Marathon Ashland Pipe Line LLC (MAPL) experienced a pipeline release on January 27, 2000 from cracking in a bottom-side shallow deformation. The crack that caused the release was determined to have propagated due to corrosion fatigue that progressed from an area of near-neutral pH stress corrosion cracks. A combination of a transverse field magnetic flux inspection (TFI) tool and a slope-deformation tool were used to inspect the entire pipeline segment for additional injurious deformations that could contain cracks. The TFI tool data were used to differentiate deformations that contained linear indications (typically cracks or corrosion) from deformations that did not. The slope-deformation tool data were used to measure the deformation magnitudes and shapes and to assist with locating the (TFI) deformations that were to be excavated. The pipe conditions necessary for these types of cracking to occur are discussed as well as the findings of the in-line inspection and remediation program. Prior to this release, it was perceived within the industry that constrained shallow deformations were not likely to fail catastrophically. The failure mechanism, particularly from constrained deformations, was normally as a leak. The near-neutral pH stress corrosion cracking phenomenon within deformations was first thought to be a unique event. Based on the investigation program conducted by MAPL, this phenomenon was identified elsewhere within the pipeline system. Based on MAPL’s investigation, pipelines susceptible to or containing slight deformations (typically high D/t ratios) in areas with groundwater containing high levels of dissolved carbon dioxide and coated with materials prone to shielding cathodic protection may be particularly susceptible to the deformation near-neutral pH stress corrosion cracking phenomenon.

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