The annual cost of steel corrosion is estimated to be $2,500 billon across the globe (Small).
Sulphate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) is one of the most implicated Bacteria in internal corrosion failures worldwide. Currently the method for controlling Sulphate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) by the International Oil and Gas Companies (IOCs) to mitigate the risk of Microbiological Induced Corrosion (MIC) on their wet treated or untreated crude oil transmission pipelines or tanks is by either batch treatment or slug treatment by injecting biocide between two pigs or direct injection through quill in the absence of online facilities for launching multiple pigs simultaneously.
The international best practise for the control of SRB is to kill the bacteria in-situ and prevent the contamination of downstream equipment and piping. To increase killing effectiveness and prevent resistant strains of SRB from been developed, biocides are alternated based on planned treatment frequency determine by the corrosion engineer or corrosion consultant that developed the programme. Time to kill test is conducted in the field to determine the concentration and time to kill the planktonic bacteria, however, determining the time to kill for sessile SRB is often difficult to achieve except slug between two pigs is utilised to create maximum contact with SRB in-situ.
Other parameters to be considered when developing a biocide treatment program are the historical data of the pipeline, the mixed flow velocity, Gas Oil Ratio (GOR), Water Cut (Base Sediment) and Water (BS&W), Pipeline topography, pipeline significance factor, maximum pitting rate, maximum uniform corrosion rate and historical leak history.
The method of assessing the risk due to SRB for static equipment (tanks or pipelines) varies from company to company and there is no universally acceptable standard on what to consider as bench mark for best and effective treatment. In addition, the kind of SRB (Sessile or Planktonic) to be monitored in-situ has also been debated by industry stake holders and corrosion practitioners. Whilst some operators monitor only planktonic in water phase, others monitor sessile growth via installed bio-probes and planktonic from oil field water sample microbiological analysis.
This paper present current practise, identify the gaps in the practise and propose risk based approach to SRB characterization to enhance biocide treatment effectiveness and monitoring. It is the intention of the authors to spur a debate that will lead to the development of best practise in biocide treatment strategy by the International Oil and Gas Companies (IOCs). The authors are of the opinion that improving treatment strategy with SRB characterization using risk based approach will result in efficiency of treatment in addition to substantial cost optimisation to the tune of 20% OPEX and 25% CAPEX.