- Provided materials engineering consulting in a legal matter that
involved failure of gas turbine blades.
- Reviewed currently installed equipment material and associated
corrosion performance at a refinery. The refinery planned to
switch their crude feed from what had typically been run to one with
variable and potentially higher TAN and sulfur content, and desired to
understand the potential impact ahead of time. Concluded that
increased corrosion could be expected in particular units, and
recommendations were made for increased sampling and corrosion
- Conducted an evaluation of the need for a program of Positive
Materials Identification (PMI) on existing refinery facilities, and
developed a program of PMI for new equipment and maintenance
activities. Materials of construction for the units were
reviewed and equipment that should be subject to PMI was identified.
The study identified two types of equipment where PMI is recommended:
equipment where alloy is specified and installed, and carbon steel
equipment where low Si grades of carbon steel may suffer increased
- Provided materials/corrosion engineering support for an Alaska
North Slope production facility. Work involved review of
inspection data provided by others, and provided recommendations
regarding corrosion rate and mitigation plans, planned inspection
locations, minimum required pipe thicknesses, remaining life
- Provided essentially full time onsite materials/corrosion
engineering support for a major US East Coast refinery.
- An assessment of a 20 inch pipeline transporting raw gas was made
in accordance with ASME B31.8S and using a risk-based methodology. The
objective was to determine if a change in gas composition would have
an impact on anticipated internal corrosion or black powder formation.
It was concluded that there was no significant difference in risk
associated with the change in gas composition. However, various
methods to reduce the risk of excessive corrosion or black powder
formation were identified (a regular program of chemical treatment on
a batch basis) for client consideration.
- Completed an evaluation of a prototype piece of equipment from a
materials and equipment operational point of view for a Canadian
- Consulted on numerous refractory related issues in both fluidized
cat crackers (FCC’s) and sulfur plants (SRU’s) continued since the
last newsletter issue. In addition to normal evaluations and
consulting of the refractory systems, three US refineries were also
assisted by providing laboratory testing and analysis of their
refractory samples (bricks and lining) to provide an insight into the
maintenance requirements for their units.
- Corrosion Mitigation Guidelines were developed for a domestic oil
company for their FCC units and crude units at multiple locations. The
work involved complete investigation of the plant inspection reports
and plant geometry to determine the state of corrosion in various
process areas of the plant in detail.
- Materials Operating Envelopes (MOE’s) were developed for the FCCU,
HF Alkylation Unit, and Sulfur Recovery Unit located at a US refinery.
An MOE defines key parameters which, when monitored and/or controlled
within a defined set of limits, will assist in maintaining a unit’s
reliability. The refinery’s current monitoring and inspection programs
were reviewed, and recommendations were made which, when followed,
will improve the overall mechanical reliability of the units.
- Materials selection recommendations were made for the major
equipment and piping systems of a new process that is being developed
by a startup company. Due to the nature of the process environment,
high alloy materials of various types were recommended. Because of
some remaining uncertainties with respect to materials performance in
the process operating environment, a materials testing program was
recommended and implemented to obtain materials performance data.
- Onsite audit was made of the atmospheric and vacuum distillation
units of an overseas refinery to assess the actions needed to permit
the processing of increased amounts of High Acid Crude (HAC).
Concluded that this could be done by raising feed TAN in small
increments, accompanied by selected use of naphthenic acid corrosion
inhibitor. Suggested guidelines on feed TAN and injection point
locations were developed.
- Performed a Cold Eyes Review of the current inspection program and
strategy being used at a major US refinery for its adequacy
considering current industry practices, equipment maintenance, and
piping system reliability. Our report identified areas of strength,
concern, and opportunities for improvement, with discussion provided
for each of these areas. The refinery staff is following-up on
implementing these recommendations.
- Performed a materials engineering audit of the atmospheric and
vacuum pipestill units at a major refinery to determine actions
required to permit the processing of increased amounts of High Acid
Crude (HAC). The audit concluded that processing a higher TAN feed was
practical and could best be accomplished by raising the feed TAN in
small increments accompanied by selective use of corrosion inhibitor.
Guidelines on feed TAN and inhibitor injection locations were
- Performed review of inspection data for piping and equipment items
of a crude oil production facility located in Alaska. Summary reports
with recommendations based on the data are provided to the Owner
- Provided materials engineering assistance to a US refiner during a
failure analysis of a critical refinery gas turbine. The services
included a thorough investigation of the work being carried out by the
manufacturer of the turbine in analyzing potential causes of failure.
- Provided materials engineering consulting advice regarding a waste
heat boiler tube failure problem for a domestic refiner.
- Provided materials selection recommendations for biofuels projects
being undertaken by two different clients.
- Provided mechanical and materials engineering support with respect
to an aboveground atmospheric storage tank whose bottom had
experienced severe underside corrosion and leaks multiple times after
relatively short periods of operation and required major repairs.
Developed a mechanical design specification for a replacement bottom
that featured a double bottom design, cathodic protection, leak
detection system, secondary containment, and mechanical design and
installation features or proven reliable design.
- Provided metallurgical expert advice to a US client for repairs to
fixed mechanical equipment.
- Provided third-party, materials engineering review of fire damage
assessment performed for equipment located in a Hydrocracker unit.
Further materials and mechanical engineering work is anticipated.
- Providing materials engineering analytical chemistry support to
chemical/corrosion inhibitor vendor for a client intending to process
high acid crudes.
- Provided ongoing materials engineering support to a major,
integrated oil company. Current activities primarily involve helping
to develop appropriate inspection plans for identified process units
at a domestic refinery. Have also provided comments to update their
pipeline coating practices.
- Provided ongoing materials engineering support to companies that
are engaged in developing biofuels processes.
- Reviewed and commented on the pipeline coating document of a major
integrated oil company. Recommended that consideration be given to
replacing this relatively large document with a short
tutorial/guidance document, and just maintain individual engineering
specifications for specific coating systems.
- Provided analytical chemistry and materials engineering support to
a corrosion inhibitor vendor for a client intending to process high
- Positive Material Identification (PMI) Manuals were developed for
a West Coast refiner. The PMI Manual describes the procedures and
methods to be employed for positive identification of the material
supplied by the manufacturer (of the pressure vessel, for example) for
consistency with what was specified in the purchase order. Also,
corrosion mitigation manuals were developed for key process units at
the same location.