Pipeline Integrity Courses
Calgary 2017

Managing Cracks and Seam Weld Anomalies on Pipelines
September 13-14

Crack-related excerpts from the Code of Federal Regulations and PHMSA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on new safety regulations for natural gas transmission pipelines

§ 192.624 Maximum allowable operating pressure verification: Onshore steel transmission pipelines.

(d) Fracture mechanics modeling for failure stress and crack growth analysis.

  1. If the operator has reason to believe any pipeline segment contains or may be susceptible to cracks or crack-like defects due to assessment, leak, failure, or manufacturing vintage histories, or any other available information about the pipeline, the operator must perform fracture mechanics modeling for failure stress pressure and crack growth analysis to determine the remaining life of the pipeline at the maximum allowable operating pressure based on the applicable test pressures in accordance with § 192.506 including the remaining crack flaw size in the pipeline segment, any pipe failure or leak mechanisms identified during pressure testing, pipe characteristics, material toughness, failure mechanism for the microstructure(ductile and brittle or both), location and type of defect, operating environment, and operating conditions including pressure cycling. Fatigue analysis must be performed using a recognized form of the Paris Law as specified in Battelle’s Final Report No. 13-021; Subtask 2.5 (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7) or other technically appropriate engineering methodology validated by a subject matter expert in metallurgy and fracture mechanics to give conservative predictions of flaw growth and remaining life. When assessing other degradation processes, the analysis must be performed using recognized rate equations whose applicability and validity is demonstrated for the case being evaluated. For cases involving calculation of the critical flaw size, conservative remaining life analysis must assess the smallest critical sizes and use a lower-bound toughness. For cases dealing with an estimating of the defect sizes that would survive a hydro test pressure, conservative remaining life analysis that must assess the largest surviving sizes and use upper-bound values of material strength and toughness. The analysis must include a sensitivity analysis to determine conservative estimates of time to failure for cracks. Material strength and toughness values used must reflect the local conditions for growth, and use data that is case specific to estimate the range of strength and toughness for such analysis. When the strength and toughness and limits on their ranges are unknown, the analysis must assume material strength and fracture toughness levels corresponding to the type of assessment being performed, as follows:
  2.  If actual material toughness is not known or not adequately documented for fracture mechanics modeling for failure stress pressure, the operator must use a
  3. The analysis must account for metallurgical properties at the location being analyzed (such as in the properties of the parent pipe, weld heat affected zone, or weld metal bond line), and must account for the likely failure mode of anomalies (such as brittle fracture, ductile fracture or both).
  4. If the predicted remaining life of the pipeline calculated by this analysis is 5 years or less, then the operator must 
  5. The operator must re-evaluate the remaining life of the pipeline before 50% of the remaining life calculated by this analysis has expired, but within 15 years.
  6. The analysis required by this paragraph (d) must be reviewed and confirmed by a subject matter expert in both metallurgy and fracture mechanics. 

In page 407 of NPRM states “PHMSA proposes to allow the use of engineering assessment to evaluate if SCC is significant (and thus categorized as an “immediate” condition), or not significant (and thus categorized as a “one-year” condition), but that an engineering assessment not be allowed to justify not remediating any known indications of SCC. Further, PHMSA proposes to adopt the definition of significant SCC from NACE SP0204-2008.

§ 192.3 Definitions.

 Significant Seam Cracking means cracks or crack-like flaws in the longitudinal seam or heat affected zone of a seam weld where the deepest crack is greater than or equal to 10% of wall thickness or the total interacting length of the cracks is equal to or greater than 75% of the critical length of a 50% through-wall flaw that would fail at a failure pressure less than or equal to 110% of SMYS, as determined in accordance with fracture mechanics failure pressure evaluation methods (§§ 192.624(c) and (d)) for the failure mode using conservative Charpy energy values of the crack-related conditions.

Significant Stress Corrosion Cracking means a stress corrosion cracking (SCC) cluster in which the deepest crack, in a series of interacting cracks, is greater than 10% of the wall thickness and the total interacting length of the cracks is equal to or greater than 75% of the critical length of a 50% through-wall flaw that would fail at a stress level of 110% of SMYS.


Engineering Critical Assessments
(i) ECA analysis.
(A) The ECA must integrate and analyze the results of the material documentation program required by § 192.607, if applicable, and the results of all tests, direct examinations, destructive tests, and assessments performed in accordance with this section, along with other pertinent information related to pipeline integrity, including but not limited to close interval surveys, coating surveys, and interference surveys required by subpart I, root cause analyses of prior incidents, prior pressure test leaks and failures, other leaks, pipe inspections, and prior integrity assessments, including those required by § 192.710 and subpart O.
(B) The ECA must analyze any cracks or crack-like defects remaining in the pipe, or that could remain in the pipe, to determine the predicted failure pressure (PFP) of each defect. The ECA must use the techniques and procedures in Battelle Final Reports (“Battelle’s Experience with ERW and Flash Weld Seam Failures: Causes and Implications” - Task 1.4), Report No. 13-002 (“Models for Predicting Failure Stress Levels for Defects Affecting ERW and Flash-Welded Seams” – Subtask 2.4), Report No. 13-021 (“Predicting Times to Failure for ERW Seam Defects that Grow by Pressure-Cycle-Induced Fatigue” – Subtask 2.5) and (“Final Summary Report and Recommendations for the Comprehensive Study to Understand Longitudinal ERW Seam Failures – Phase 1” – Task 4.5) (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7) or other technically proven methods including but not limited to API RP 579-1/ASME FFS-1, June 5, 2007, (API 579-1, Second Edition) – Level II or Level III, CorLas™, or PAFFC. The ECA must use conservative assumptions for crack dimensions (length and depth) and failure mode (ductile, brittle, or both) for the microstructure, location, type of defect, and operating conditions (which includes pressure cycling). If actual material toughness is not known or not adequately documented by reliable, traceable, verifiable, and complete records, then the operator must determine a Charpy v-notch toughness based upon the material documentation program specified in § 192.607 or use conservative values for Charpy v-notch toughness as follows: body toughness of less than or equal to 5.0 ft-lb and seam toughness of less than or equal to 1 ft-lb.

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Clarion Technical Conferences     Tiratsoo Technical

Supported by:

Pipelines International    Journal of Pipeline Engineering