American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.


Heat treating facilities at the Tube Division of The Algoma Steel Corporation, Limited make use of a novel water quenching process which has made possible development process which has made possible development of the highest strength levels of tubular products currently available for use in products currently available for use in hydrogen sulphide environments.

Development of the quenching process, the present state of product development, and present state of product development, and research toward production of even higher strength levels, will be reviewed.

In hydrogen sulphide environments, high strength steel products are known to be susceptible to sulphide stress cracking. This phenomenon is generally believed to be caused when hydrogen atoms, evolved on the metal surface by a corrosion reaction, tend to enter the metal in the presence of hydrogen sulphide. This atomic hydrogen trapped in steels drastically reduces the ductility and causes the steel to crack. As H2S is often one of the components found in oil fields and as oil drilling activity has steadily been forced to regions requiring deeper wells, the demand for high strength H2S resistant tubular products has also been increasing.

Casing and Tubing Grade C-75 produced by using normalized and tempered steels to meet A.P.I. Standard 5AC was the first grade to be used for this application. There is now, however, much evidence from laboratory and field testing showing that a quenched and tempered martensitic microstructure is much superior in resisting H2S attack than the normalized and tempered-microstructure. Normalizing produces a mixed grain structure depending on the composition of the steel and the cooling rate. Quenching from the austentizing temperature produces martensite, a form which is under stress.

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