Failure of Coiled Tubing due to Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) Exposure
Coiled tubing with 80 ksi yield strength manufactured to a maximum hardness of 22 HRC to meet NACE Standard MR0175 requirement for sour gas service failed after being on 38 jobs (70% of its estimated fatigue life). A transverse crack where a leak occurred was identified as the primary failure point. Numerous OD surface fissures were revealed by a low-power microscope. A brittle zone near the OD, identified as a sulfide stress crack with additional fatigue cracking was revealed by SEM. Sulfide stress cracking defined as brittle failure by cracking under the combined action of tensile stress and corrosion in the presence of water and hydrogen sulfide was concluded to have initiated the failure which was propagated by fatigue. It was recommended that in the presence of known corrosive environments the tubing should not be used above 50% of its theoretical fatigue life.