BSI publishes new pipeline corrosion testing guidelines

The British Standards Institute has published new regulations for corrosion testing for pipelines used in the oil and gas industry, the company announced in a press release. The standard, BS 8701, calls for a "full ring ovalization test for determining the susceptibility to cracking of line pipe steels in sour service," enabling the measurement of corrosion and environmentally assisted cracking of pipelines.

Corrosion can be classified as sweet or sour, both of which regularly occur in pipelines, according to Energy Global. When assessing for corrosion, inspectors must first establish parameters to determine the purpose of the pipeline and the environmental factors influencing it within and without. BS 8701 significantly rectifies the outdated existing guidelines for testing in sour environments.

The new standard recommends testing a full ring specimen of a pipeline with a sour environment by applying stress levels at two regions of pipes under review. Inspectors can ultrasonically monitor crack initiation and propagation during and after exposure to the sour solution. Any defects detected by the survey can then be classified by a post-test metallographic study.

"Having a test method such as BS 8701 in place allows the correct tests for identifying the damaging levels of corrosive hydrogen sulphide gas, to be carried out," David Fatscher, head of market development for sustainability and energy at BSI, said in the press release. "It can act as an early warning system that offers reassurance that everything is being done to safeguard the environment."

Safe transportation of petroleum and gas is a key concern for the industry. America plays host to over 2.5 million miles of pipelines which suffer hundreds of leaks and ruptures every year, ProPublica reported. Since 1986, pipeline accidents have killed more than 500 people, injured over 4,000 and cost nearly $7 billion in property damage. Nearly 20 percent of these incidents were caused by corrosion.