicating that the system is more than
able to provide the evidence of corrosion wall loss less than 0.25 mm.

7. Sensitivity-Response curve for coupons

The measurement of the corrosion rate with a coupon is based on measuring the weight loss over
a period of time. This is interpreted as the result of a uniform corrosion rate at the surface of the
coupon. The basic formula (as used in Appendix 6) is derived below; this shows that it is an
approximation of the exact formula.

The coupon is defined as a strip with the following dimensions:

L = length
B = width
T = thickness
This gives the coupon a volume V of:
And a surface area S of:
S = 2 x (l x b + b x t + l x h)
OG.02.20773 - 93 - CONFIDENTIAL

And a weight W:
W = (l x b x t) x Rho
Where Rho = density of the metal. For carbon steel the density is 7.85 x 10-3 gr / mm3
If we assume that the corrosion rate CR acts over an interval T and that it corrodes uniformly, the
following formula for the corrosion rate can be derived:

CR = dW / (S x T x Rho)

The sensitivity of the corrosion rate measurement is dependent on the errors that occur in the
measurement: The main error is due to the weight measurement, notably the second one after
corrosion has occurred: corrosion products have to be removed but not so aggressive that coupon
material is removed. For an industrial application it has been assumed that the
weighing/cleaning error for a 50 grams coupon is in the order of 0.05 grams (50 milligrams),
although an analytical balance could produce a reading of 0.1 milligram. This constitutes an
accuracy of 0.1 %. For a large coupon (order 1000 grams, e.g. used in tankers) a
weighing/cleaning error of 1 gr. (also 1 %) has been assumed.

It appears that errors due to uncertainties in the surface area and the density of the coupon can
normally be neglected. In fact, these errors become more prominent when the coupon is exposed
to a relatively high corrosion rate; if the actual corrosion rate would be 100x the detection
sensitivity of the coupon (i.e. the sensitivity in mm/y as read from the S-R-curve) then this error
would become equal to the weighing error, and would make the sensitivity 2x worse.

It is stressed that the sensitivities derived upon above are in fact the best achievable performance
for a coupon, under the assumption that the corrosion wall loss on the coupon is even and
represents the corrosion rate on the wall of the vessel or pipe. Reference is made to standards for
an overview of possible disturbing influences.

1. J.F.M. van Roij, Corrosion Monitoring Guidelines, OP.01.20333

2. "CEION Technology High Resolution Metal Loss in Hydrocarbon Service",

B.J. Hemblade e.a., Cormon Ltd, UK

Administration & Distribution list

Report number OG.02.20773
CTR/Project no. 43305124
Budget Code 500.15.000
Field Exploration and Production
Mascot no. 43305124
Sponsor Shell International Exploration and Production B.V., Rijswijk
Title Corrosion monitoring in oil and gas production
Author(s) M.J.J. Simon Thomas, S. Terpstra, J.F.M. van Roij
Approver/Reviewer G.E. Kerkveld
Keywords corrosion monitoring, pipelines, facilities, wall loss
Restrictions on
Additional Distribution Additional copies can be requested from the library specified in the primary distribution.
Please note that permission from the owner may be required for these additional copies.
Issue date February 2003
Electronic file 0220773.pdf

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