While much more rare than axial stress-corrosion cracking (SCC), circumferential SCC (CSCC) has been observed in pipelines in Canada, the United States, and two European countries. In some cases, the CSCC has been of sufficient size to cause in-service leaks. Because the orientation of stress-corrosion cracks invariably is perpendicular to the maximum tensile stress, the axial stresses at the locations of the cracks must have been greater than the hoop stress. The Poisson effect and thermal effects can account for about half of the axial stresses. Evidence from the field suggests that there are three probable sources of additional axial stresses that can promote CSCC: residual stresses in bent pipe, axial stresses caused by movement of unstable soil on slopes, and residual stresses opposite rock dents. CSCC can be managed by one or a combination of the following procedures: direct assessment (DA), in-line inspection (ILI), or hydrostatic testing. Guidance for selection of sites for DA is derived from industry experience, which was determined from responses to a questionnaire and published reports. The capabilities of ILI to detect circumferential stress-corrosion cracks or the conditions that promote them are summarized. The benefits and limitations of hydrostatic testing also are described. A method for calculating the size of circumferential flaws that can cause ruptures is presented and compared with service experience. That information can provide useful guidance for ILI requirements and decisions about which flaws need to be removed immediately.

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