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During a work over of an oil well, the 9% Ni steel production tubing parted three times as it was being pulled from the well. The tubing had performed satisfactorily for more than 30 years in the well A representative failure, a circumferential fracture in a connection, was analyzed. Reported to be a hydril CS connection, the pin end parted near the last threads. The external surface exhibited mechanical damage marks from the fishing operation. No signs of external corrosion or damage were detected. Visual surface examination revealed shear lips at the outside pipe, indicating that the fracture initiated at the inside surface and grew across the wall. Longitudinal cross sections revealed heavy corrosion damage to the inside pipe surface. Metallographic examination indicated that the tubing failed as a result of severe weakening from internal corrosion. Gray-colored corrosion deposits, which penetrated the pipe throughout the grain boundaries of the material and concentrated in the matrix in a layer near the inside surface of the pipe, were observed. The presence of H2S in the produced fluids and the appearance of the gray deposit indicated that the tube suffered H2S corrosion. Chemical analysis of the base metal and corrosion deposits did not detect iron or nickel sulfides, however Replacement of the remaining pipe strings according to a scheduled program was recommended. Because 9% Ni steel was not available, 13% Cr martensitic stainless steel was recommended as a replacement.

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