Black powder (BP) is a typical contaminant usually found in sales gas pipelines. Its presence may cause major operational and maintenance issues including blockage of sensors and filters, erosion of pipeline bends and compromise the sales gas quality. There has been little known about its composition and sources of formation in the gas pipelines. Understanding its characteristics is considered crucial for appropriate mitigation planning and execution of smooth pipelines operations. Black powder samples collected from sales gas pipelines network of a Middle Eastern gas company are analyzed using scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) and x-ray diffraction (XRD) methods for surface analysis and phase identification of the crystalline material. These analyses revealed variation in size distribution and shape of the BP samples. Likewise, most of the BP particles were found agglomerated. EDX analysis of the sample has shown presence of iron as the most abundant element after sulfur. XRD patterns can be indexed with both iron oxides and sulfides suggesting presence of moisture and hydrogen sulfide in the gas.

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