Large-scale onshore oil and gas processing facilities typically include a wide range of equipment (pipelines, tanks, in-plant piping etc.) that are potentially exposed to soil-side corrosion, and this threat is usually mitigated by a combination of external coatings and cathodic protection. The status of the cathodic protection is then monitored using a variety of routine measurements, the results of which are then checked against industry standard requirements and reported as key performance indicators for the effectiveness of the corrosion mitigations. It is also possible to estimate the soil-side corrosion rate of the at-risk equipment using corrosion models which can be used as the basis for future inspection and maintenance planning. The Virtual Corrosion Engineer (VCE) project automates the handling, analysis, and visualization of the monitoring data and presents real time Key Performance Indicators and Corrosion Rate predictions in an interactive web-based dashboard.

This paper provides an overview of the VCE system for analysis of Cathodic Protection monitoring data and predictions of soil-side corrosion rates. This includes automating the ingestion of the data, generation of the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and creation of real-time corrosion rate predictions. This paper describes some of the challenges and solutions from this project, as well as comparison of the model corrosion rate estimates against design expectations and inspection results.


Corrosion is a ubiquitous phenomenon, which can have massive impacts on the functioning of industrial assets. The threat of corrosion is exacerbated in situations where regular corrosion inspections are difficult. The Virtual Corrosion Engineer (VCE) Project within Shell(1) is intended to offer a solution to this problem by automatically assessing the corrosion rates and threat levels in assets due to a variety of corrosion mechanisms. The VCE system has been deployed in an asset progressively since 2019. In this paper, we present the VCE approach to predict and manage the damage caused by the mechanism of soil corrosion in a large-scale industrial asset. In the sections below, we shall provide a high-level overview of the VCE project and the VCE approach for estimating soil corrosion damage.

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