This study presents an investigation of the on-site corrosion of carbon steel pipes with stainless steel mesh screens in a steam flood well in the Athabasca oil sand reservoirs to determine the failure patterns and mechanisms. To mitigate the corrosion of carbon steel, several candidate materials were selected, and their corrosion resistance was investigated.

In this work, the corrosion behavior and film characteristics of carbon steel pipes were studied by surface analysis techniques such as scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spetrocsopy and X-ray diffraction. Corrosion resistant alloys (proRSf and proRSc), anti-corrosion coating (proRA05a) and pre-treated steel (proRAQa) were considered as alternative materials to carbon steel (proRAa and proRAb) and their corrosion protection performance in brine solution was evaluated by electrochemical methods such as potentiodynamic sweep and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.

Results show that severe erosion-corrosion occurred on inner wall of the pipes and caused significant wall-thinning of pipes along with localized corrosion damages, which is the dominant reason for base pipe failure. In spite of the slight corrosion on outer wall of the base pipe, severe localized corrosion appeared at the interface between the carbon steel pipe and stainless steel mesh screens due to the galvanic corrosion effect of dissimilar metals. The corrosion rates of the corrosion-resistant materials were two or three orders of magnitude lower than that of carbon steel. The corrosion resistance ranking order is proRSc > proRSf > proRA05a > proRAQa > proRAa > proRAb.

This study improves the material selection procedure in thermal operations by investigating several alternatives to carbon steel. It also provides a testing procedure to assess the corrosion resistance of the material in thermal applications.

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