Microbial-Influenced-Corrosion-Related Coiled-Tubing Failures and Equipment Damage
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- June 2015
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 82 - 84
- 2015. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 120 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 173658, “Microbial-Influenced-Corrosion-Related Coiled-Tubing Failures and Equipment Damage,” by Scott Sherman, SPE, Duane Brownlee, SPE, and Sarkis Kakadjian, SPE, Trican Well Service, prepared for the 2014 SPE Coiled Tubing and Well Intervention Conference and Exhibition, The Woodlands, Texas, USA, 24–25 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Microbial-influenced corrosion (MIC) has been implicated in few corrosion-related challenges in the well-service industry in the past. Recently, however, the industry is observing an increase of MIC-related equipment damage. This upsurge of MIC coincides with a switch to unconventional water sources, including recycled water. This paper is an overview of premature coiled-tubing and other-well-servicing-equipment failures and pumping-equipment damage related to MIC.
Recycled fracturing water has been found to contain high levels of bacteria, typically on the order of 106–109 colony-forming units (CFU) per mL. The bacteria can originate from essentially anywhere in the water-handling system: the water source, transportation, storage, pumps, or downhole. Tanks and pits used for storage of flowback water are ideal habitats for bacteria; typically, these are sessile environments; the water temperature is commonly 15–35°C; and organic compounds found in the water such as oil carryover, surfactants, or polymers can be ideal carbon and energy sources for many microbial species. Higher-than-normal bacteria populations and clear evidence of MIC have been identified from flowback water in the Eagle Ford, Marcellus, Haynesville, and Horne River shale plays.
Microbes do not have a significant impact on general metal corrosion. MIC, on the other hand, is localized. This is because microbes tend to locate themselves in out-of-the-way locations such as cracks and pits or under scale or other deposits, presumably because these places are less affected by the flow of passing fluids. Once one or more species have attached themselves to a surface, many more species follow suit. It is through this process that a biofilm is built. MIC occurs where the biofilm and the metal come into contact. Probably the most notorious and widely studied of the microbes implicit in MIC are sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and acid-producing bacteria, although iron-oxidizing bacteria, sulfate-reducing archaea, thiosulfate- reducing bacteria, nitrate-reducing bacteria, and methanogenic archaea are also known to be involved.
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