For many years, pipeline safety regulations in the US have defined prescriptive minimum requirements for integrity management combined with a clear expectation that operators should do more than the minimum where appropriate. The regulations have also provided operators with the flexibility to take a performance based integrity management approach leveraging as much information available to manage threats effectively. One the threats that must be managed is Selective Seam Weld Corrosion (SSWC). SSWC is an environmentally assisted mechanism in which there is increased degree of metal loss in the longitudinal weld in comparison to the surrounding pipe body. An appropriate definition is linear corrosion that is deeper in the longitudinal weld zone than the surrounding pipe body. In some cases, the surrounding pipe body may have limited or no corrosion present, and in other cases the pipe body corrosion may have occurred but at a slower rate than the local corrosion in the longitudinal weld zone. Conventional responses to potential or identified threats focus on in-situ investigations, often resulting in expensive and un-planned repairs for features reported by In-line Inspection (ILI) that when assessed properly demonstrate a remnant life well into the next inspection interval. When ILI identifies metal loss indications co-located with the longitudinal seam weld, the current prescribed response is often a blanket call for remediation. Such a response may not be appropriate if an ILI system is deployed to discriminate feature types and integrity assessment is exercised leveraging a sound understanding of the pipe’s material properties. This paper describes an approach that can be taken to manage the threat of SSWC. The foundation of the approach is deployment of an appropriate ILI system incorporating an effective ILI technology, an optimized evaluation process considering the specific threat morphology, material testing and a structured dig program. The evaluation process uses the ILI data and data from the field in combination material properties data and a susceptibility analysis to classify anomalies as “Likely”, “Possible” and “Unlikely” SSWC. This is aligned with the guidance in API RP 1176 “Assessment and Management of Cracking in Pipelines” for defining an appropriate response to ILI calls. Approaching the management of SSWC in this way allows operators to define a structured response for excavation activities to verify the process and remediate features as required. By using likelihood classification the risk to pipeline integrity can be reduced by acting on the most likely SSWC features as a priority, whilst collecting the data needed to make informed decisions on where to focus resources and efforts on what is a very complicated and difficult to manage threat. The output form this work, including a future plan for managing the remaining metal loss features, can be documented in a procedure and incorporated into an existing Integrity Management Plan.

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