Natural gas is a kind of high-quality and low-carbon energy and its demand is increasing rapidly year by year. The natural gas produced from the gas well contains some corrosive impurities like CO2, H2S, and H2O. Therefore, the gas needs to be purified in purification plants before it can be used. In the process of purification, the impurities in the natural gas will cause corrosion to the purification equipment, especially to the industrial pipeline, which will lead to perforation and leakage of the pipeline, and even cause poisoning, fire or explosion, and other serious safety accidents. In order to ensure the safe operation of the industrial pipeline in the purification plant, it is necessary to carry out effective inspection and maintenance measures for the pipelines.
The traditional regular inspection method just inspects a certain proportion of the pipelines which are selected by on-site inspection personnel. But limited by technical level and work experience of the inspection personnel, some high-risk pipelines may be neglected. Therefore, some plants try to adopt risk-based inspection (RBI) to carry out a risk assessment and conduct a comprehensive inspection on high-risk pipelines, so as to improve inspection efficiency and reduce inspection cost. However, in practice, it was found that the pipeline risk levels are not in accordance with the actual inspection results. The reason is that the RBI method developed in the background of oil refining and chemical industry is not suitable for natural gas purification plants.
In order to solve the problems, this paper analyzed the relationship between the influencing factors and pipeline corrosion behavior. The influencing factors include the impurity contents (CO2, H2S, H2O, and chlorides), pipeline materials (carbon steel and austenitic stainless steel), and service conditions (operating temperature, operating pressure and flow velocity). Meanwhile, the plant management status and maintenance factors were also considered as the influencing factors to pipelines. According to the analysis, a corrosion risk assessment method for the pipelines in the natural gas purification plant was developed based on fault tree and scoring method. Finally, the method was applied to the pipelines in purification plant to verify the accuracy of this method.