Many LNG and gas production facilities depend on sweater cooling as a cooling media in its processes. Seawater cooled heat exchangers represent the back bone to achieve the required operations performance. Copper based alloys are the classical material of construction for sweater cooling heat exchangers. Al-Brass, Cu/Ni 70/30 and 90/10 are all copper alloys famous for being used in seawater cooling heat exchanger tube bundles. However, copper based alloys are prone to numerous degradation mechanisms. This paper shares ADGAS’ long term experience with copper nickel heat exchangers in sweater.

The study includes the operations and inspection history of over 100 copper based alloy heat exchangers. It provides the gas and LNG industry with a wealth of information in terms of the observed damage mechanisms, failure history, performance in addition to the operating parameters affecting the integrity of copper based heat exchangers.

The paper would conclude the best performance parameters of these heat exchangers and would provide useful information to establish the optimum integrity operating window for the copper based heat exchangers. The paper would include the performance of all used copper based alloys in terms of Al-Brass, Cu/Ni 70/30 and Cu/Ni 90/10. It will also compare the economics of using copper based alloys versus the use of other materials of construction in the same application like titanium and 6 Moly super austenitic stainless steel alloys.

Little information is available on the long term performance of copper based heat exchangers in the Gulf region waters. Furthermore, it will be an opportunity based on this long service life of 38 years to confirm the published academic literature on the performance of these heat exchangers. The paper shall hence represent a very useful tool for the materials selection in Gulf water cooled heat exchangers.

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